The Maldives archipelago is exactly halfway around the planet from Boulder. Although the travel required to get to these exquisite atolls is arduous, the rewards are worth every hour spent in planes and airports. Our group arrived at various times and dates and enjoyed a good night’s rest at the Hulhule Transit Hotel in Male prior to boarding the Manthiri liveaboard. The Manthiri would be our home for a 9 night charter.
We were blessed with perfect weather: sunny skies, light breeze, 80-90F every day. Our accommodations aboard the Manthiri were comfortable and food was delicious and plentiful! A typical day involved waking up at 6am, light breakfast & coffee at 630am, first dive at 7am, main breakfast at 830am, second dive at 1030/11am, lunch, third dive at 230/3pm, and optional fourth dive at 430/5pm. This is a rigorous schedule for being on vacation!
The diving in the Maldives is simply superb. There is always current present and occasionally the current can be quite swift. All of this water flow provides a bounty of plankton that is fed upon by millions of plankton-loving fishes: anthias, red-toothed triggerfish and longfin bannerfish to name a few. Clouds of brilliant orange and magenta anthias rise up off the reef, looking like tiny jewels sparkling in the sun. Turtles and eels were abundant: green and hawksbill turtles, green morays, honeycomb morays and the feisty masked moray! We also had numerous daytime octopus encounters, which is always a special treat.
The highlight of diving in the Maldives are the manta rays. These graceful animals frequent cleaning stations around the atolls and are somewhat predictable in their visits. Encounters with 4-8 mantas were common. The mantas got very close to the divers, seemingly unaware of our presence. Cleaner wrasses quickly make contact, feverishly picking off parasites and dead skin. It was a true gift from the ocean to have such incredible experiences, some of which were in 10ft of water!
Everyone had a great time and agreed that the diving in the Maldives is special and unlike any other destination! It took a while to travel there and back, but was absolutely worth the effort!