I travelled out to the Maldives as a result of BSoUP's 2012 "Splash-in" competition, joining the MV Sea Spirit and its faithful dhoni to cruise the well-travelled but surprisingly interesting Thilas and channels of Ari Atoll.
The boat looks small, until you realise that all the dive gear stays on the dhoni with the compressor and Nitrox. It's actually as comfortable as the much bigger and superficially more impressive boats that ply the Red Sea and Indonesian waters.
There are still shoals of fish, sharks of all kinds (somewhat oppressed by crowds if they venture too close to the bigger resort islands), rays, turtles and pretty reefs, largely, I suspect, because of the intermittently fierce currents that squirt in and out of the atolls.
For a routine trip, this was something of an eye-opener!