May 20th, 2014 Comments off

Certain travel destinations and activities are called cliché for a reason – they’re popular. Why are they popular? Because they are unique and worth a visit.

Despite the clichés that some people may associate with the Maldives, it remains a definite “must-see”, “bucket-list” destination (to use come cliché adjectives). In any case, we’re giving you some ways to make your island holiday original.

 

dhoni bungalows cocoa maldives 600x399 The 6 Most Cliche Things to Do in the Maldives

Not your typical water bungalows, these have a Maldives dhoni twist. Photo: Chi King, Flickr


 

1. Soak up the sun on the beach or poolside

 
Probably the most predictable of activities in the Maldives, achieving that sun kissed look is the goal of many a tourist who dips their toes in this region. And who can blame them? When they’re coming from colder climates where the sun doesn’t come out for months at a time, it’s no wonder.

To mix it up though, a day away from the sun loungers will do you good. Head over to a local island to see what life is really like for Maldivians.
 

2. Clichéd photos ops

 
There is no shortage of photos taken in the Maldives each year, though some pictures are more common than others.

You could go for a typical beach sunset or palm-fringed seashore pose. Then there’s the characteristic water bungalows that stretch around the island lagoons, a seaplane on the water and aerial views of the islands, all photos that you can find in almost any Maldives visitor’s photo album.

To accompany these idyllic scenes in your album why not add some originals like daily life photos of Maldivians or a sunset photo with a unique silhouette, or get creative and try to capture a “sense of place” in the photo. That means, include a Maldives-specific element in the scene so people can tell where the photo was taken at a glance and to set it apart from similar photos of other tropical destinations.

Some of the typical photos taken in the Maldives are the same as the ones taken in other island vacation spots so a feature like a flag, a dhoni or a sign in Maldivian can make sure the photo doesn’t blend in with those from other dive vacations.
 

maldives couple romantic 600x450 The 6 Most Cliche Things to Do in the Maldives

The Maldives is ideal for couples… hence the Maldives honeymoon cliché. Photo: Ahmed Zahid, Flickr


 

3. Honeymoon for the unimaginative?

 
A Maldives honeymoon is an international travel cliché. Yet, the essence of a dream honeymoon is synonymous with what the Maldives is all about – luxury, relaxation, seclusion and privacy. Couples can escape to a place where they feel they are the only couple on earth – what a fantastic way to reinforce the bond and share a special memory together as newlyweds.

This match is just too perfect to suggest an alternative. A Maldives honeymoon will never get old. One way to tweak the experience for your tastes would be to focus the accommodation or activities on your specific tastes – take a diving holiday honeymoon, for example, or even a surfing holiday package. Have a photo shoot underwater with a whale shark or on the reef.

You could even get creative: Bring outfits that you can wear underwater for unique photographs in wedding attire.
 

4. Swim with a whale shark

 
Cliché? Who cares?! Just being in the presence of a whale shark is an experience of a lifetime.

So, if you’re going to take part in the whale shark experience, make sure you get a great photo. Take a look at the various photos on Flickr of people with whale sharks and notice how the best shots are taken. What position is the diver in and where is he/she looking? Where are the diver, the whale shark and the photographer in relation to each other? Find what looks most impressive and try to do the same. Because if you’re going to travel all that way and follow your dream of swimming with a whale shark, having a great photo of it is the real icing on the cake.

That being said, don’t be so caught up in getting a photo that you forget to live in the moment and feel what it’s like to be with the big creature – that’s something that can’t be captured in a photograph.
 

swim with whale shark maldives 450x600 The 6 Most Cliche Things to Do in the Maldives

A great shot – swimming alongside, showing the massive size of the whale shark and still enjoying the experience. Photo: Christian Jensen, Flickr


 

5. Track down a manta ray

 
Whether it’s at feeding or cleaning stations or just around the open water, wherever mantas go, people follow.

Like with whale sharks, swimming with manta rays is a stereotype of the Maldives. Also as with whale sharks – who cares?! This is a stereotype that you want to be part of. To be next to the gentle giants is a humbling moment that will live on for years to come.
The same advice goes for the manta ray as for the whale shark in regards to taking photos and taking in the moment.

Additionally, seeing the manta rays in great number during the feeding frenzy is a way to make you manta moment a bit more original.
 

6. Snorkel around the house reef or dive with a liveaboard

 
As a fairly effortless activity, and with all of the reefs around, snorkelers are as common as crabs scurrying across the sand on the beaches.

Rather than stick around the resort house reef and where the fish the aggregate around the underwater structures, the jetty and the bungalows, venture out to a pinnacle in the middle of the sea for some more adventure.

Scuba divers can take snorkelling to the next level with free diving down rather than just staying at the surface.

Speaking of scuba divers, for them the liveaboard experience could be considered a cliché. For divers visiting the Maldives the liveaboard option is commonplace – or is it? If you’ve seen some of the luxury liveaboards that cruise the Maldives waters then you’ll see that a liveaboard holiday is anything but ordinary. Jacuzzis and gourmet meals have become the standard. Take ScubaSpa Ying for example, the on-board spa caters to divers who don’t want to deny themselves the pampering that the country’s resorts are known for.

Not only that, but guest houses are opening up dive centres on local islands for a completely different experience. Casa Mia is one example of a guest house focused on scuba diving.
 


 
We do realize that a “Top (insert number here)” list is a cliché in itself, but we enjoy irony almost as much as we enjoy the Maldives. However, instead of making it a Top 10, it’s a “Top 6” list. Are we not just, so original?

Don’t let common perceptions of the Maldives influence your dream Maldives holiday. If it’s your dream, go for it and make it your own with a few personalized adjustments. Click to find out about and book a stay with ScubaSpa Ying or Casa Mia while their promotions last!

 
May 14th, 2014 Comments off

The Maldivian island chain of the Indian Ocean may be secluded, but that doesn’t prevent the dive industry from keeping up with the latest scuba dive technology.

In recent years, new technologies have “surfaced” which are taking scuba diving to the next level. Recreational rebreathers, like the Explorer from Hollis, at first glance look like a futuristic jet pack. One guest house with onsite dive centre is jumping at the chance to get divers into the water wearing them and seeing the Maldives with a whole new perspective.

 


 

Comparing scuba circuit systems

 
Technological advances are generally developed to facilitate activities or solve problems. In the scuba diving realm, one of the biggest limitations is dive time. Other smaller issues include inconveniences with bulkiness and disturbing the marine life with noise and air bubbles.

These are all issues addressed with the new rebreather from Hollis, called the Explorer. It’s a nitrox-only, hybrid circuit system that can function as an open or closed circuit.
Regular, open circuit nitrox diving continues to grow in popularity. This standard type of nitrox diving involves tweaking the air within the diver’s tank to create a mixture that allows for several advantages over non-nitrox scuba air tanks. While it’s still not required or prevalent, some dive boats in the Maldives are now offering nitrox diving as standard, included in their dive packages, like the Constellation Fleet for example.

To further understand the differences, regular non-nitrox scuba has a very specific ratio of nitrogen to oxygen, as it tries to mimic the air found on the surface of the Earth as closely as possible. Nitrox diving, on the other hand, tweaks this mixture; it uses a lower percentage of oxygen than regular air. This takes less of a toll on the body and therefore allows longer dives and shorter wait time between dives while the body readjusts.

Compared to the current commonly used open-circuit scuba systems, the closed-circuit, or hybrid rebreather systems not only look sleek but make the experience of diving more smooth and comfortable. The main advantages of the system is more efficient gas usage (even longer dive times of up to 2 hours), decompression optimization, no visible bubble or sound during operation underwater.
 

hollis rebreather ascent New Rebreather Technology Surfaces in the Maldives

The Explorer rebreather in action


 

Scuba dive technology at its finest

 
Don’t let your precious oxygen escape in bubbles that just float to the surface and disturb the marine life. With a closed circuit or hybrid system the air is recycled and warmer than with open-circuits. Hence the term RE-breather. Compared to the air mixes in other scuba systems, the Explorer uses Nitrox only.

Rebreathers are not new but the Explorer is different because it’s actually a hybrid that can switch between open and closed circuit easily, while underwater, with a small turn from the diver and monitoring via the computer.

It is electronically controlled which allows the unit and the diver to maintain an optimal balance of PPO2 and maximize dive time. Additional features include: Plug and Play absorbent cartridges, easy guided setup with go or no go, optional CO2 tracking as well as its compact and user-friendly design.

The futuristic unit boasts a convenient jacket-style BCD and the smart electronics guide the user through setup, sensed the negative loop test, analyses the gas and performs a positive loop test, making setup a 10- to 15-minute process.

To buy a new model, divers will need to make an investment of around $5000. Training courses cost around $150, or more for advanced levels (in which you get to use the rebreather).
 

hollis rebreather computer New Rebreather Technology Surfaces in the Maldives

Hollis Rebreather computer monitor


 

Rebreathers in the Maldives

 
Explorer has reached the Maldives and Casa Mia is a guest house that will start offering the training course in 2014.

Their Hollis Explorer Rebreather Courses will be available from August 2014. Currently, their instructors are building up their hours and experience in preparation for teaching the use of the rebreather. Excitingly, they already have the units on site, which will allow clients to dive Nitrox 32 – 40% extending bottom times and removing bubbles, a great plus for photographers.

Not only that but Nitrox available at Casa Mia from the 1st of June 2014. It is currently being tested and installed.

As for liveboards, MV Leo & MV Orion of the constellation fleet offer free nitrox and are fully rebreather friendly, supporting a range of units from Poseidon MKVI to AP vision, and others depending on the boat. They have the booster pump, stage tanks, sofnolime and all the gear required to carry out your rebreather diving adventures.

This new technology is really at the forefront of scuba diving. For avid divers it could be the next level of exciting diving adventure! Get to Casa Mia for the release of their standard nitrox by taking them up on their offer of 20% off packages from May to July. More info on the discount here.

 
May 7th, 2014 Comments off

Some island destinations are known for their parties. Ibiza and Ios are two party islands that immediately come to mind. In the Maldives, the liveliest gatherings are around the coral reefs, which is a scuba diver’s idea of a real happening place to be.

The fringe of islands known as the Maldives is a tranquil, ocean retreat above the water surface. The many resorts and local islands are, for the most part, a place where people relax in quiet beach or pool-side settings. Locals go about their daily tasks and seek a shady lounging area when the sun’s rays are at their peak. Tourists awe at the blue-green lagoons and soak in those rays that they don’t get enough of during the rest of the year.
 

party on the reef CK Tse Flickr2 Join the party that never stops in the Maldives

The reef is where the party is at, in the Maldives. Photo: C.K. Tse, Flickr


 
A quick peek below the surface, however, reveals that the country is much more than meets the eye. The water is aflutter with activity around the many reefs, channels and thilas scattered between the islands. Whether the sun is shining or not, the underwater world keeps on moving. By day and by night, see what makes the reefs “the place to be” in the Maldives.
 

The venue & the guest list

 
For any great party you need the ideal location and freely flowing refreshments. The thilas provide a hub for the fish and crustaceans that make up the marine environment. The coral of the thilas are also an essential source of nutrients. The corals are literally the life of the party.

Then there is the parade of colourful characters around the place, cheery clown fish and angel fish, bright butterfly fish, schools of stripped oriental sweetlips and multi-colour parrotfish. Eagle rays survey the scene as they glide around. There are the cliques and groups from the wrasse to the snapper and the triggerfish to the fusilier. Sometimes you can see them in distinct groupings, doing their own dance, and other times they mingle.

Another type of venue that attracts crowds in the Maldives is the submerged shipwreck. The old metal frame comes to life with the vivid coral and other creatures, like sea slugs, that attach themselves to the wreckage. That living base then attracts fish and scuba divers alike.
 

anemone clown fish flickr Join the party that never stops in the Maldives

Clown fish dance around the anemone. Photo: Jon Connell


 

Special guests

 
When the stars are out on the town it attracts a crowd from far and wide. There are some VIPs that attract lots of attention from divers and even other fish. Manta rays and whale sharks are the VIPs of the Maldives marine community. When a manta ray or a whale shark graces the scene, the cameras come out for the photo ops. Divers want their photos taken with them and if it were possible they would surely ask for their autograph. There are even the dedicated cleaner fish that are quick to grab the opportunity to provide the important pelagic with their services.

Celebrities are not something you see every day at home but the Maldives is teeming with stars and celebrities both above and below the water surface.

Where whale sharks go, people will follow. Their massive size is seen not as intimidating but as part of their allure. The same can’t be said for the underwater kingpins.
 


 

Kingpin intimidation

 
With a sly, cunning demeanour the slick shark rules the reef. When these guys move in your direction – all are on edge. Both sharks and barracudas play the role of kingpins of the marine environment. With just a look or a sudden move they can disperse a crowd, though their main weapon is not a gun, but their razor sharp teeth.

That’s from the fish point of view. On the other hand, divers need not be intimidated but rather should show a level of respect. The reputation of sharks as flesh-hungry man eaters just doesn’t play out like in the movies, within the calm waters of the Maldives.
 

buzzing reef Jon Connell flickr Join the party that never stops in the Maldives

In the dark and in the light the Maldives reef is a beautiful sight. Swim through on the Ibura Tila. Photo: Jon Connell


 
The buzz of movement doesn’t stop from day to night on the reef either. When some hide away, others come out to play. Nurse sharks, zebra sharks coral polyps and many others are the night hawks of the sea. Mantas like to play in the dark too. There is always someone to keep the festivities going. In that way, the reef is like a vibrant city.

If you’re ready to join the party you can find some great deals on Maldives Dive Travel, like the last minute May deals on MVs Orion and Virgo. Join the party, click here.

 
April 29th, 2014 Comments off

When it comes to Maldives scuba diving, the experience of a dive cruise cannot be beat. Not only that, but the dive quality in the Maldives has made this destination into one of the most noteworthy in the world for diving holidays. Dive cruisers like Blue Force One – aka MV Leo – are leading the way in unique diving tours of the atolls that really show off the best of the region.

About to embark on their 18th consecutive season in the Maldives, the long-running status and continued customer satisfaction are what make Blueforce a top operator in the region. For their 2014-2015 season, they have a varied program of weekly diving cruises ready to go, led by their trusted team of guides. Their team’s extensive experience has helped them select the most appropriate route for each week of the season, which will help ensure that every cruise is an unforgettable trip.

Just a few of the attractions they have planned for are mantas, whale sharks, and many types of sharks such as gray, tiger, reef and hammerhead. Not to mention the thilas with their multicolored marine life and wrecks that divers can enjoy during the trip.
 

 

The Boat

 
Blueforce’s MV Leo is a 42-meter ship with all the amenities a dive traveler could ask for, and more. It is accompanied by a dive dhoni where the diving equipment and compressors of nitrox are kept.

Each of its 10 cabins has full ensuite bathroom, hairdryer, convenient remote control lighting and a/c, 32’ satellite TV, WiFi, safe, bathrobes and towels. There are hot water showers, room service and towel service. Of these 10 cabins there are 3 extra-special rooms with extra features such as seaviews, bathtub or Jacuzzi tub.

On the Lower deck are 6 standard cabins and 1 master cabin. On the main deck are the common areas such as the comfy living area with 65’ TV, satellite and theatre sound and equipment, massage arm chairs, kitchen, dining area, as well as one of the suites. On the upper, 2nd deck there is the 3rd suite and 1 additional standard cabin with twin beds. There is also the spa massage room, sauna and shower, 2 outdoor Jacuzzis accompanied with lounge chairs and a solarium with mattresses. On the 3rd upper deck is a large solarium with sun beds.
 
blueforce boat1 Feel the Force of Diving with BlueForce Leo
 

2014-2015 Routes

 
Blue force has tailored routes depending on the season. The main ones are:
• 5 Atolls Classical and South
• South Hemisphere
• 6 Atolls Classical and North
• Big south Up or Down
 
5 Atolls Classical and South
This is the most famous route in Maldives. Leo has been taking this route for last 16 seasons and the team is experienced in the best dive spots. They know the details of the reef and atolls and the best time for diving each spot. The Classical and South route goes through South Male atoll and Felidhoo where divers experience channels and pelagic fish at spots such as Devana Kandhu Miyaru. There’s also the spectacular night diving for nurse sharks. The cruise wraps up in Ari Atoll where divers swim around thilas, manta cleaning stations and are on the lookout for the whale shark.

Duration: 7 nights and 7 days diving. Departure and arrival in Male.
Itinerary: North Male, South Male, Felidhoo, Ari and Rasdhoo
Marine life: Whale sharks in the south; Mantas, thila reefs, whale sharks & wrecks in Ari.

6 Atolls Classical and North
The route 5 Atolls Classical & South is extended with the addition of Baa Atoll at the beginning or end of the cruise. First South Male Atolls and Felidhoo are visited for diving in the channels and great spots such as Miyaru or Kandhu Devana, then a night dive to look for the nurse sharks of Alimatha. Then off to see manta cleaning stations and looking for whale sharks in Ari Atoll. Top off an already jam-packed-with-excitement cruise by visiting Baa Atoll and Hanifaru Bay for snorkelling around concentrations of mantas in the world-famous lagoon, when the conditions are right (moon, current, tide, plankton). Besides snorkeling at Hanifaru dive the thilas at Dharavandhoo and others where a myriad of colorful fish delight the eyes and camera lens.

Duration: 7 nights and 7 days diving. Departure and arrival Male then Dharavandhoo or vice versa.
Itinerary: North Male, South Male, Felidhoo, Ari, Rasdhoo & Baa Atoll takes one week, then the boat returns to do the reverse Baa to North Male during the following week.
Marine life: Whale sharks in the south; Mantas, thila reefs, whale sharks & wrecks in Ari. Plus mantas in Baa Atoll’s famous Hanifaru Bay
 

shower and sauna blueforce Feel the Force of Diving with BlueForce Leo

Steam room and sauna on the upper deck.


 

South Hemisphere Tour
With the success and experience gained from 10 expeditions into the Maldives’ south atolls, Blue force developed one of the largest southern hemisphere tours in the Maldives. Planned for the months with optimal conditions, these tours take place during a 12-week period from February to April, 2015.

The Blue Force Leo bases its operations in the equatorial region in the south of the Maldives archipelago for 8 weeks, providing divers with a unique southern circuit. The quality of marine live and reefs in this region is spectacular and undoubtedly an experience not to be missed by an avid diver.

The route to and from the southern region is great for a dive tour too. In fact, divers can combine a week in the south with a week dive trip down or back up to the south from Male. To make the most of the southern sights it is highly recommended to book 2 weeks by combining the Big south down followed by a week in the Southern hemisphere or (the other way around) a week in the southern hemisphere followed by the Big South up.

Duration: 7 night cruise on the southern atolls
Itinerary: Gaaf Alif, Foamulah, Addu Atolls (either direction). Cruise starts or ends in Gan or Kooddoo.
Marine life: See thilas and corals like the Maldives of 25 years ago. Discover channels, whale sharks, mantas and the largest wreck in Maldives, the British Royalty.

Big South up/down
During the months of February and March in the Maldives islands, it’s likely to find the ideal conditions for a cruise on the central atolls. Mantas and whale sharks in Ari, as well as night dives with dancing mantas. Channels of the more southern atolls will excite as will the pelagic life of Vaavu and Meemu atolls. It’s a tour that goes deeper into the south than most traditional tours. You can also connect with the unique southern hemisphere tour before or after the Big South up or down tour.

Duration: 7 night cruise on the atolls heading north or south through the southern atolls
Itinerary: North Male, South Male, Ari, Vaavu, Meemu, Thaa and Laamu (either direction). Starts/ends in Male or Laamu.
Marine life: Nurse sharks, mantas, whale sharks, hammerheads
 
beach massage blueforce Feel the Force of Diving with BlueForce Leo
 

Tailored to divers

 
MV Leo is Rebreather Friendly. If you want to take your CCR, the Leo is prepared with oxygen and booster pump, which is available on board for a surcharge.

Not only that but Nitrox is free. The advantages of nitrox are many and we have found the incorporating it into our dive packages makes for a more enjoyable trip overall. Divers get the possibility to extend up to 20% dive time without decompression. It’s ideal for dives like Donkalo Thila, where manta rays dance around. The reduced worry about multiple safety stops has radically changed the way our diving cruises can operate.  Our Nitrox Membrane system NRC along with our compressors and L&W, allow us to load the required bottles for the multiple daily dives.

In addition to the increased safety factor of nitrox, the fatigue that is often experienced after 3 dives is reduced and passengers can therefore enjoy after-dive activities, such as island visits. This allows the trip to have an extra element, beyond diving, eating and sleeping, to include the discovery of a country by meeting its people and its culture.
 
 
The boat facilities, combined with the tailored itineraries and supercharged extras, like nitrox, make Leo Blue Force a real force to be reckoned with when it comes to dive cruises. See more photos and specific itinerary dates on the liveaboard page here.

If your travel dates are within the next month, check out the last minute deals on some great liveaboard packages here.

 
April 22nd, 2014 Comments off

The sounds we associate with the Maldives are usually the crashing waves of the ocean and the sound of underwater bubbles as divers explore the reefs. The Maldives has a serene natural environment in which most of its “wildlife” intimidate not with a roar but with size, stealth and speed. Scuba divers are often engulfed in relative silence when exploring the reefs. So above water, what sounds make the environment lively?

Maldivian music is an element that livens up the land or boat deck atmosphere. There are traditional and more modern forms of music that resonate in the islands. And there are also performances for tourists at some resorts. In such a secluded nation, it’s interesting to see where the musical influences come from and how are they practiced. New international music is also inspires visitors to remember the tranquility of the Maldives.

 


 

Musical roots

 
The most popular form of traditional music in the Maldives is called boduberu. It’s a drum and dance music with lots of energy. A lead singer and 3 percussionists create a visual and audio experience that starts slow and builds up to an intense crescendo. Generally this is performed by male musicians. This music from the country’s northern atolls is said to have its beginnings in the 11th century, with influences from East African origins. The percussion can also include a bell and a bamboo onugandu stick. The drum is the most popular instrument in the Maldives.

More modern popular music links the Maldives to its Asian neighbour, India. The 60s and 70s in the Maldives was an era influenced musically by Hindi songs. The Maldivian language is similar to northern India dialects so people connected with this music and it was played over the radio in the Maldives. Nowadays, popular music is based on Hindi songs, and influences can be heard in some songs.

Some instruments have been adapted into Maldivian music from India as well, including something called the bubul tarang, for bulbul music.

The surrounding continents have left their mark on Maldivian music, including Africa, Asia and Arab regions. What is going on within the nation also influences music. Like all other forms of music, daily life works its way into music as a form of expression. It is used to express political views and religious devotion. Also, music is used for celebration and to mark special events.

In the past there was music performed to celebrate the sultan and mark the end of work. Some performances are by men and others by women and there is usually a format to the way they arrange themselves. It can be in a line or two lines facing each other. It can take on various forms but usually has a form or structure that is followed by the performers.
 

 

Modern musicians

 
The unique language and secluded nature of the country makes modern music of the Maldives a more localised affair. There are Maldivian artists who have released albums but they have not achieved great popularity on the world stage.

One of the most popular in the region is the Dhivehi band called Zero Degree Atoll. The lead singer, Ahmed Nasheed, now also makes his own music, his album is called Dhaalu Raa.
 

Music inspired by the Maldives

 
From a different perspective, there is also music that is inspired by the Maldives, though cannot be said to be Maldivian in nature. The isolated tranquility of the island atmosphere inspires sentiments in those who visit the country from abroad. Coming from busy, fast-paced urban environments, foreigners yearn for sounds of relaxation and sounds that awaken the senses.

Music can allow people to relive moments through music, to create memories and even to travel without leaving home. To capture the Maldives in music from an outsider’s perspective, that is what music like this seems to:
 

 
If you’re inspired to listen to more of the music Maldivians listen to you can access some of the Maldives radio broadcasts online. Or just relax to sounds that allude to the idyllic essence of the oceanic islands. Music is part of the culture and is a lively part of the above water experience in the Maldives. On the other hand, the near silence that can be heard when standing on a lone sandbank or when diving around the reefs is perfect contrast and escape for urban-dwellers that visit the Maldives.

Experience the musical and silent atmospheres first hand this May on MV Orion or MV Virgo on one of their last minute deals. Then, let the sights and sounds of the Maldives resonate with you for months to come.

 
April 15th, 2014 Comments off

The Maldives has many photogenic qualities, from landscape to marine life and even the people and culture. Some photographers have the ability to capture the essence of this archipelago in a way that stands out from the average photograph taken by holiday makers. Their photographs not only show us a picture but somehow bring us inside the scene and let us escape to the islands for a moment in time.

 

tree swing maldives Maldives Photographer of the Month   Lucie Mohelnikova

Island life perfection. Photo: Lucie Mohelnikova

 

Here we highlight the photographs of Lucie Mohelnikova, who was inspired to take up photography professionally after a random trip to the Maldives.

We asked Lucie about her experiences:

  1. Q: What inspired you to get into photography?
    A: It all started after my first visit random to the Maldives in 2009. It was also my first touch with DSLR Camera Olympus E-500, with two set lenses, and it was a really very big. Since I was going on vacation to the best destination in the world, my friends told me take a DSLR and not to use a compact camera. They said: maybe you will never visit Maldives once again, so keep your memories in good quality. So, I took it. I shot on Auto Mode all the time. I did not know what to do with this camera. LOL.

    One beautiful female friend was with me on this trip and we just had fun taking some photos on the beach. When I came back to Europe, my friend saw my photos – landscape, portraits, street snapshots from Male’ etc – and he told me I was good, that I have good eye for photography. He suggested that I go to try it professionally. I took his advice and I went back to Maldives after one year where met amazing people and started my friendship and business in the Maldives. The truth is, travel to Maldives, especially tickets from Europe, can be expensive. I could not do that as often as I do without my friends that I have in the Maldives.

  2.  

  3. Q: Tell us about your style of photography.
    A: My photography style? Hmmm, I like snapshoots, landscape, street photography, ordinary life. All my portraits of Maldivians and people from Maldives are snapshoots. I do not like stylized photos. Post-process is basic, I like colors and contrast on landscape photos and on the portraits like black & white post-process but does matter which kind of portrait etc.
  4.  

    the next generation of maldivians Maldives Photographer of the Month   Lucie Mohelnikova

    The next generation of Maldivians growing up in the islands. Photo: Lucie Mohelnikova

     

  5. Q: How did you end up in the Maldives and what got you hooked on Maldives photography?
    A: As I mentioned, it was random. Now, I travel between Europe and Maldives a few times per year and usually stay around one or two months there. What hooked me? I do not know – the landscape, nature, and the people are really amazing in the Maldives and I want to show it to people who cannot go to Maldives because they do not have money etc. Unfortunatley, I lost friends which I knew for many years when I started to travel to Maldives (people are jealous, but they do not know what does mean this profession. Everyone thinks it is dream work but…) but I found new ones, better ones. Everything has two sides. icon smile Maldives Photographer of the Month   Lucie Mohelnikova
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  7. Q: What is it like to live in the Maldives? Tell us about your average day.
    A: Ordinary life in the Maldives is the same as everywhere in the world. In Male’ and Hulhumale’ is common life like everywhere in cities. Same traffic. People wake up, go to work (shops, restaurants, taxi…) after work they go for dinner with friends and sleep. Next day, still the same. On the islands is life is similar but more lazy. LOL. When I am in the Maldives I still travel between islands because we also have travel agency specialized for local travel in the Maldives and we manage own guest house. So I have to check all places if they are working good etc. When I’m not travelling, I try to relax but I am a very active person and after one day on the beach I am very tired and bored. Always wanting to do something.
  8.  

  9. Q: What islands and attractions should visitors make sure they see in the Maldives?
    A: The best attractions for me are sand banks. They are the most amazing things that I have ever seen. Also, of course, the underwater life, fish, mantas, dolphins, turtles etc., To go fishing, sunset fishing, is the best. You can see the amazing sunset and after dark millions of amazing stars. I never saw such an amazing sky like in the Maldives. Island hopping is also interesting and visiting the capital city, Male’, for example National Museum, is very interesting. There is also Jumuhooree Maidhaan (Republic Square), Friday Mosque, Fish Market, shopping etc. You can do whatever you want to do in the Maldives. If you like real pearls, buy them in the Maldives, real pearls are very cheap there.
  10.  

    Island Feydhoo Finolhu Maldives Maldives Photographer of the Month   Lucie Mohelnikova

    Island Feydhoo Finolhu Maldives. Photo: Lucie Mohelnikova


     

  11. Q: What equipment do you use to capture your stunning tropical scenes?
    A: Equipment:
    Camera: Canon EOS 60 D
    Lens: Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM
    Lens: Canon EF 35 mm f/2
    Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
    Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
    Flash:Canon Speedlite 430EX IICamera: Olympus E-620
    Lens: Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm f/2,8 Pancake
    Flash:Olympus FS-FL36R
  12.  

  13. Q: What are some tips for visitors who are photographing their moments in the Maldives?
    A: Take your camera with you every time and everywhere. You never know what you will see or experience.
  14.  

  15. Q: What projects do you have in the pipeline that we can look forward to seeing?
    A: Projects? Hmmm, I am trying to finish a black and white photo series, street life photography from Maldives. Some photos have been and are on the exhibition in Prague.

 

lone swimmer in the maldives Maldives Photographer of the Month   Lucie Mohelnikova

Sand banks drop off into clear blue pools in the sea, in the Maldives. Photo: Lucie Mohelnikova

 
Who is Lucie?
Born in Czechoslovakia, Lucie Mohelnikova lives in Prague when she is not in the Maldives. She specializes in budget travel in the Maldives and runs a guest house. Lucie’s work has been featured in international publications, including Tiger Tales Magazine of Singapore, as well as in public photography exhibitions. More of her photography can be found at: www.luciemphotography.com.
 
How interesting it is to see how these beautiful photographs are created! If you’re a photographer that highlights the Maldives in your work, we would love to feature you as the Maldives photographer of the month. Get in touch here: raki@maldivesdivetravel.com.

A marvellous way to take your own amateur or professional photos of the Maldives is from a liveaboard. As you cruise through the islands there will be nothing but inspiration for beautiful photography. Check out the deals now on for the Maldivian Dream, here.

 
April 9th, 2014 Comments off

The Maldives is a year-round adventure destination. There’s a distinct high season from about November to February, but labelling the best season to travel there is a bit more difficult. It will depend on the planned activities that define which season will be ideal to plan a trip among this Indian Ocean archipelago.

Diving with high visibility, diving with big pelagic creatures, and surfing each have different known seasons that produce the best conditions for each activity. Each of these tropical island pursuits requires certain conditions for top performance. On the other hand, all of these adventures can be experienced throughout the year in different atolls and at different dive spots.

Here’s when leisure lovers will be on top of the world while in the middle of the ocean:
 

Maldives Underwater Oriental Sweetlips Reef 580x380 Adventures by Season in the Maldives

Oriental sweetlips school together in the clear Maldives waters.


 

Best of Maldives Scuba Season

 
Typically, the high season attracts the most tourists with more consistent, hot, dry weather in Maldives and contrasting temperatures to holiday makers in Europe and elsewhere. The skies are clear for resort goers as well as for scuba divers, as ocean currents allow for great underwater visibility through these less rainy months.

It’s the North-East monsoon that brings continuous flow and clears the waters for divers to delight in discovering the depths more easily. Pushing in from the north-east, currents also attract sharks and an abundance of marine life that like to frolic in the rushing water, especially at the channel entrances. Divers can swim with several types of reef sharks, schools of silver jack fish and eagle rays just to name a few. Even hammerheads enjoy this “Iruvai” season, as it’s called, and can be found around Fotteyo Kandu during early morning dives.

Of course, like any weather and climate prediction, it’s not an exact science. Maldivians who live off of the fruits of the sea and who are heavily affected by the weather conditions will notice the slight changes in season as the winds and currents move through the region. The seasons are even divided into periods called “Nakaiy” around which locals plan their agricultural and fishing labours. Liveaboard tour operators also build flexibility into their itineraries so that tours can be adapted to marine conditions of any particular day or week.
 

manta feeding season 600x450 Adventures by Season in the Maldives

Feeding manta ray in the Maldives. Photo: bjoern, Flickr


 

Off Season Pelagics

 
While some visitors prefer to visit in the dry season to have a better chance of drier weather and clear visibility, others realize that seasonality affects the marine life. Big fish follow an abundant food source, like the plankton rich waters that are churned up during the opposite South-West Monsoon season. Pelagic species are particularly popular in July to October in the Maldives’ islands.

It is considered the off-season by the travel industry, but for divers this is an ideal time to see some fantastic displays of mass feeding aggregations. Manta rays flock to the green, nutrient-rich waters with sightings numbering upwards of 1000 in just a one-month period. More feeding leads to more active behaviour and as a result the mantas have shown higher reproduction productivity. It’s hopeful after a vibrant year in 2013 that the population will be regenerated and we will be able to swim with many more generations of manta rays.

This wet season, from March to October, called Hulhangu, is known for its strong winds and heavy rain so sun seekers tend to shy away from this period. However, it’s rare that wet conditions last for more than a few days at a time in these sunny isles. If a chance to visit the Maldives presents itself during this period, don’t miss the occasion of a lifetime to experience it – especially if you’re a scuba diver. Some liveaboards, such as MV Orion, offer special pelagic tours in July to October to take advantage of the favourable conditions for mantas and whale sharks.

 


 

Surf Season

 
As the winds and currents of the monsoon seasons make their way through the atolls, surfing becomes the ideal activity from mid-February to November. That being said, surfing can also be done during the Iruvai, North-West monsoon season but swells are not as consistent or significant.

Different months are characterized by the types of swells, but it may depend on the atoll as to the local conditions at any time. For bigger swells, June to August is recommended, September and October sees dissipating storms and more consistent swells and March to May generally has clean swell conditions. The overall intensity isn’t a match for Indonesia’s surf conditions, for example, but respectable six-foot breaks still make for great intermediate and advance surfing in the Maldives.

If good swell consistency combined with promising weather conditions is the ultimate goal, then February to May in North Male atoll is a great choice, as well as the centrally located atolls of Meemu, Thaa and Laamu atolls. The best surf conditions in the Maldives are said to be in Huvadhoo Atoll at the beginning and the end of the southwest monsoon season. The islands around this atoll’s fringes are rife with waves including different types of walls and playful waves.

Ocean Divine is one liveaboard that adapts to the seasonal conditions by offering diving during the Iruvai season and surfing packages during the Hulhangu season.
 
The weather and climate in the Maldives has the element of temperature consistency that is common in the tropics, along with the dry and wet season contrasts. These changes create conditions for different adventure activities in the Maldives, depending on the month and the atoll location.

Trips can be planned around your preferred activity or another solution is to book a liveaboard cruiser with alternative itineraries such as spa treatments on board. In that way, you will have an activity to enjoy no matter the weather. Scubaspa Ying has deals on now for all of their package types, click here.

 
April 1st, 2014 Comments off

The Maldives: An island nation with about 1200 tiny islands covering an expansive stretch in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As such, it is near impossible to spend time in the Maldives without ever boarding a boat. Visitors either hop aboard to get from place to place or go with the intent to live on board a purpose-built dive yacht. Let’s look at the cheapest, fastest, most luxurious and most authentic ways for water transit and accommodation in the Maldives.
 

traditional dhoni csjay flickr 600x400 All Aboard! Watercraft of the Maldives

Traditional small dhoni, likely a personal fishing craft. Photo: Christian Steen


 

Start at the Beginning – The Traditional Dhoni

 
The Maldivian dhoni is a national symbol. Legends are told of the dhoni’s capabilities that date back to the 15th century. Kalhuoffummi dhoni of the Maldivian hero, Mohammed Thakurufaanu, is said to have regularly escaped from the more equipped boats of the enemy during the Portuguese invasion.

Now, fishing, tourism and transportation are the main functions of dhonis in the Maldives. Dhoni size ranges from small personal fishing crafts to safari boats and luxury dhoni cruisers. By dhoni is the most authentic way to travel – passengers are connected with history – though a transformation and modernization of the dhoni has taken place over time. The materials have changed from the use of local coconut wood and coir to imported woods and copper rivets. The sails have changed from triangular to square in shape and the wind-only power is now accompanied buy a gas-powered motor. The use of the sail allows for energy efficiency by saving precious fuel.

The dhoni has become a model for more modern ships that have maintained many features of the authentic boats. Larger versions, like Dhoni Stella are a cross between a motor yacht and a sailing yacht with its authentic design, 2 guest cabin suites, and living quarters for 2-5 people.
 

male ferries fischerfotos flickr 450x600 All Aboard! Watercraft of the Maldives

Male Main Ferry Port. Photo: Mark Fischer


 

Ferries for Maldives Budget Transportation

 
Ferries are the main way for Maldivians to travel between local islands as well as to and from the capital. Also modeled after the traditional dhoni, they are large open boats with row seating and a section for baggage. From the Male jettys, ferries have routes within and between the provinces with designated points of call around the atolls.

Island hopping is not a known travel activity in the country, despite fact that the country is teeming with islands, beaches and their lagoons. Tourists can, however, easily hop a ferry to visit local islands and reach guest houses that are found on them.

There is also a regular express shuttle between the airport island of Hulemale and the capital city island of Male. It departs approximately every 15 minutes from 7am though to 2am (except for a period during midday on Friday) and costs 25 MVR per trip (a couple dollars).

The resort industry has held strong as the dominant island accommodation option for international visitors and since they offer private transfers, ferries are still overwhelmingly a local mode of transport. With the opening of local island guest houses, however, these routes may see more and more foreign traffic.
 

speedboat thundi flickr 600x398 All Aboard! Watercraft of the Maldives

A speedy speedboat transfer in the Maldives. Photo: Ibrahim Asad


 

Speedboats for Acceleration

 
Speedboat transfers are commonly used for resort and guesthouse clientele as a more direct and speedy route to reach their destinations. Where a ferry may take hours, a speed boat would cover the distance in around half the time, though at a disproportionately higher cost. A speed boat can cost as much or more than 10 times the per-person cost of a ferry for the same destination. The convenience and comfort levels are however incomparable between the two options.

If you have a limited time for your holiday and are happy to pay a bit extra for comfort, then a speedboat transfer is the way to go. On the other hand, ferries are a great low-budget option that can really cut down the overall cost of a holiday.
 


 

Cruising & Luxury Motor Yachts

 
Where boats meet recreation and accommodation, that’s where you’ll find the Maldives liveaboard industry. More than just a way to get around, these leisure cruisers and luxury yachts are fine tuned to the needs of both island adventurers and those just looking for some island inspired R&R (rest & relaxation). To best accommodate for diving, liveaboards have a separate dive dhoni for the scuba excursions. There are many types of dive safari boats to choose from.

Safari boats resembling dhonis are used for liveaboard cruises, like the Nautilus One & Two, which are 30-43 m in length and hold 7-12 guest cabins for lush accommodation while at sea. Another liveaboard experience is the 6-cabin, 95-ft sail schooner, called the Dream Catcher, with its two masts and a true yachting experience.

For the opulent experience that the Maldives is known for, but with a focus on sightseeing and adventure, the cabin cruisers and super yachts roaming the Maldives are ideal. These dive safari yachts are equipped with ensuite rooms and dining facilities as standard, many have Jacuzzis, and some even top off their lavish offerings with an onboard spa.

Average ship size is 100-115 feet in length with 7 to 10 cabins. In this category of liveaboard, Maldives Dive Travel has a number of ships on offer, including MV Leo & Virgo, Maldivian Dream, Ocean Divine, Stingray and Theia. MV Orion and Scubaspa Ying are newer ships that are pushing the boundaries of comfort and luxury at sea in the Maldives. Orion is a 130-ft vessel with 11 rooms and Scubaspa, notably with its onboard spa, has 12 rooms and stretches to a massive 164 feet long.
 
For a great time gallivanting around the Maldives islands and reefs, board a bateau of your taste and budget. Navigate yourself to a great holiday by checking out these deals on some last minute liveaboard packages, click here.

 
March 27th, 2014 Comments off

From above the Maldives intense rays shine down – but not all Maldives rays are from the sun. From below, rays of another kind fly, swoop, swirl, and creep through the water. Unlike the bright sunshine, you can stare directly at these marine rays that come in different shapes, sizes and each with distinct, intimidating features. Divers and swimmers alike will need to be aware of rays and their characteristics.

What these species of marine rays have in common are the flattened body shape, with more or less rounded, triangular “wings” or pectoral fins stretching from their heads along their bodies, tapering into a thinner tail. On the other hand, the type of ray can be distinguished by its body shape (whether more round, diamond, or triangular), swimming style, tail thickness, and the trait of having a sting or barb. For example, some rays use a wave-like rippling motion while others use an up-and-down flapping motion of the fins to move gracefully around the water, still others use their tail for movement.

 


 

Fly Like an Eagle Ray

 
An expression generally used for airborne flight can easily be transferred to the eagle ray of the Maldives, as the spotted ray does “fly like an eagle” through the water of the tropics. When spotted, you might forget for a moment that you’re floating in the sea. These stingrays are even known to fly out of the water, jumping into the air. They are often seen in group formations, in open tropical waters, and relatively close to the water surface. This puts them in the swimming stingray category.

As for the name “stingray”, their venomous tail spines make them part of this group, though they differ from the bottom feeding stingrays. Eagle rays grow to a range of sizes from 48cm to 9m, with a long thin tail up to 5 meters long. Thanks to their unpleasant skin, they are captured generally for aquariums, rather than for eating.

Eagle rays are particularly interesting when it comes to their eating and breeding habits. They are proficient in separating their food in their mouth after digging it out with their duck-like nose. They are able to separate shell from flesh of the molluscs and crustaceans that they eat so well that shell has not been found in the stomach of any eagle ray. Even humans with their hands, lips and tongue still manage to eat a fish bone from time to time, so pretty this is impressive.

As for breeding, they produce young in up to 6 eggs per cycle, which stay inside the mother until after they’ve hatched and come into the world as live young. It’s how the babies get there that is more unusual. The eagle ray mating ritual involves the pursuit of one female by a number of males at one time, and once caught, up to 4 males will mate with her successively. Each male inserts, for 30-90 seconds, one of a twin pair of claspers (male organ located at the base of the tail on underside of body).

We can learn more about eagle rays by comparing to its relative, the stingray.

 

eagle ray maldives Tchami 600x400 Rays of Light from Below in the Maldives   Marine Rays

Eagle ray flying around the Maldives. Photo: Tchami


 

Stealthy Stingrays – Masters of Camouflage

 
Rays are fish that are similar to sharks with their skeleton of cartilage, not bone. Their skeleton they have in common but otherwise stingrays are quite different in their habits from eagle rays. For example, stingrays are bottom feeders and swimmers that glide among the sand rather than swim in the open water.

Since they become like the invisible man when under the sand, divers and swimmers should be careful where they step – though if they have enough time stingrays will swim off to avoid contact. Shuffling and stirring up some sand while walking on the sea bottom will help avoid any run-ins with the masters of camouflage – so do the runaway-ray-shuffle!

The characteristic barbed stinger on their tail is a defence mechanism and the strike motion is involuntary, rather than a real attack. Their stinger is located away from body, down the tail, in contrast to the eagle ray which has its stinger located more near the base of the body, to help protect vital organs while it’s in the open sea.

Their stinger is the only thing with “bite” on this toothless animal. They hover just above the sea bottom, moving with their wave-like rippling motion. They look a bit like a grey velvet cape, with a rounded diamond shape, different from the more bat-like shape of eagle and mantas roaming the open waters.

Stingrays are also special in their reproduction methods. They produce more young in a cycle than eagle rays, up to 13, but it’s how they produce them that is most interesting. They have a sort of “rainy day sperm insurance” which allows females to keep sperm in storage within their bodies, then put it to use and produce a litter at a later time – in recorded cases up to 2 years later (shown in stingrays in captivity). Like eagle rays, stingray females develop their young inside their bodies, giving birth to live young after the eggs or “yolk sac” diminishes.

Unlike eagle rays, stingrays are eaten widely, mainly in Asia.

 

stingray maldives Tchami 600x400 Rays of Light from Below in the Maldives   Marine Rays

A stingray gliding over the surface in the Maldives. Photo: Tchami


 

Massive Manta Rays

 
The manta ray is to the Maldives as the panda is to China. This gentle giant is a draw for visitors to the Maldives, especially for scuba divers.

Unlike stingrays and eagle rays, mantas are a gentler kind without the tough edge of a stinging tail. They are strangely also referred to as “devil rays”, unbefitting their gentle nature and lack of stinger. Their size, on the other hand, is enough to intimidate. They grow up to 9 meters (25 ft) wide and weigh up 3,000 kg (3 tons) though on average they measure about 6.5 m across.

Instead of a crushing beak like the eagle ray, they have flap-like paddles on each side of the mouth aka “head lobes” that direct food into their mouths. The gaping broad rectangle of a mouth is on the front of the head and acts as a sieve, filtering in plankton as they swoop through the water. This is in contrast to other rays that have mouths on the underbelly.

Manta rays are pelagic in nature. Like eagle rays, they are active swimmers in open water and even breach the water surface at times. They also share their winged shape. Mantas are more solitary swimmers than eagle rays but sometimes swim in loosely defined groups.

 

MANTA RAY light background Tchami 600x400 Rays of Light from Below in the Maldives   Marine Rays

Manta ray shining in the night. Photo: Tchami

 

One other type of ray to note is the more rounded shape rays that are less tapered, with thicker tails in proportion to their bodies. These are known as electric rays, which are seemingly less common in the Maldives. They use their tails to swim and have no stinger. Instead they have an organ that gives them their name. On either side of the head they have tissue that can generate an electric shock – 50 to 200 volts – enough to shock or injure a human and take out small prey. No injuries have been reported in the Maldives but divers should be aware of their capabilities.

Many come to the Maldives to catch some rays but divers will have a different perspective. Watch for stingrays, eagle rays and manta rays among the sea creatures in the ocean waters. Divers can even take a ride on a Stingray – the name of one of the liveaboards offered by Maldives Dive Travel. April and May deals are on now for MV Orion, check them out here.

 
March 17th, 2014 Comments off

We are so excited about the addition of Ocean Divine to our collection that we are following last week’s introduction with a real trip report from a diver who experienced all that the cruiser has to offer:

On a breezy February afternoon, at Male International Airport: 12 guests from all over the world (France, Switzerland, USA, Germany, UK and Austria) get ready to embark on a one-week scuba diving safari on the liveaboard Ocean Divine. Some of the ship’s 13-strong crew and the dive guides Alike and Gabriel (who speak English, German, French and Spanish) welcome us with big smiles. After the introductions, we try (and fail) to remember everyone’s names… It’s useless; we are too tired after the long flight.
 

Ocean Divine side front view maldives One Week Aboard Ocean Divine   Get Spoiled in Style

A first glimpse at Ocean Divine mooring in the blue green Maldives waters.


 
Luckily, the boat ride from the airport to the Ocean Divine takes just twenty minutes. We approach the Ocean Divine just before sunset and are excited to see reality matching up with the promotional pictures: she is a beauty! Our hosts David and Gaelle, including daughter Dune, welcome us. Chilled towels and fruity drinks are offered and soon enough, we are checked-in and ready to move into our room.

The cabins are not what Ocean Divine is famous for. Each one comes with a big double bed plus an extra bed, en-suite shower, toilet and an air-conditioning unit that is a bit noisy for our taste. But it is very clean, there are endless fluffy towels and a power shower – all good, but nothing special. Luxury here comes in other ways: like the wake up call, where the crew bring fresh coffee or tea, whatever you like, to your room to help wake you up in time for your early morning dive.

The first evening on board starts with a wonderful dinner and we feel transported into a French restaurant. Chef Razou from Sri Lanka (trained by a French chef) talks us through the menu personally. He appears in a chef’s uniform, complete with a white hat and a very charming smile on his face. Starter: sashimi with a tasty coconut milk sauce; freshly baked bread and toasts; with excellent hot spices like Mas Miru (a Maldivian speciality you must try!) and chilly paste available on request. Main course: a brilliant seared tuna steak, perfectly pink inside and well roasted at the outside; Capris sauce; vegetable-saffron rice and steamed carrots and broccoli. Salads are available from the buffet, you can make your own dressing or try one of Razou’ s creations. Dessert: apple crumble with a bit of ice cream, yum! Hard to believe I’m on a liveaboard in middle of the Indian Ocean…
 

Ocean Divine lunch maldives One Week Aboard Ocean Divine   Get Spoiled in Style

Lunch is served, at sea.


 
David explains that all food is brought in from Dubai by plane, a guarantee for the excellent quality of supply. The meals were of a very high standard throughout the week: we had buffets in the mornings and for lunch and served dinners in the evenings; the table was nicely decorated with flowers and candles, very romantic and stylish.

After a short briefing for the next day, some people linger at the bar to enjoy a drink, but the majority needs just one thing: some rest after the long journey!

Diving starts early in the morning. On the ‘dhoni’ – that is what they call the dive boats in the Maldives – everyone has his or her place with a box for dive gear and there are even special diving towels, marked for each guest. Tea and coffee is available, water as well. There are rinsing boxes, separate ones for cameras, masks and wet suits, as well as oxygen for emergencies, a sofa for relaxing and stairs to the upper deck for a sun bath after the dive. The diving leather is the best ever experienced, it`s so easy to get back on the Dhoni after the dive with all the heavy gear. All is very well organized and extremely comfortable for divers.
 

Ocan Divine BBQ beach dinner maldives One Week Aboard Ocean Divine   Get Spoiled in Style

BBQ dinner on the beach.


 
One clever trick, for example, is the ‘time difference’ on board the Ocean Divine, which is one hour ahead of regular Maldivian time. This is definitely an advantage when it comes to diving: during the whole week, we have almost all spots exclusively for us, since the other safari boats only come later. Again – an unexpected luxury.

David – who built the Ocean Divine in 2006 here in the Maldives and lives on board with his family all year round – is always good for a surprise. One day, he visits us with his free-diving fins, without dive gear, on Kudarah Thila. He joins us for some moments and then disappears again towards the surface. Another day, he appears suddenly at a dive site, kilometres away from the mother ship, gliding along on a stand-up paddleboard. The next day, he decided to swim home from a dive site: I guess it was almost two kilometres distance to the anchorage. Later on, he told me: ‘I was a bit slow this time, the currents were against me.’ David is a surfing instructor, too, and between May and October, the Ocean Divine is usually booked for surfing safaris.
 

Ocean Divine back view SUP maldives One Week Aboard Ocean Divine   Get Spoiled in Style

Surfing and other activities are also available from the liveboard.


 
I won’t talk a lot about the dive sites, as all were all wonderful, interesting and worth to dive. I didn’t miss a single one of the 18 dives of this week. We travelled to Felidhoo Atoll via South Male, went over to Southern Ari Atoll and travelled up to the Northern part of Ari Atoll, with a place called Fish Head as the last dive. Many beautiful islands were on the way and we visited some of them in between the dives.

We saw all kinds of sharks, manta rays, stingrays, Napoleons, lobsters, whale shark and all the interesting small stuff like flat worms, gobis and small crabs. Incredible clouds of fish everywhere. All dive briefings were detailed and safety measures and buddy teams were reconfirmed before every dive. Currents were checked and explained to the group before the jump, the instructors on the Ocean Divine dive by the book. Also, wherever you are on this boat, you get a reminder to drink a lot of water or juices, all free of charge – a very important safety issue for divers.

The spa on board is also really worth a try. The Philippine therapist on board does all kinds of treatments, from Shiatsu and Swedish Massage to meridian energy treatments with special oils, all pretty affordable.

One evening, they organised a barbecue on a desert island, with a big bonfire on the beach, a whale-shark-shaped dinner table made out of sand, candles everywhere. The white sand, the stars, the tiny little desert island, the good company of divers and the boat family with us – I will never forget it.

What I liked about the Ocean Divine is that it is a family-owned and -operated scuba diving/ surfing safari boat, unusual in the Maldives. The big advantage compared to others is its beauty, comfort and exclusivity (14 guests maximum), great service, safe diving and top-notch cuisine. David has packed many years of experience in luxury diving in the Maldives into the way he runs the Ocean Divine, so you can expect to get spoiled in style here.

Astrid, Sweden, AOWD, 234 dives

Sounds like a great time doesn’t it? Now you can hop aboard Ocean Divine with a major last minute offer, for more information click here.