It makes us the happiest getting that kind of feedback from our guests on our divingsafari’s. Get inspired for your next scubadiving trip!
I couldn’t have wished for a better scuba diving safari!
The boat: constructed in 2016, spacious, comfortable and clean. The Emperor Serenity’s various decks offer lots of comfy corners to chill out in between dives. We were also really happy with our room, which had adjustable A/C, was cleaned twice daily, had a squeaky-clean bathroom and we could get all the fresh towels we wanted.
The dive boat (aka dhoni in local lingo, essentially a floating dive base) is spacious and especially customized for dive groups. Everyone is assigned a seat and gets a box for dive gear. It doesn’t get any more convenient – after adjusting our jackets, regulators, etc once at the start, everything stayed on there for the rest of the cruise as tanks are filled on the spot (12 liters are standard, but you can get 15 liters on request, although it costs a bit extra). Before each dive, you just have to screw on your regulator and that’s it, you’re ready to dive! Absolutely no lugging around of heavy equipment!
Safety comes first
The four dive guides take turns doing dive briefings, each spot is shown on a big screen and gets discussed in detail. We dove in small groups. English is the main language spoken onboard but our guides were Italian, Swiss, Korean and Maldivian – together they covered a lot of linguistic ground. I was glad to see they took safety very seriously: dive computers and safety buoys are mandatory for each and every diver, and they also recommend using reef hooks (these can be rented onboard). In case anything breaks, the dive team is on hand to help out with on-the-spot repairs. When my pressure gauge hose suddenly started blowing out, they immediately provided me with a replacement. The level of service is really great, the guys on the dive boat are happy to help you with adjusting your gear, with getting back onto the boat, they also lay out towels for everyone and there’s even a shower! Everything is designed for convenience.
Everyone in our group dove on Nitrox, without extra charge.
At the start of the cruise every guest is given a water bottle, which can be refilled at three water dispensers onboard. The crew constantly reminded us to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Dive, eat, sleep – those were our main activities for the week. Three dives per day, sometimes even four, including one night dive per week.
We crossed five atolls, starting in the harbor of Male.
Check dive was at a spot called Fish Factory, an amazing experience with an incredible variety of fat moray eels, stingrays, all sorts of colorful fish – not the boring sort of check dive we’re used to!
Next we headed to South Male Atoll and dove Velassaru Caves, located at the north rim of the atoll. Then on to Guraidhoo and the famous Kandooma Thila and other spots, followed by Felidhoo Atoll, around Myaru Kandu and the brilliant Alimatha Jetty Sunset Dive. It would go to far to describe all of the 17 dives we did that week; they were all beautiful, exciting, sometimes athletic (in the channels, with the sharks); sometimes more meditative – when we were gliding through a mesmerizing live fish stew, like, for example, Kudarah in South Ari Atoll or with the manta rays at Panettone (aka Kalahandi in Maldivian). None of them should be missed!
Amazing underwater life
Even a baby whale shark made an appearance at Mamingili. Also: leaf scorpion fish; hawkfish; ghost pipefish; baby eagle rays; snails and crabs of all kinds – not to forget masses of schooling fish.
From Felidhoo, we continued on into Ari Atoll and, from there, on to Rhasdhoo Atoll, where we spent an absolutely brilliant last day at Madivaaru Rhasdhoo, one of my all-time favorite spots.
This much diving gets you very hungry indeed
We were lucky to be indulged by the Emperor Serenity’s Indonesian chef, who prepared everything fresh and delicious. Even the tuna steaks were grilled to perfection – pink on the inside, as they should be. For breakfast, freshly baked bread every day and eggs made to your liking. One of my favorites was the Maldivian option, called Masuni, consisting of flaked tuna with freshly grated coconut, chilies, lime and onions, wrapped in flat bread (roshi). They also had sausages, baked beans, cake, all kinds of bread and, of course, pancakes. All meals were served as a buffet, always with loads of fresh salads along with all sorts of variations of fish, chicken and meat. Dinner included soup and free table wine. Dessert was usually freshly cut exotic fruit, sometimes with ice cream or pudding, always delicious. Definitely not a place to lose weight, that’s for sure!
Midweek the crew also hosted a beach dinner on an uninhabited island somewhere in Ari Atoll. Lovingly decorated, with a whale shark fashioned from sand and a beautifully laid-out table directly on the beach and with the most stunning sunset as a backdrop. Just beautiful!
I’ve done numerous scuba diving safaris in the Maldives and this was one of the finest!
All 21 international guests – hailing from Switzerland, Korea, Russia, Namibia, Germany, Austria, USA, England and India – were happy as could be. I can heartily recommend the Emperor Serenity, this experience is worth every cent.