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#1 Mehmet Gungen

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 12:27 AM

I am planning a holiday in Maldives end of January/First week of February 2006.
I have never been there and trying to select a resort.
Since the available resorts are spread on a large area i think that i should make my selection based on the diving opportunities around the resorts.
I have checked some literature like top 100 diving locations of the world and encountered some dive sites at South Ari Atoll. Is it the most interesting one?

Is February a good timing for a scuba holiday in Maldives?

I would appreciate if you could advice.

#2 Steve Jones

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 08:21 AM

Feb is a great time for South Ari. You will have almost guarranteed Mantas in the South West and possibly Whalesharks in the South.

The weather is optimum, so calm seas. The current flows into the atoll from the Ocean in the East (so good visibility in the Dhigurah/Dhangheti channel - where some of the best sites are, and nutrient rich waters in the West of the atoll - hence the filter feeders).

I would recommend you base yourself near the South East of the atoll - it will be an hour or more to Manta point, but the reefs are better on this side in my opinion (and the viz at this time of year).

A more luxurious island that I can recommend is Machchafushi, but they may be closed for renovation. A good diving island also is White Sands - very close to the Whaleshark hotspots. Both islands have good dive centres.

Check out my site for a taster of what lives in South Ari:

http://www.millionfi...pages/page1.htm

Steve
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#3 DeanB

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 09:26 AM

Hi Steve,

Sorry to butt in. But Just had a quick look at your site photo's..WOW !! I love the Manta shots. Having seen these beautiful creatures in Yap 3 years ago it just took me back. Fantastic !! well done..

Dive safe

DeanB..
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#4 Mehmet Gungen

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:21 AM

Dear Steve,

Thanks for really valuable information.

You have shot really amazing photos!

Actually White Sands was one of the resorts that i also put in my short list.

I previously dived through Euro divers(whoi due to the web site are operators of the dive center) in other countries.

I am also worried about how crowded the diver groups may be. I have a precudice that majority of visitors to such island resorts should be interested in diving. Thus it may not be very comfortable to shoot if there are groups of 20 divers with one instructor.

Probably for such questions i should get in touch with Euro Divers (or whoever manages the dive center in each island resort in the short-list)

Did you shoot the Maldives photos while diving with groups?

#5 Steve Jones

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 11:35 AM

Cheers for the comment Dean ;)

Hi Mehmet,

I like White Sands because they are very good when it comes to photographers and videographers. I had the advantage of knowing all the staff when I dived there, as I worked in South Ari as an instructor for 3 years (although not on WhiteSands), so I was diving with other instructors during my visits. White Sands is under new dive centre management (but still with EuroDivers) from when I was there, so it's worth dropping them a line and talking this through with them. Also ask about the aftermath of the Tsunami - White Sands was hit hard as it's on the Atoll edge, but they should have fixed it up by now

One of the instructors, who I hope is still there, is Werner Mischler - he's a videographer, and an expert at finding Whalesharks - it maybe worth asking for him - he runs this site http://www.whaleshark-id.net - you can actually track where the Whalesharks are being sited.

Generally you find that most of the Dive Centres in the area are very mature when it comes to dealing with photographers. Providing you take care of the environment, dive sensibly, within their rules they will do what they can to help you get the shot.

Hope this helps

Steve
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#6 Mehmet Gungen

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 01:32 PM

Thanks a lot Steve for all the usefull info.
I am looking forward to this trip.
Hope i will see some of the fish in your beautiful photos.

PS. In the mean time as i go deeper in my investigations my come back for some more specific questions : )

#7 yzer4

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 08:48 AM

Hi Mehmet,

I have not yet been on the Maldives myself, but most people I know that have been there more often adviced me to see it on a live aboard...
The big advantage is that the boats can do north and south, so they can really pick the cherries in the big cake.

Two good friends of me have worked on the Maldives and they also said the same thing.

Just my two cents...


Pieter

#8 mrjamesm

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 11:04 AM

Hi Mehmet,

I stayed on Komandoo in the Lhaviyani Atol which is at the North. Two extremely memorable dive sites were Fushivaru Thila and Kuredu Express. The first gave us superb Manta dives, the second was listed by the discovery channel as one of their top ten shark dives (grey reef) if I remember correctly.

We dived with Prodivers who were excellent. Barbara who runs the Kokmadoo centre along with Tom (oh no, the goodlife theme tune is back! - not sure if that translates :( ) is a photographer also.

There are various contact details, message boards and gallery links on http://www.prodivers.com/

Komandoo is a very small intimate island - fantastic food and accomodation. Nearby is Kuredu, much bigger and just across the way is Khanuhura - a top notch resort. I've stayed on Kanuhura also, my personal favourite was Komandoo - depends what you want though..

Enjoy!

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#9 Mehmet Gungen

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:28 AM

Dear Peter and James
Thanks for the info.
I also am sure that a live aboard should be probably the best choice since better dive sites should be the ones farther the island resorts full of tourists.
On the other hand for this particular holiday i also would like to have the conveniency of land based holiday : )
Thats why i decided to choose an island close to my points of interest.
In the mean time i also communicated with some dive center operators.
Looks like in February best place for manta rays and whale sharks would be the south ari atoll. where as the northern atolls may still be interesting with nice shark sites as james says.
In south white sands in north kuredu are my favorites for the time being : )
The more i proceed with my research the more difficult it is to decide
May be it is even better to devide a 2 week holiday to 2 resorts. One week in the north and another in the south.