CORALREPUBLIC

 

Maldives, 2011

 

 

 

 

View also Pauls Video from this trip in Vimeo

 

Trip dates:

12 February 27 February 2011

Boat / resort:

MV Orion Anantara Veli, arranged and booked by the Dutch travel operator Diving World

Dive centre:

Liveaboard and Aquafanatics at Veli.

Photo-friendly?:

No specific facilities for photographers, but we managed on both boat and hotel. The boat is to undergo refurbishing soon and they told us they intend to transform the shop room into a camera room.

Number of dives:

16 while on the liveaboard and 8 from the resort in Veligandu.

Diving conditions:

Wonderfully clear and calm seas. All measures of currents, from light to ripping. Water temperature 28C. Good visibility in most dive sites.

Comments:

This was originally a trip planned to Sudan, two weeks on board the M/S Royal Evolution. Unfortunately, the riots and unrest in Egypt led the company to cancel the trip, as they could not resupply in Port Ghalib.

Fortunately, on the other hand, Diving World helped us out very efficiently and found us very last minute berths on the Orion. We had been in the Maldives just a few months before, but we thought this would be a chance to visit in February, when conditions are best for diving and its the peak tourist season. I had not been in Maldives during this season since before I started taking pictures. We then booked an extra week stay at the Anantara resort, complete our two weeks holiday.

Before we flew out, the boat operators emailed to say that the itinerary would be steaming down all the way to Laamu atoll, and that we would fly back to Male from there. We thought this was a lucky chance. We dove mainly channels in search of sharks and rays. However, it was difficult for the dive crew, as they did not know the sites necessarily that well, and I think they dropped us in the wrong spot a couple of times. We enjoyed these dives enormously, but surely missed the sweet spot where the action was more than once, possibly due to that.

An important note for future travellers: avoid the junior suite in this boat (lower deck at the prow). It is located on top of the anchor winch. Since Maldivian Liveaboards are not usually steaming at night, this is not normally a problem. In this case, gong down south meant crossing open seas between atolls at night. We had two nights in a row being violently woken up by the anchor winch at 3.00 am. They stopped moving the boat in the middle of the night when I protested about this, and I fear that shook their plans a bit. But I felt the price of the trip and the safety of the diving came first. In all other respects, the boat was fine. I would not exaggerate the luxury note in their ads, however. It has a Jacuzzi, yes, but it was used just once during the trip and not for long. The on-board massage and shop services were off. The food was the standard fare on Maldivian Liveaboards.

At the Anantara Veli hotel, we enjoyed ourselves a lot, but it was really a self-spoiling exercise. Very pricey place, including the diving. We felt, though, the dive boats were very good and the dives themselves very good as well. The watersports centre has 7 dive instructors employed, but we were only 4 divers max on the boats. This is clearly not a place where hard core divers come. As it is, I think it turned to our advantage.

 

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