Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

What do people usually think of the Maldives?


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 ssra30

ssra30

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 488 posts
  • Location:Thailand

Posted 05 March 2010 - 12:39 AM

Maldives is one of those place that I kept hearing about for scuba diving as well as nice resorts. Lots of fish, mantas, whalesharks, reef sharks, great visibility etc etc etc. After planning to go to Maldives a few times over the year unsuccessfully, I finally made it there with quite a bit of expectations, unfortunately I was rather disappointed. It was partially the sites but also I think the dive operator was also to blame. We chartered a 6 days trip on M/V Carina. We were given choices of either Ari Atoll for whale sharks or go south for mostly channel dives for sharks and eagle rays. Since some of us never saw whale sharks and a few are still relatively new at diving so we chose the easier Ari Atoll route. However, after the first day when A/C broke down, we had to head back to Male briefly to fix A/C so we had one channel dive slight south of Male with spectacularly clear water but with deep and strong current. We saw a few sharks, but nothing like say Palau. However, near the end of the dive, a pod of about 20-30 dolphins on the surface went over my head while I was looking the wrong way (obviously). Anyhow, after the A/C mishap, the trip started ok. Unfortunately things started to go down hill. Most sites around Ari Atoll had rather poor visibility, 5-10m max. We went for a whale shark site with viz around 3-5m and had absolutely nothing there except sand and one devil ray and one jellyfish. Granted other boats have seen some whale sharks around there recently but we were not so lucky. After that, we dove manta point twice and saw one manta. However beside one manta and one large Napoleon wrasse and a few white tip reef sharks, there was not much to speak of. . We went to Dhonkahlo (?sp) with high expectation for mantas there since it is a well known site where you can see lots and lots of mantas (17 when my friend was there last year). There were already 4 boats there when we arrived. Due to strong current, our main diveguide told us to do negative entry and get down as quickly as possible to the cleaning station. The first few divers who went down each had thousands of dives under their belts already, followed by the rest of us and we were all scattered within 10m of each other. The second dive guide was also with us but the main dive guide was nowhere to be found. We were also way down current from the cleaning station and it was impossible to swim there. Divers from 4 other boats were nowhere to be seen since we hit the water. We all managed to see a few mantas each as they made their way to the cleaning station. However the worse part was when we all got back to the boat, the main diveguide was already there on the boat, changed into his dry clothe and started yelling at us that we were all too slow and got drifted too far and he could not find us so he just came back to the boat. I really think that the boat dropped us off at the wrong spot personally. After that, the mood was not so good no the boat. In the afternoon, the compressor broke and we missed the afternoon dive while it was being repaired. On our 6th and last day, we supposed to do 3 dives and get back to Male in the afternoon and fly back the next day. Half of us decided to skip diving that day and catched the midnight flight out of Maldives instead.

Personally, I was rather unimpressed with the dive operator and virtually all the divesites that we went. There were very little corals and anything that was there was in rather bad shape. We only had 2 dives with great visibility. Beside chance to see whaleshark and if things go as planned, chance to see quite a bit of mantas, there was really nothing special there in my opinion. May be the trip would have been better if we chose to go south to the channels. There were some macro stuffs but again, this trip ranked very low on all the trips I did in the last 5-7 yearsl. I wonder what other people's experience have been with Maldives and how would you compare to other divesites. Next month I plan to be in Andaman Island and hope that things will be better.

Edited by ssra30, 05 March 2010 - 12:42 AM.


#2 tdpriest

tdpriest

    Sperm Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2098 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Solihull, UK
  • Interests:Diving medicine, warm water, scenery...

Posted 05 March 2010 - 06:13 AM

Beside chance to see whaleshark and if things go as planned, chance to see quite a bit of mantas, there was really nothing special there in my opinion.

I'm sorry to hear that your trip was not so good, but that's more big fish than I saw in the Maldives, on a trip that I rather enjoyed, a couple of years ago.

Perhaps you're spoiled, living near the coral triangle?

I would say that, in my limited Maldivian experience, the dive guides in the Maldives are rather bossy and used to relatively inexperienced divers.

Tim

:clapping:

#3 PRC

PRC

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1163 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guernsey Channel Islands

Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:32 AM

Right or wrong your experience was similar to mine.

Having been there twice I found the sites that I was taken to spectacularly bleak with coral bleaching in large evidence.

The dive guides and operators I met were all pretty harsh and burned out - partly because of prior exposure to newly qualified or marginally trained punters.

Week two I was 'grounded' one day for 'leaving my buddy' - well this 'buddy' managed to empty a 15L tank in 10 minutes at 15m - he gave me the out of air and I waved goodbye and buggered off for my remaining 45min (hour max strictly enforced) - I did watch to ensure he made the surface - which I thought was pretty good behaviour - how wrong was I there......

Last time I had a verbal thrashing like that was in second form, fortunately I don't really understand German :clapping:

With a camera I was pretty much made to feel a major PITA.

Not an experience I am going to rush back to myself as there are other parts of the planet that want my money and are nice to me when they take it!

Must admit I have previously heard decent reports about some of the livaboards - yours however looks to be catching up with the onshore mindset to me.

Paul C

Edited by PRC, 05 March 2010 - 09:36 AM.

Nikon D300, Subal, 2 * Inon 240
Water Temp (just cold & Nasty)
My Pictures

#4 stewsmith

stewsmith

    Giant Squid

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1586 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southampton and Sinai
  • Interests:World travel
    diving
    photography
    winding Drew up

Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:33 AM

I have been to the Maldives and have experienced both sides of the coin. I have had a great experience when I stayed at Villamendoo and dived with Werner Lau. I have had a bad experience when staying at Fiha Lhohi and and diving with XXXXXXXX. I have also had the worst dive holiday of my life out there on the Nautilus2 liveaboard due to the dive guides. I have also stayed at Kuredu and dived with Pro Divers who I found to be quite professional.

The Maldives diving has always confused me in that the guides generally like to drop divers in down current and make them fin like fcuk to get to where the " highlight " of the dive is. Often divers are dropped in too far away from this area and they have little to no chance of getting there due to the current. I dont mind fighting a current, but when i am on holiday i expect to be dropped off in the correct location, which sadly does not happen as often as it should out there. I had a blazing argument a few years ago with the dive guides at Fiha Lhohi. I had actually more experience in diving in the Maldives than the pair of them together and they were totally useless. Their briefings were not even close to the areas that we were being dropped in. It was actually quite frightening on one dive as I dived the " plan " that we were briefed about only to find that the " briefing " was incorrect and Louise and I were ripping through a channel at a rate of knots, the guide no where to be seen. Upon surfacing we were heading straight for a reef with 10-12ft waves crashing on us and being thrown around in a washing machine type surge and still heading for the top of a reef. Not an experience i would like to go through again. I was blowing my whistle, mqaking the distressed diver signal and the guides and boat did absolutely nothing. When we surface swam back to the boat I made it know in no uncertain terms that the guides were Effing useless and putting divers lives in danger. The next day the most senior person of the dive school was on my boat to do the guiding and she was as bad as the others. It was one of those holidays where diving the house reef on our own was the best option. Another bad experience was on the Nautilus2 and if you do a search on here or on google i am sure you will find my trip report from that. On a positive note, Kuredu ( pro divers ) and villamendhoo ( werner lau ) both gave a very good experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.

I still love the Maldives and will return as often as I can. For me it is one of the prettiest places on earth. Sailing around a few of the atolls for 2 weeks is just heaven. True that coral bleaching has affected the hard corals there, but if you didnt know this before you went you have not done your homework. It is well documented that it has happened. Having sais that i was there last year and was lucky enough to dive many reefs where the corals are unspoilt, there were plenty of sharks, loads of currents, nice soft corals, marlin, schooling fish, lots of macro life but also 2 foolish guides. The main guiide ddint seem to like diving and his plan was to get everyone down to 30 metres, hold on to a rock, wait for the sharks and then surface before deco. This was ok for a few dives but not every dive every day. In the end a small group of us just used to do our own thing and leave the group and guides to do their own thing. Funny enough, it was us that see mantas, marlin, big black tips and the others didnt.

Stew

Canon 5D MK2 - Sea and Sea housed - 17-40L 100mm - Sigma 15mm FE - twin YS250 pro's and gadgets galore

 

http://www.euphoticzoneimaging.com

 


#5 ssra30

ssra30

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 488 posts
  • Location:Thailand

Posted 05 March 2010 - 04:25 PM

Thanks for the comment. I heard about coral bleach and all that before. I just was not prepare to see how bad it was. Except for a few sites, Lembeh Strait also really had nothing there to offer scenic wise but it was full of macro life to see that nobody notice or care much about the surrounding otherwise. There were plenty of fish in Maldives but rather uninteresting variety to me.

Our dive guides were actually quite tame. Beside accusing us at Dhon Kahlo for missing the site, they were not strict at all. We ended up doing more like 50-60 minutes dive instead of the imposed 45 minutes. We tend to split up into smaller groups, some stayed with dive guides, other went their own ways.
The second dive guide was rather useless. He ran out of air once and came to one of us for air. At Dhon Kahlo, he went into decom or closed to it and left us immediately without telling anybody.

At this point, I may consider to go back to the Maldives if I want to have a nice holiday in a resort and may do a little bit of diving on the side but I am not sure if I want to return there primarily as a dive trip. There are plenty of whale sharks and mantas to see and in my opinion better divings to be had elsewhere.

#6 ralphy

ralphy

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 245 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Devon, UK
  • Interests:riding my motorbike(s)

Posted 07 March 2010 - 11:31 AM

Week two I was 'grounded' one day for 'leaving my buddy' - well this 'buddy' managed to empty a 15L tank in 10 minutes at 15m - he gave me the out of air and I waved goodbye and buggered off for my remaining 45min (hour max strictly enforced) - I did watch to ensure he made the surface - which I thought was pretty good behaviour - how wrong was I there......

Last time I had a verbal thrashing like that was in second form, fortunately I don't really understand German :clapping:


You must have been in a good mood that day. :clapping:

I've 'suffered' at the hands of an island-based German operation out there too, far too regimented approach to diving IMO.

But equally have had very favourable treatment on the Atoll Explorer: although not a dive boat per se, the dive centre onboard is run by EuroDivers and they were very accomodating towards me and the other photographers on both trips I've had.

R

#7 PRC

PRC

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1163 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guernsey Channel Islands

Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:06 AM

You must have been in a good mood that day.


Hell no Ralph, quite the opposite.

Being severely hampered by my lack of German I opted for the uniquely British response and turned the volume up.

To be fair after that things did get a bit better - I was branded a 'troublemaker' and assigned my own dive guide - later had a problem there but that as they say is another story....

Paul C
Nikon D300, Subal, 2 * Inon 240
Water Temp (just cold & Nasty)
My Pictures

#8 splashdoc

splashdoc

    Sea Nettle

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 13 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, England

Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:36 AM

I've had two trips to the Maldives, both on board 'Sea Spirit' and both have been excellent with good guides who were prepared to let people do their own thing and not try to regiment us. They also knew their way around, gave good briefings and could be relied on. It's a matter of luck whether you see whale sharks or not but I saw lots of mantas on both trips as well as lots of other stuff, both pelagics and macro. I loved it and I'm looking forward to another trip, probably on the same boat, or her sister, because I trust them.

Dave

#9 Simon Rogerson

Simon Rogerson

    Wolf Eel

  • Industry
  • PipPip
  • 134 posts

Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:29 PM

As a destination, the Maldives has a way of polarising opinion. I know people who return every year, and I know people who say it didn't work for them, for a variety of reasons.

The mass coral bleaching event took place during and after the El Nino event of 1997/98. A decade on and the recovery has been greater than many expected, but the truth is it's not really a destination for those who want to see pristine hard coral. That said, it's one of the best places I have ever seen for soft corals and schooling fish.

Photographers are attracted to the Maldives by stories of mantas and whale sharks. And the truth is that you can find them, but reliable aggregation points can get very busy.

Photography can be challenging in the Maldives. During the classic channel dives you're on the move, and you honestly don't know what to expect. Conditions and encounters vary greatly, and are often dictated by the unpredictable currents.

As a photographer, I have enjoyed opportunities to work with beautiful schools of blue-lined snapper and bigeye trevally; to get fish portraits at the many cleaning stations; to concentrate on the innumerable leopard moray eels; to find mating octopus and magnificent sea anemones and caves packed with soft corals and soldierfish.

It's not so amazing for muck diving, but there's plenty of macro available, including frogfish and ghost pipefish. There are even some decent wrecks. Oh, and the manta rays.

So, yes, I rate it. But as people have stated here, the Maldives experience is variable. I usually travel with Maldives Scuba Tours, whose liveaboard guides are the best I have worked with in this part of the world.

As for whale sharks, it's lovely if you get to see them, but they ain't on tap.

#10 Hman

Hman

    Clownfish

  • Industry
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 21 March 2010 - 09:58 AM

Hi, thanks for all the interesting information,
I am heading to a place called Hudhuranfushi next week, has anyone had any experience diving there?
I have written 4 emails to the resort and the dive operation Hudhuranfushi Resort and Dive Point Diving center and no one has bothered to answer yet and that was 2 weeks ago!!
Please advise if you know about the place and the diving there. We are are heading there next week.

Best wishes
Howard



As a destination, the Maldives has a way of polarising opinion. I know people who return every year, and I know people who say it didn't work for them, for a variety of reasons.

The mass coral bleaching event took place during and after the El Nino event of 1997/98. A decade on and the recovery has been greater than many expected, but the truth is it's not really a destination for those who want to see pristine hard coral. That said, it's one of the best places I have ever seen for soft corals and schooling fish.

Photographers are attracted to the Maldives by stories of mantas and whale sharks. And the truth is that you can find them, but reliable aggregation points can get very busy.

Photography can be challenging in the Maldives. During the classic channel dives you're on the move, and you honestly don't know what to expect. Conditions and encounters vary greatly, and are often dictated by the unpredictable currents.

As a photographer, I have enjoyed opportunities to work with beautiful schools of blue-lined snapper and bigeye trevally; to get fish portraits at the many cleaning stations; to concentrate on the innumerable leopard moray eels; to find mating octopus and magnificent sea anemones and caves packed with soft corals and soldierfish.

It's not so amazing for muck diving, but there's plenty of macro available, including frogfish and ghost pipefish. There are even some decent wrecks. Oh, and the manta rays.

So, yes, I rate it. But as people have stated here, the Maldives experience is variable. I usually travel with Maldives Scuba Tours, whose liveaboard guides are the best I have worked with in this part of the world.

As for whale sharks, it's lovely if you get to see them, but they ain't on tap.



#11 stewsmith

stewsmith

    Giant Squid

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1586 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southampton and Sinai
  • Interests:World travel
    diving
    photography
    winding Drew up

Posted 21 March 2010 - 10:03 AM

Hi, thanks for all the interesting information,
I am heading to a place called Hudhuranfushi next week, has anyone had any experience diving there?
I have written 4 emails to the resort and the dive operation Hudhuranfushi Resort and Dive Point Diving center and no one has bothered to answer yet and that was 2 weeks ago!!
Please advise if you know about the place and the diving there. We are are heading there next week.

Best wishes
Howard


If you PM member Shaff he will give you the low down on the diving there. He has dived all over the Maldives.

Stew

Canon 5D MK2 - Sea and Sea housed - 17-40L 100mm - Sigma 15mm FE - twin YS250 pro's and gadgets galore

 

http://www.euphoticzoneimaging.com

 


#12 CompuDude

CompuDude

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 346 posts
  • Location:Studio City, CA

Posted 21 March 2010 - 09:44 PM

Just be careful not to complain TOO much about those Maldives operations... you could get sued.

#13 stewsmith

stewsmith

    Giant Squid

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1586 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:southampton and Sinai
  • Interests:World travel
    diving
    photography
    winding Drew up

Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:52 PM

Just be careful not to complain TOO much about those Maldives operations... you could get sued.



Jesus christ I will be the next one the Maldivians will be after, after all the things i have plastered all over the net. Mind you i do have all the evidence to back up my accusations.

Stew

Canon 5D MK2 - Sea and Sea housed - 17-40L 100mm - Sigma 15mm FE - twin YS250 pro's and gadgets galore

 

http://www.euphoticzoneimaging.com

 


#14 SimonSpear

SimonSpear

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1387 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 03 May 2010 - 08:48 PM

We've been to the Maldives a couple of times and generally love the place. Of course the reef's are not pristine or anywhere near as diverse as you will find in Indo, Malaysia, PNG, PI etc, but I've rarely seen anywhere that has the sheer volume of fish life that you find in the Maldives and big animal encounters although not guaranteed are fairly common if you pick your location/season correctly. I'd sum it up as a poor man's Palau (for Europeans) as they are similar enough to make the comparison, although if you'd rate Palau as 10/10 you'd rank the Maldives as maybe 6.5/10 (which is not saying it is bad by any means!).

Our last trip we stayed on Kuredu and although I found ProDivers to be professional they definitely were catering to the 'lets go diving on our holiday' crowd rather than anyone on a true dive holiday. They even kept the AM two tank dive boat list 'under the counter' and it was almost a seedy experience trying to get booked onto it each day with some staff even claiming that it didn't exist. Also whenever you mentioned you wanted to see XYZ their first response was 'Let me sign you up for this XYZ Speciality' I think this approach is replicated more or less all over the Maldives.

Cheers, Simon

#15 Damo

Damo

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 451 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ireland
  • Interests:Getting close to underwater aliens- and pulling the camera trigger

Posted 04 May 2010 - 11:44 PM

Just to chime in,

I have been to the Maldives a number of times- I have never been on a liveaboard- and I have seen only a tiny fraction of what the Maldives has to offer.
I would love to see so much more but am limited by a number of factors-chiefly financial- and being married to a non diving-non sea loving-boat hating- but maldives adoring- beloved lady :-)
I have never seen a whale shark yet in all my years there- but I dont mind- for me every dive in the Maldives brings you something unexpected- and every year I see something new- just by looking thro' fresh eyes. Taking pictures does this for me.

I think the overall fish life is fabulous- and is way ahead of the Red sea- (but I adore the Red sea too!!)
I love the country and the Maldivians I have met have been nothing but lovely people.
I have no complaints about the Maldives at all.

Dam

Ps. I am hoping to travel to the Maldives in June-and both my wife and I have been looking forward to it all year- its the one spot we can truely relax!
At the moment the future is not looking too bright -with the volcanic eruptions in Iceland stopping flights in and out of Ireland and the UK. :)
We will just be so happy to get there this year- fingers crossed.
In short guys- remember- don't take your holiday plans for granted- be thankful you can get to go anywhere at all. :-)
Nikon D200- Sea and Sea DX-D200, YS-90 Auto/Duo strobes: Nikon 60mm/105mm macro : Sigma 10-20mm wide, now also with added Tokina 10-17mm power.

'All animals are equal, tho' some animals are more equal than others.'-Comrade Napoleon

'If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets'- Gurney Halleck

Visit My Flickr Website