In this 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?
I’m Nico, the Dive Center and Watersports Manager.
What is the name of your business?
Euro-Divers has a 40 year experience in the diving industry. We have 12 dive centers in the Maldives and I am in charge of Euro-Divers Amari Havodda, located in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, one of the most southerly atolls of the country.
What is your role within the business?
My job is to make sure we provide a professional and safe service to our guests. We are here to make their day!
How long has the business operated for?
Euro-Divers Amari Havodda opened in February 2016.
How long have you dived for and what qualification are you?
One day I woke up and decided to become a scuba diving instructor. A month after, in September 2010, I started to dive for the first time. Since that I haven’t stopped. I became a PADI Divemaster in November 2010, an Instructor in March 2011 and a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer in April 2011. I am also a Divemaster from the French Diving Federation (F.F.E.S.S.M.) since August 2013.
I have worked in Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand), Crete ( Mediterranean Sea), Koh Phi-Phi (Andaman Sea), Bocas del Toro (Caribbean Sea), Playas del Coco (Pacific Ocean), Roatan (Caribbean Sea), Kaafu and Gaafu Dhaalu atolls (Indian Ocean).
I also dived in gravel pits in France and Germany, Raja Ampat, Koh Lipe, Hendaye, Caye Caulker, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel… but I have still so many places to discover.
What is your favourite type of diving?
Any kind of diving in a Tropical area. I hate wearing a wetsuit 😉
I have to confess I love Night dives. In my Utopic world I wish day dives would be changed to night dives. Imagine that, doing 2 to 4 night dives “a day”, and sometimes, something unusual, sometimes special…a day dive.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
Euro-Divers team is made up by experienced and friendly professional scuba diving and watersports instructors dedicated to their passion. On top of that, the diving conditions here are unique and not yet well known by the diving community. We are always the only dive boat on sites.
What is your favourite dive in your location and why?
I have many actually. My favourite channel dives are Madaveli, Footi Kandu and Shortcut.
The first one is near by the Airport Island. It offers a rich marine life, such as barracudas observing you the whole dive, huge Napoleon wrasses and juveniles too, many fusiliers, grey reef and white tips reef sharks, Rainbow runners, jacks…and manta rays passing by.
The second and third ones have that unique topography that all our divers like so much. The reef starts from 2-3 meters, a gradual slope up to 18-20 meters. Then a flat sandy bottom between 10 to 30 meters wide, and after that, another deep reef parallel to that sandy bottom rising up to 14 meters, with a dune-like form dropping to the deep water of the open ocean on the other side. And I haven’t even mentioned the stunning hard corals everywhere and fish life. Magic!!!
My favourite inland dive sites are Kahabu Giri and Kuda Hafsa Thila.
The first one is a shallow reef with beautiful hard and soft corals. We see lots of cute batfish that will follow you the whole dive, a school of curious bigeye jacks, different kind of fusiliers, many reef groupers and snappers, hawksbill turtle, white tip reef shark and sometimes spotted eagle rays too.
The second is a small site exposed to current. The reef is the habitat of grey and white tip reef sharks, batfish and a resident ribbon eel.
What types of diving are available in your location?
Here on the West of Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, we have channel dives, thilas (underwater mountains) and Giri (shallow reefs).
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The smile of our guests and their happiness after doing their activity.
What is your favourite underwater creature?
Seriously, so many. I love Sea Slugs, Flatworms, gastropods in general and crustaceans. I am fascinated by so much beauty in such a small body.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
We do regularly reef cleaning involving staff and guests. We talk to the guests every day about what a snorkeler and a scuba diver should and should not do. It’s all about responsive behaviour (Do not touch, Do not feed the fish, Do not collect or buy corals…). We use Green Fins posters as reference material.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall?
They are three different industries. It’s hard to combine them. Diving and snorkeling are already very well present in tropical areas, you can always find a dive center to go diving or snorkeling with.
Freediving is according to me the one with the higher potential of development compared to the other two. Teaching freediving is a growing market. In France for example, they teach all kind of underwater activities through the Ministry of Sports like scuba diving and freediving among others. It’s like being part of a football team; you go to the swimming pool every Wednesday to train.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
If you want to experience a unique diving due to the topography, corals and condition, Euro-Divers is the dive center to dive with in Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, no doubt about it.
On top of being a leader in the diving industry in the Maldives for the past 40 years, we offer a flexible schedule, small groups and always choose dive sites according to our guests wishes. You cannot be disappointed.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
Dive RAID now open in Maldives
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 www.diveraid.com
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