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Diving with… Anke Westerlaken, Maldives, Indian Ocean

Maldives DTA Team



In this new ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer

What is your name?

Anke Westerlaken

What is the name of your business?

I work for blue o two, we specialise in luxury liveaboards. We manage our own award winning fleet in the Egyptian Red Sea and the Maldives. In addition, we offer a wide range of scuba diving holidays, from diving liveaboards to resort-based resort diving holidays across the globe.

What is your role within the business?

My roles within blue o two are Cruise Director, Dive Guide and Dive Instructor.

How long has the business operated for?

blue o two began in 2001 and has expanded greatly within the 19 years of operation. We hope to continue to grow and provide divers with the amazing blue o two experience. Over the period of 19 years, we have gained trust in loyal customers by providing them with amazing luxury liveaboard holidays and diving adventures.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have dived for 21 years. I commenced my diving career in 1999 and have been diving ever since! So far I am a qualified NOB Instructor Trainer (National Governing Body for recreational diving and underwater sports in the Netherlands), PADI OWSI (Open Water Scuba Instructor) and an SSI Instructor (Scuba Schools International).

What is your favorite type of diving?

I believe all aspects of diving and marine life are incredible, however if I had to say a personal favourite, it would be deep drifts, cave diving and wreck diving.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Diving is adventurous and can be quite challenging at times, however it is a great way to explore the wonders of nature. The oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet and there’s so much under the sea to explore; diving is one of the best ways to do this! Our liveaboards are carefully placed to cover areas of oceans that are rich with some of the best marine life in the world, all for you to explore at the kick of your fins.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

Rasdhoo. This dive site always brings something special. Sometimes a grey reef cleaning station is active, but you always get to see some of them. Next to grey reefs the following animals are commonly seen: manta, mobula, blotched stingray, whitetip sharks, blacktip sharks, 3 species of moray and leaf fish. The reef itself is stunning and provides a couple of ledges to dive upon. In any current, strong or mild, in or outgoing, this dive site is an adventure.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Drifting, night, wreck and cavern.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The variety of the job because no single day is the same as the next!

What is your favourite underwater creature?

Among the incredible diversity of the Maldives, the porcupine puffer would have to be my favourite underwater creature which has the ability, when threatened or scared, to inflate its body to almost twice its normal size. They usually learn to interact with their human caregivers in odd and engaging ways; some even respond to eye contact by swimming up and begging for food! Their engaging personalities combined with big eyes, chubby cheeks, and silly grins make them adorable pets.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We have recently added a few new itineraries onto our Maldives trips. These include Project Shark: Southern Maldives, our New Year Special which showcases the Central Atolls and Best of the Northern Atolls (10 Nights) which explores further north than we have sailed previously. Last but not least we are introducing Huvadhoo and Gan Addu for 14 nights, which provides divers with amazing marine lie, exploring everything from schooling sharks to vivid corals!

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

As we make deep drifts, we get to meet great wildlife. From manta rays and whale sharks, mobula to grey reef sharks, moray eels to nudibranchs and many turtles in between, the marine biodiversity is superb. Diving in the Maldives is challenging and brings great opportunities to meet pelagic life, to enjoy and to take great shots of.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

To book any one of our outstanding trips call our Plymouth office on 01752 480808 or visit our website: for further information. Alternatively, please send an email through to

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Dive RAID now open in Maldives

Maldives DTA Team



Dive RAID International has announced the opening of its new Maldives Regional Office.

RAID Maldives is the newest RRO (RAID Regional Office) and is ready to introduce instructing and diving The RAID Way™ to a beautiful new region.

This is the first time that Dive RAID International has had dedicated RAID ITs and Examiners “on-site” able to service Maldivian businesses quickly and with experience in the local market.

Having a RAID regional office and onsite Instructor-trainer and Examiner is a first for the Maldives.

RRO MALDIVES owners, Mohamed Rifshan Shaheem and Peter Black, will be offering local dive operators, resorts, instructors, and dive centers all the benefits of RAID membership including Zero FEe-Membership, online education and academics, and a fresh approach to recreational, technical, and freediving business.

RAID Maldives will also be offering visiting divers (RAID certified and others) full service and support at their existing RAID dive centres at Scuba Divine Maldives, Huraa, Diffushi, and Dhangethi.

The Maldives has been known as one of the very best diving destinations in the world and welcomes thousands of tourist divers annually. The islands offer pristine beaches, clear water, and great visibility. Its extensive, unspoiled coral reefs are packed with diverse marine life meaning conditions are perfect for underwater photography and unforgettable underwater adventures. Topside support and facilities are world-class.

Rifshan has worked in the dive industry for over 15. He is a RAID Master Instructor and Crossover Instructor Trainer. Rifshan is Maldivian and currently based on Diffushi, North Male Atoll.

Peter, who many UK divers will know, founded Deep Blue Pirates Dive Club in 2010. He is a RAID Instructor Trainer, Examiner, Deco 40 Instructor trainer, Hollis Prism 2 Instructor, and has been an active RAID member for more than eight years.

Both Rifshan and Peter look forward to seeing you in the Maldives.

Find out more at

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Euro-Divers opens to guests at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives

Maldives DTA Team



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:

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