With travel now looking a sunnier prospect for 2022, specialist operator Dive Worldwide is thrilled to introduce a raft of new diving trips to the Maldives. As divers look to resume their underwater adventures, the Indian Ocean idyll, home to an array of world-class diving locations, is the perfect choice. From an expert led trip to coincide with the peak aggregation of manta rays to a selection of new liveaboards and a beautiful new resort on the island of Innahura, there is something for everyone, from beginners to well-seasoned divers.
NEW DIVING ADVENTURES FOR 2022
Maldives Manta Ray Extravaganza: Join marine conservationist and cameraman Danny Copeland on a 10-night liveaboard journey to the northern atolls of the Maldives. Timed to visit Hanifaru Bay when the reef manta ray aggregation is at its peak, this spectacle makes for a once-in-a-lifetime dive adventure. Guests will have the opportunity to snorkel with these majestic creatures as well as learn about the ecology, behaviour and conservation of the Maldivian reef manta rays. They will also be encouraged to become a citizen scientist by uploading images and sighting information to the IDtheManta database, contributing to research and conservation efforts. There is also plenty of time to discover and dive the little-visited Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani atolls where they will encounter plenty of big fish action, green and hawksbill turtles, Napoleon wrasse, and a huge variety of reef fish and critters.
Price: from £2,995pp sharing, including return flights from the UK, transfers, 10 nights’ full-board liveaboard accommodation, 2-3 dives a day, tanks and weights, manta ray snorkelling and expert guide. Max group size: 18. Departs: 3 September 2022.
Blue Shark One Liveaboard: Newly offered by Dive Worldwide, Blue Shark One is a traditional Maldivian safari boat which spends most of the year operating Central and Southern Atoll itineraries as well as special tiger shark adventures for experienced divers. At 30 metres in length, the spacious liveaboard boasts nine cabins, all en-suite and air-conditioned, and can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests. The PADI affiliated boat is accompanied by a dive dhoni and divers can discover the biodiversity of marine life found amongst the beautiful reefs, wrecks, cleaning stations, and on drift dives. Expect to see colourful reef fish, schools of larger species such as barracuda and jacks, as well as batfish, turtles, grouper, and squadrons of rays. There is also the chance to witness grey reef, nurse and white-tip sharks plus manta rays and whale shark. Blue Shark One is available for full charter, or join a Southern Maldives Liveaboard departure to travel with a group of likeminded divers to escape the crowds and experience plenty of shark encounters.
Price: from £3,295pp sharing, including return flights from the UK, domestic flights and transfers, 7 nights’ full-board liveaboard accommodation, up to 3 dives a day, tanks, weights and Nitrox.
Horizon III Liveaboard: The Horizon III offers exceptional diving cruises to some of the best diving regions in the Maldives with its experienced crew being among the most respected in the Maldives. Accommodating up to 24 divers, the generous 36-metre-long fibreglass vessel features nine standard, two deluxe and one master deluxe cabins – all offering en-suite facilities and air-conditioning. Facilities includes a bar and restaurant area, a jacuzzi and the opportunity to book an ayurvedic massage with a trained therapist. Opt for itineraries focussing on the South Ari & Faafu atolls or head further south in search of thrilling shark encounters with all diving conducted from the spacious dive dhoni. Join a 7-night Best of Maldives trip aboard the Horizon III departing from Male and offering some of the finest sites in the central atolls and the chance of whale shark encounters.
Price: from £2,045pp sharing, including return flights from the UK, transfers, 7 nights’ full-board liveaboard accommodation, up to 17 dives, tanks, weights and Nitrox.
Eco Blue Liveaboard: The Eco Blue liveaboard offers diving adventures for all throughout the year, with marine protection and education at the forefront of all operations. This traditionally built Maldivian liveaboard accommodates 20 guests in ten en-suite cabins (three deluxe and seven standard) and at 32 metres long, she is spacious and comfortable. Environmentally friendly and sustainable measures are in place, with the boat producing its own drinking water and offering biodegradable bathroom amenities. In addition, the crew are often involved in helping local marine partners with research and beach clean-ups – this includes coral breeding projects, manta and whale shark reporting and collecting any plastic waste found. Eco Blue spends most of the year in the Central Atolls, with all diving from the accompanying dhoni. Among the special departures are a Family Tour, Deep South Adventures and Hanifaru Bay trips. Non-divers and snorkellers are welcome on board. Stay on Eco Blue as part of a Maldives Dive Safari which combines the liveaboard with three nights at the Bandos Island Resort.
Price: from £2,795pp sharing, including return flights from the UK, transfers, 7 nights’ full-board liveaboard accommodation, up to 17 dives, tanks, weights and Nitrox and 3 nights’ resort accommodation.
Innahura Maldives Resort: This laidback resort on the Lhaviyani Atoll boasts 78 bright and spacious beach bungalows, some of which line the white sand beach, while others overlook the magnificent lagoon. This 4-star resort, the only hotel on the island of Innahura, is the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the relaxed pace of Maldivian life. There’s a restaurant, two bars, a freshwater pool, a kids pool, a games room, badminton, beach volleyball, tennis, a spa and water sports centre to entertain all ages. However, the pride of Innahura is its Prodivers Dive Centre, considered one of the Maldives’ finest, with daily boat trips offered to explore the exceptional diving of this quiet Maldivian Atoll. A 5-star Instructor Development Centre (IDC) offers modern teaching facilities and equipment for new and experienced divers alike, plus avid snorkellers. Divers can look forward to an abundance of fish life in the Lhaviyani Atoll as well as some of the most varied dive sites and reef formations in the Maldives. Enjoy the adrenaline-rush of a channel dive promising big fish action, float over underwater islands or coral gardens adorned with life, explore overhangs and caves or enjoy some thrilling drift dives. Marine life highlights include dolphin, several species of shark, eagle and stingrays, Napoleon wrasse and plenty of hawksbill turtles.
Price: from £2,345pp sharing, including return flights from the UK, transfers, 7 nights’ full-board resort accommodation, 10 shore dives, tanks, weights and Nitrox.
For further information visit Dive Worldwide – www.diveworldwide.com – or call 01962 302087.
Euro-Divers opens to guests at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives
In celebration of Euro-Divers’ 50 Years of Diving with Friends in the Maldives, the team have opened a new PADI 5 Star Dive Center at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives.
Alila Kothaifaru Maldives retreat lies at the northern edge of the Maldives in the tranquil Raa Atoll, reached via a panoramic 45-minute seaplane voyage from Male. The island has 80 all-pool-villas, 36 of which are over water with a private pool for your enjoyment and 44 beachfront villas designed seamlessly to immerse guests in the natural surroundings. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt Earth Check operating standards, integrating their environments’ natural, physical, and cultural elements.
Raa Atoll is well-known for the excellent scuba diving it offers. The underwater landscape of Raa Atoll is characterized by a high number of thilas scattered inside the lagoons. These underwater coral mountains are magnets for marine life including huge schools of tropical reef fish, a generous splash of colour, iconic bucket-list-must-see marine creatures including sharks, mantas (appearing during the entire year), turtles, and uncrowded dive sites—a perfect diver’s heaven for beginners and experienced divers. We offer a full range of PADI courses for different levels. From November till March, the Manta cleaning station is located 15 minutes away by boat.
The team from Alila Kothaifaru Maldives look forward to welcoming you soon.
Find out more at: www.euro-divers.com/alila-kothaifaru-maldives
Scuba Bucket List Maldives Vlog – Fuvamulah: Island of Sharks
First in a three part vlog from Jake Davies (JDScuba) & Giovana Braia on their recent trip to the Maldives…
With countries opening their borders after almost two years of lockdown it was time to head to a destination which we had high on our list for a few years which was the Maldives. Whilst planning the trip we wanted to make sure we got to experience the Maldives, from its local islands to one of the many resorts that can be found around the archipelago. Whilst also ticking off the many shark and ray species that can be seen.
There was one island in particular that we wanted to visit, an island that’s become more and more popular over the last couple of years and that is the incredible island of Fuvamlulah. However, it wasn’t long after arriving into the Maldives that we realised that the bag that had the underwater housing and some dive kit hadn’t got on the flight in Dubai. Not the start we had expected but we weren’t going to let this ruin the incredible trip that we had planned.
Situated in the deep south of the archipelago, skipping over the equator is Fuvamulah Island, an hour and a half flight from Male airport. The island offers one of the most unique shark encounters in the Maldives: diving with Tiger Sharks. The number of Tiger Sharks found around Fuvamulah has made the island an ever increasing important area for these sharks. Around the island the water drops off to hundreds of meters, where the water can upwell from the depths bringing cold nutrient rich water to the surface. This provides for even more exciting encounters that can occur within the blue and around the plateau cleaning station with species such as Thresher Sharks, Great and Scalloped Hammerheads, Oceanic Mantas and Whale Sharks. Tiger Sharks are guaranteed at the island, whether they are seen out in the blue or at the famous ‘Tiger Zoo’ which is located at the mouth of the harbour.
We booked our diving and accommodation with Fuvamulah Dive School, as part of the ‘one day look‘ package. As part of the package, they organise the flights, transportation whilst on the island and a place to stay at the Fuvamulah Inn which is only a 5 min journey to the dive centre situated at the island’s harbour.
We had two days diving booked where there were three dives a day which included a dive at ‘Tiger Zoo’ each day. This dive was planned for the end of the day as the sharks follow the fishers out when they head out in the morning and then follow them back where they then stay around for the offcuts.
Heading out on the first day of diving we went out to the plateau to take a look at the cleaning station in case any Threshers were around as well as the possibility of some pelagics. Jumping into the 29 degree water was definitely a change from the colder waters off the Welsh coast and the visibility was incredible. We headed down, taking the time to keep an eye out for any shadows in the blue, before reaching the plateau. A few small White-tip Reef Sharks were seen patrolling the ledges along with a large female Tiger Shark cruising below in the depths. After 40mins and no sign of Threshers it was time to head back, where the 6m safety stop was accompanied by another large female Tiger but sadly no pelagics.
Following a surface interval we then headed to the next site, just a short steam out of the harbour to where the beach drops off to depth creating an almost wall-like dive. The dive provided plenty of coral including some huge fan coral at the deeper depths. The large amount of coral also provides for some encounters with Hawksbill Turtles.
For the last dive of the day we went to the famous Tiger Zoo. Swimming over to the shallow ledge, we set up in a line whilst the dive school divers hid fish offcuts around the site to bring in the Tiger Sharks. In position, holding on as there was a swell running, we saw a glimpse of the the first Tiger Shark emerging from the distance. The Tigers found in the area are mainly large female sharks, growing over 4m in length and in some cases over 5m. As they came close it was incredible to look at these amazing Apex predators in their eyes and how graceful they glide past. In total, five sharks appeared, providing some close up encounters. During the second day and another visit at Tiger Zoo, a total of seven sharks were encountered, all providing the same close up curious experience. During the the dives the Fuvamulah Dive school team were incredibly professional and ensured that the dives were carried out in a safe and enjoyable manner.
Surfacing after Tiger Zoo saw the end of the two days diving at Fuvamulah – two incredible and unforgettable days of diving where encounters in the blue alongside those at Tiger Zoo will never be forgotten. It’s a diving location that’s definitely recommended but also a spot that should be continuously monitored to better understand the population of the many species that are found around the island. Fuvamulah surely is the ‘Island of Sharks’.
A 2am start beckoned for the beginning of our next journey, a flight back north to Male airport to then head to Dhigurah for a few days to explore another local island, this time on the lookout for Whale Sharks. Whilst also continuing to hope that our missing suitcase would finally arrive with us.
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