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One of our guests just returned from an amazing week in the Maldives onboard a dive liveaboard and popped us an email to thank us for the advice and help in booking her trip to the Maldives. “I had an absolutely fantastic time. Some great diving including my first ever encounter with a whale shark, an amazing night dive with the nurse sharks and rays at Alimathaa Jetty, dozens of grey reef sharks at Kan Thila and a very special encounter with mantas at Mahibadhoo cleaning station. The boat was great as well, comfortable, cracking dive guides and crew, excellent food and a nice bunch of fellow divers. Thanks again and I will definitely have Planet Dive in mind next time I’m looking to book a dive trip,” said Caroline Quinn.
Because she loved the trip so much, we wanted to find out more, so here are just some of the highlights from her dive holiday to the Maldives, along with some great videos and photos and tips and tricks for fellow travellers:
3. A drift dive at Kan Thila, flying along in the current and then hooking on next to the drop off at about 25m and sitting there as dozens of grey reef sharks and white top reef sharks went by in the blue, often just a few metres away.
– If you aren’t Nitrox-certified, get your nitrox certification in advance or do it on board. A lot of the dives in the Maldives are at depth and most, if not all, of your fellow divers are likely to be on nitrox, as you’ll want to maximize your no-deco time when you’re hooked on at 25m watching dozens of sharks go by!
– Do keep one eye on the blue during every dive – you never know when a manta, eagle ray or reef shark will cruise by.
– If you take photos of mantas which show their unique belly markings, do upload them afterwards to the Manta Trust website so researchers can log and track sightings of individual mantas as part of efforts to conserve these incredible animals.
– Pack motion-sickness tablets for when the boat cruises between atolls as the open water can get very choppy. Plenty of sun protection is also necessary for those surface intervals (ideally a biodegradable and therefore more reef-friendly product – I use JASON Natural Products kids sunscreen on dive trips). Also pack your snorkel, even if you don’t usually dive with it, for surface encounters with whale sharks or manta rays. I also find a product like Swim-eze ear drops helps to dry ears out after diving.
– The Maldivian waters are warm and most people will be fine in a 3mm shorty but if, like me, you get cold easily after repetitive dives and want to make it easier to get into a wet wetsuit several times a day, pack a dive skin or rash guard and surf leggings. I booked onboard the Carpe Diem for my Maldives liveaboard holiday and the spacious and comfortable dive dhoni does have a hot fresh-water shower aboard and the hot water in the en-suite bathrooms aboard the main boat is plentiful, so warming up post-dive isn’t a problem.
– The dive guides, captain and crew work incredibly hard to make sure you have a great time and only have a few hours turn-around between you checking out and welcoming the next group of guests to the boat. Many of them are Sri Lankan and work for months at a time without being able to go home and see family and friends ashore. So do make sure you take enough cash to tip generously when you settle your bill on the last night – if in doubt a minimum of 10% of your cruise price is a good baseline (the crew pool all tips).