Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Above water in the Maldives the spectacular views encompass an ocean-infused colour scheme of blue skies, blue-green lagoons and white sandy beaches.  It’s not hard on the eyes by any means, yet not the most diverse of colour schemes.  On the other hand, below the water surface is where more diverse shades stand out.  What gives the underwater world its vibrancy is the colourful kick from the flamboyant flora that grace the scene.

Diving into the blue won’t be a monochromatic experience in the Maldives with fish species named after clowns, parrots and butterflies – and those are only a few of the colourful characters on the scene.  Discover some of the fish with starring roles in the Maldives scuba dive show.
 

Maldives Underwater Soft Coral Pink 580x435 Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Pink soft coral in the Maldives

 

Shades of Red and Orange

 
A few that stand out with their reddish tones are the velvety, pink soft coral, the spiky Lionfish and the cute clownfish.  The Squirrelfish family are a colourful bunch as well.  Squirrelfish come in various sizes from the tiny crown squirrelfish that swims in schools to the larger Blackfin and Sabre varieties that swim alone or in pairs.  Their size is from 17-45cm, they’re nocturnal, and the spines of the Sabre known to be venomous.  Colour differs within the family, but they generally show reddish hues with a gradient of other colours from orange to yellow.
 

sabre squirrel fish 600x398 Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Sabre squirrel fish

 

Shades of Yellow

 
Popular fish with colourful flair are the butterflyfish & angelfish.  From the yellow long-nose and yellow-head butterflyfish to the yellow mask angelfish, they are part of a family known for their special teeth that are fine and hair-like.  This affords these members of the so-called, bristletooth, family an advantage over other fish.  Elusive coral polyps are part of their diet, as are the Christmas-tree worms.  These hard to reach organisms are no match for the butterflyfish which can move swiftly using pectoral fins for precise, purposeful movement – to reverse, spin, break and sprint.

Other flashes of yellow come from bluestripe snapper, blackeye rabbit fish and the yellowmargin moray eel.
 

maldives blue stripe snapper nicoboxethai 600x400 Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Blue stripe snapper. Photo: nicoboxethai, Flickr

 

Patterns & Multicolour

 
That old song, “Polkadots, check and stripes” could have easily have been written about the Maldives reef inhabitants.  What an impact on the underwater scenery it has when the colours are arranged into eye-catching patterns.

Nudibranchs, aka Sea Slugs, like the Alyta Nudibranch, are small but powerful in colour.  Macro photography reveals how this small, spine-less creature, from 6mm to 31cm long, stands out from the rocky coral surroundings.  They are shell-less molluscs that use muscular contractions or their “hairy feet” to move along the uneven surfaces.  Even the eggs of this creature stand out in different colours depending on the species.  To top of the interesting facts about them, they are carniverous, simultaneous hermaphrodites that not only mate with any member of the species but can make them their meal as well.
 

nudibranch Dominic Scaglioni 600x450 Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Nudibranch. Photo: Dominic Scaglioni, Flickr

 
The striped oriental sweet lips, regal angelfish and moorish idol all flash their stripes while the yellow boxfish can be “spotted” on the reef – its square, yellow body with black spots are highly recognizable.

The intricately designed parrotfish, blue-barred parrotfish and bridled parrotfish for example, are identifiable by their toothed beaks. Their colours morph into intricate designs in adulthood and they generally live in harems with a dominant male, though territory is not aggressively sought out.

The colourful light of bioluminescent plankton is an astonishing sight. Lighting up the night, these plankton are known to light up beaches and waters of the Maldives, like Mudhdhoo Island.  The effect borders on magical and has been featured in movies as well as captured by tourists in the Maldives.
 

parrotfish edwardcallaghan73 600x450 Dream in Colour in the Maldives

Bridled parrotfish. Photo: edwardcallaghan73

 

Shades of Blue and Violet

 
Despite the blue backdrop, there are blue species that stand out, stretching the spectrum of tones on display.  The blue damsel has a neon hue of bright blue and is changeable in colour.  During mating the males are said to turn a shade or two darker accompanied by the active mating dance with females.  Also, the powderblue surgeonfish is a common sight that stands out with its solid blue-violet colour covering most of its body. They are stunning when photographed in schools.

 

Colourful fauna designs not only make diving in the Maldives an attraction, but they also help identify the thousands of different species.  Sometimes the name gives a clue to the appearance but other times it keeps us guessing.  Sites like whatsthatfish.com are helpful in identifying fish that were spotted during a trip or can be a tool to learn more about what is to come when diving in a certain region.

While free diving or snorkelling can reveal part of the colour palate of the underwater world in the Maldives, scuba diving is the best way to see the broad spectrum.  The Maldives reef – taste the rainbow!  Last minute offers on now, more info here.

Dream in Colour in the Maldives is a post from: Maldives Blog

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February 3, 2014 | Comments Off 

Stay Current with Ocean Currents in the Maldives

Safety is a top concern for Maldives Dive Travel and their dive cruise partners.  Part of safety is knowledgeable and experienced instructors as well as quality equipment, another is knowledgeable divers.  Take responsibility for your safety by understanding the challenges of Maldives diving, including water currents.

 

Understanding Island Formations

 

Like icebergs, what you seen on top, as the actual island, is just a small portion of the whole formation which also consists of the surrounding submerged reefs and lagoons, seen more clearly as a whole from above.  Underwater intuition and knowledge of the site at hand are essential to a safe dive.

When it comes to dive instruction you can hear everything and its opposite around the Maldives because each atoll varies depending on its configuration and each dive site has different characteristics. Getting to know the location of the atoll and the peculiarities of the sites you’ll visit upon booking a dive trip is a good idea.  It’s also important to listen to the advice of instructors on each visit to the Maldives because conditions differ widely from atoll to atoll and from season to season.
 

 

Calculating Currents

 

It’s the currents that can make for unique diving in particular atolls like Ari and many others in the Maldives.  This element is a determining factor of not only the direction, depth and length of the dives but also the fauna that are apparent at any one time.  This phenomenon of horizontal movement of water is generally influenced by temperature, salinity, tides and agitation from wind. In the Maldives the monsoon winds will also be a factor.

The strength of the current may be surprising, like strong wind during a storm but without the gravity and the solid ground to keep you steady. To understand the currents before entering into their realm, it’s important to collect all the relevant information.  Evaluating the current can be done by watching the movement of schools of fish that swim into the current and by taking a light free dive at just a few metres to verify, then the topography of the site can be considered.  The current hitting the reef splits and is directed according to the shape of the site, which means the starting point should be carefully considered to ensure access the targeted parts of the site.  What will be considered upstream and downstream around the reef is determined by the current.  It’s possible and somewhat common to miss the site and have to try again.  The force of current should not be underestimated but cannot always be so accurately predicted.

Negative buoyancy is often used to avoid stopping during the descent and divers need to follow the guide’s direction.  The ability to use various states of buoyancy and, especially, maintain neutral buoyancy is an important scuba diving skill. It requires mastering breathing rates and weighting as well as use of the buoyancy compensator, all through a process of continuous correction.

 

divers watching tobze Stay Current with Ocean Currents in the Maldives

Effortlessly watching the close up shark action in the Maldives’ current while hooked in. Photo: tobze, Flickr

 

Battle of the diver versus the current

 

The diver’s aim is to access the dive site; the current makes no accommodations.  Divers must learn to manipulate conditions to their benefit or risk challenging dive conditions that threaten their safety.  Stubbornness of the diver and an unwillingness to concede in the face of extreme conditions could mean a messy defeat on the part of the current.

Let intuition guide the way – if the current is strong, stop touring the site.  It may be more enjoyable and safe to simply reach the front of thila, where the reef faces into the current, to watch the show; it is where pelagic performances can be witnessed. 

When it’s time to hit the road back to the surface, some communication is necessary to coordinate the ascent as well as some anticipation of where to leave the parachute, so as to ensure it drifts in open water within sight of the boat. Monitoring the dive computer should help avoid the vertical currents known as the washing machine effect. It’s possible in the combined wrong location, at the wrong time of day and in the wrong currents for surface drift to take divers several miles before the boat can find them, which gets difficult as night falls.

This is why channel sites with outgoing current on the west of atolls such as Ari are avoided in the afternoon because the current then pushes divers out towards the ocean, which would means the diver search would take place at a less than ideal time – at sunset.

 

 
Safety comes first for the companies specializing in scuba dive provision in the Maldives.  The liveaboards offered by Maldives dive travel are carefully selected to ensure that that the levels of service and safety exceed customer expectations.  An obligatory check dive is held at the beginning of every tour and experienced guides lead the dives.  Dive dhonis are also equipped with DAN emergency cases, GPS and oxygen.  As additional measures, the Constellation Fleet boats offer safe air analyzers and lost diver tracking systems on their “free nitrox” packages. 

From February through to March 14-night cruises on Theia are at a great discounted rate, click here. Dive safe with Maldives Dive Travel. 

Stay Current with Ocean Currents in the Maldives is a post from: Maldives Blog

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January 28, 2014 | Comments Off 

New Ways to Dive the Maldives – Island Living

Diving the Maldives is an experience like no other, we need not argue with our fellow divers about that.  Within the country there are diverse dive spots and now there are even more ways to visit them.
 
While liveaboards are a classic way to pack in lots of great diving around the atolls and dive with professionals that know the Maldives like the back of their hand, what other dive package options are there? What about those divers who prefer to have a steady home base or those that have already experienced liveaboards and want to try something different?

 

 

Guesthouse Diving
Guesthouses with dive centres are popping up around the Maldives. From a tropical island base divers can take daily excursions to nearby reefs, channels and wrecks, as well as take advantage of other activities and facilities that the property offers.

Since guesthouses are relatively new in the Maldives many facilities are clean, modern and tailored to guest needs, like Casa Mia in Ari Atoll. From their base on Mathiveri Island, the most famous dive spots of the atoll can be explored, including Fish Head, Maaya Thila and Rasdhoo Madivaru.  This guesthouse’s dive centre is of international standard and the dive package includes 2 or more dives per day along with meals, transfers and accommodation.  There are equipment rentals as well as discounted SSI dive courses for those on a package.
 

casa mia Pool 600x370 New Ways to Dive the Maldives   Island Living

Pool facility at Casa Mia

 
Upon return from diving there’s a swimming pool and a private beach for some relaxation at Casa Mia, as well as a restaurant where you can socialise and chat about the day’s highlights.  The other activities on the menu include fishing, kayaking, SUP (stand up paddle boarding), wind surfing and snorkelling, as well as spa treatments and resort outings.

Benefits of a guesthouse stay go far beyond the value offered in their prices to the unique experience they provide.  Located on local islands and usually made up of a small number of rooms, guesthouses allow a more authentic experience of this island nation.  Spend time in the small villages and witness the lifestyle of a people living on tiny islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The islands are so spread out that at times it feels you’re the only foreigner, which is a stark contrast to tourist-packed resorts.  Learn to relax Maldivian style.

 

Location, Location, Location
Staying at a guest house in the outer atolls has an extra element of excitement for divers.  Liveaboards, while their courses extend wide and far during the trip itinerary, only stretch so far into the scattered islands at the fringes of the country.  A stay at Assyeri Inn in one of the northernmost atolls, for example, makes dive spots accessible that liveaboards rarely or never touch.  Grab a Maldivian Air domestic flight to Hanimaadhoo Island up north to reach it, which has the added benefit of fantastic aerial views of the islands and lagoons among the blue green ocean backdrop.  A great option for those divers that feel they’ve already “been there, done that” in other areas of the Maldives.
 

asseyri inn room New Ways to Dive the Maldives   Island Living

Asseyri Inn Eco-Room

 
Also outside the reach of many boat tours is Laamu Atoll, where Reveries Diving Village is located.  The domestic flight to Kaddhoo Airport is part of the experience of traveling to a more isolated atoll.  Then, with a dive dhoni, there is awesome diving within reach, as many as eleven dive sites at depths 5-30 metres and visibility of 20-30 meters.

However, for those who prefer to be in the centre of the action and not so far from Male there is great diving to be had from local islands in the central atolls.  Maafushi is one of the busier local islands with guesthouse accommodation, if you’re looking for a buzz and more socializing.  For a quieter refuge there are several locations to indulge a sense of repose.  Happy Life lodge is located on Dhiffushi island, in North Male atoll, and Kuri Inn’s base is in South Ari Atoll, both with delectable diving on offer.  At a bit of a distance, with transfer by seaplane and boat, Villa Stella also offers diving excursions in their less-frequented Dhaalu Atoll.

 

Dive the Maldives’ islands in a new way and from a different kind of dive base.  In many tropical destinations accommodation is limited to large resort compounds and the Maldives was no different until just five years ago. The massive resort facilities are costly to maintain so their prices are high and activities are often paid separately, as pricey extras. Now, privately owned properties on local islands specialize in diving the reefs within a radius around them, often with diving included in the packages or as more reasonably priced excursions.

If a week on the ocean swells seems out of your comfort zone or if you want to reach the dive spots of the outer atolls, then guest house diving could be the experience you’ve been missing.  Guest houses make the Maldives accessible to more people with a lower price range than resorts and a new dive experience in the islands. Check out our guest house page for more information or read about our latest liveaboard deal if you’re set on sailing the seas.

New Ways to Dive the Maldives – Island Living is a post from: Maldives Blog

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January 22, 2014 | Comments Off 

Drum Roll Please…The Winners of the Magic Memories Contest are…

In October we kicked off the ultimate contest for any Maldives enthusiast, a chance to relive the experience of visiting the Maldives by sharing their memories, through an article and photos or video. The response has been fantastic and we’ve truly enjoyed reading about the different perspectives and experiences you’ve had in the destination closest to our hearts.

Now, it’s the moment of truth, when we reveal who most strongly captured our attention and showed the most energy, individuality and originality.

 

And the winners are…

1st Prize 

Dominique, Netherlands

Diving week for one person on any of our boats*

Dominique hooked us with his recounts of his trip highlights in exciting detail, comparing the experience to the exhilaration of a roller coaster.  A bit from his story:

“For an hour we witnessed the acrobatic somersaulting and waving of the Manta Rays with open mouths. (not literally of course) Cruising at just 10 centimetre over our heads with mouths wide open so you could see the beautiful black and white striping on the inside of the Manta Ray’s mouth. Such amazingly gentle and beautiful creatures they are…you can never get tired of watching them.”

Read more and check out Dominique’s great photos as well as his video of a night dive with nurse sharks, here.

 

baby whale shark dominique 600x450 Drum Roll Please…The Winners of the Magic Memories Contest are…

Baby whale shark smiling for the camera. Photo: Dominique, Netherlands

 

2nd Prize

Peter, Norway

Guest house one-week stay for one person in any of our guest houses

Peter reminded us of how the social element of travel and, particularly, liveaboards can be part of the lasting memories of a trip.  He described:

“Like magicians, the guides seem to “pull everything out of thin air”. Seeing far beyond mortals, they point out sharks at 30 meters distance when you could swear the viz is 25 meters! And, using what must be superhuman x-ray vision, here’s a leaf fish, frog fish and 6 more weird nudibranches for you macro-maniacs!

Check out the photos and video, and read on here.

 

3rd Prize

Andrew, Australia

50% Voucher for a one-week liveaboard for one person

What was most impressive about Andrew’s story was his knack for detail.  Names of reefs, marine life and wrecks are all mentioned – we could tell he knows his Maldives diving!  He describes:

“Day 4 commenced with the Fesdu wreckand reef again in beautiful visibility, dives on Dega Thila and Radhdhigga Thila completed the day with more beautiful sharks, turtles, rays, tuna, and nudibranchs, flat worms, crustaceans and schools of fish. A beach BBQ on an uninhabited Island rounded off another perfect day in the MALDIVES!”

Get the rest of the trip report here. And check out his video below.
 

 

4th Prize

Brice, France

Diving computer

We enjoyed the romantic story of Brice and his wife, who experienced the shiny new ScubaSpa Ying boat for their honeymoon.  Like the boat, they celebrated their new life ahead among the islands of the Maldives.  His experience is depicted in his article:

“Colors everywhere, a density and a variety of life forms we’ve never experienced before; I was not swimming next to the fishes I was swimming together with them as part of the group…”

Read more here.

 

5th Prize

Anjum, UK

ABC set

Anjum’s story showed us that even while on the same trip, visitors can have a very different experience.  Also, he proved how strong the pull can be to come back to the Maldives.  He tells in his story:

“I did a different resort everyday while my brother did dives in different areas to see different kinds of fish.  Every evening we would meet and tell each other about our adventures.  My brother’s stories were even more exciting so I decided to go for a dive. Wow!  What an experience it was.”

Read more here.

 
magic memories manta ray 550 Drum Roll Please…The Winners of the Magic Memories Contest are…
 
Congratulations!  We will be in contact to congratulate the winners by email and award your prizes.  We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all who participated and shared past experiences with Maldives Dive Travel and our readers. Contest rules and regulations posted here.

One thing mentioned by many of the entrants was their love of our deals and specials.  Well, here comes another one for 14-night cruises in February and March, more details here.

Drum Roll Please…The Winners of the Magic Memories Contest are… is a post from: Maldives Blog

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January 15, 2014 | Comments Off 

Magic Memories of 2013 at Maldives Dive Travel

We hope you had a fantastic time ringing in the New Year!  It’s about that time when we look back at 2013 to see where we’ve been and get excited about where we’re going in the new year.  Let’s take a look back at the highlights of 2013 both in the water and on our blog.

Year 2013 in review at Maldives Dive Travel

This has been an exciting year for Maldives diving.  In the spring, ScubaSpa Ying was added to the dive boat experiences offered by Maldives Dive Travel. Determined to dive but want to be pampered too?  The combined onboard spa and dive facility make this the ultimate luxury diving experience or holiday for diver/non-diver couples.

Later in the year, MV Leo appeared on the scene, adding an element of luxury and comfort to the dive experience with an onboard jacuzzi.   Tours designed for the best marine life sightings and Nitrox included in the package provide the ultimate all-round Maldives dive experience.

In the last part of the year we launched the Maldives story contest, which conjured up some great memories of Maldives experiences past.  We accepted writing and photo/video submissions from past visitors to the Maldives in our “Magic Memories” competition.  Prizes include a one week liveaboard package, a dive computer, a week stay in a guest house and an ABC set, offered to the top entries that are selected as winners.  Speaking of winners, they will be announced very soon so watch this space! 

 

On the blog

This year our blog has touched on many themes surrounding our favorite topic – the Maldives!  In case you missed any of them on the blog this year, here are the tantalizing topics of 2013 with links to 3 specially selected posts for each theme:

Flora & fauna

We can’t talk about the Maldives without mentioning the marine life.  It’s what many people come here for and what gives the country that extra dimension of tropical wonder.  Don’t miss reading about hammerhead sharks and other elusive species that do a good job at staying hidden from plain sight.  Whether it’s the depths, the sand or their own camouflage abilities that hide them away, divers will have to be very observant and patient to see them.  There are also the weird and wonderful creatures to discover – the fish that seem alien and that we don’t learn about in any school classroom.  So many sights to see under the water.

paper scorpionfish Neville Wootton Paper Scorpionfish resting on a coral formation at Bula Lohi Corner Magic Memories of 2013 at Maldives Dive Travel

A paper scorpionfish doing what it does best – look weirdly like its surroundings in the Maldives. Resting on a coral formation at Bula Lohi Corner. Photo Neville Wootton, Flickr

 

Marine environment

Interdependence and interconnectedness can describe the environment of these isolated islands.  People depend on the sea and the sea depends on them.  Visitors also depend on their hosts for safety and for a great holiday.  Read about reef building and the ways that liveaboards are taking responsibility for safety and their environmental impact. Within the marine environment bonds for survival are also strong.  See just how close marine relationships can get.

 

Strictly diving

Of course it wouldn’t be a dive company blog without posts about diving!  There are many to browse through including a spotlight on night diving and a comparison of liveaboards – helping make the best liveboard choice.  So many choices of liveaboards but also so many choices of dive spots; see what diver style suits which spots.

Peter and shark 2 Magic Memories of 2013 at Maldives Dive Travel

Diver meets whale shark. Peter, Norway, Contest entry

Complementary to diving

Divers can’t stay under water indefinitely, though many might wish they could.  When coming up for air there are many other activities to do in the Maldives.  There are also many regions to explore, like the outer atolls, where the crowds dissipate and visitors are surrounded by just the sea, sand, sun and a few local villages.  Finally, while photo taking is a top activity for everyone, divers should concentrate on their underwater photography skills. 

 

Each week we bring you to the Maldives through articles, photos and videos, not to mention some great deals including this one for Theia 14-night cruises.  So, keep reading and stay in touch!

Magic Memories of 2013 at Maldives Dive Travel is a post from: Maldives Blog

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January 5, 2014 | Comments Off 

It’s the Relationships that Stick – Magic Memories Contest Entry

As we get ready to ring in the new year, many people are planning to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.  During the holidays these relationships are cherished and memories are made during annual celebrations. 

In the spirit of memories and relationships, here’s our final entry for the Magic Memories contest.  Peter of Norway describes the friendships he has made as one of the enduringly memorable parts of his several trips to the Maldives.  Here’s his story:

 

It’s the Relationships that Stick

By Peter from Norway

Right now, it’s about 3 degrees, windy, raining and dark (as usual this time of year) in Stavanger, Norway. Although life is good, and I have nothing to complain about, it’s the “bleak reality” of my everyday existence. It is an existence which is in sharp contrast to the “magic memories” of my visits to the Maldives.

The memories are magical, in part, because they are so strong. You close your eyes, or simply stare out the window, and suddenly you are transported to a “place” where everything is warm, colorful, peaceful, and special. The memories are strong and magical because the first impressions are strong and magical.

 

Whale after Miyaru Faru Its the Relationships that Stick   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Whale after Miyaru Faru. Photo: Peter, Norway

 

The magic began when I looked out the window of the BA flight as we approached Male. The atolls and the colors of the surrounding water are so vivid and so different from any other destination I’ve been to that I knew already this would be a very special place. The final approach and landing over the water, with the strong colors of the buildings on Male was also unique.

While at most destinations you head over to the taxi queue after picking up your luggage, here I was ushered on to the dhony, delivered my shoes (which I did not see again for a week), and the “chill was on”!

When I arrived on Theia (after the welcome drink and cold towel, of course!), I was shown to my stateroom. It was as large as my bedroom at home, and as nice, if not nicer than any I’ve been in. I dumped my stuff and headed right back out to the 2nd deck and the most comfortable outdoor sofa I ever put my behind into! The captain had thoughtfully parked the vessel outside the harbor, outside the flight path, allowing the daydreaming to begin.

Over the course of the week, the diving was, well, I hate to repeat myself, but “magical”. Like magicians, the guides seem to “pull everything out of thin air”. Seeing far beyond mortals, they point out sharks at 30 meters distance when you could swear the viz is 25 meters! And, using what must be superhuman x-ray vision, here’s a leaf fish, frog fish and 6 more weird nudibranches for you macro-maniacs!

 

Peter and shark 2 Its the Relationships that Stick   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Peter and shark.

 

Of course there are always the mantas at Lankan and, if you’re lucky, the whale sharks at Maamigilli. There are hyperactive sharks and jacks at Maya Thilla, and nurse sharks and jacks seemingly on steroids at Alimatha. And, if you’re incredibly lucky a sailfish, a hammerhead, or even a whale surfacing while heading back to Male. What makes the diving in the Maldives so special to me, is that I believe that every dive in the Maldives might be my best dive ever. So far I’ve been right many times!

But, even though these incredible experiences are saved on your internal memory or computer hard drive, they are moments in time. What has become the greatest magic of the Maldives are the relationships I’ve formed, both with the crew and the guests. The Maldivian people are truly special and, in my opinion, unique. They are true islanders, living in a country consisting 99% of water. They are at home on the ocean and welcome all those who want to experience them. They have a respect for their visitor and a hospitality that is so special, it has brought me back 5 times in the past 3 years.
 

 
Two years ago, during my second of three visits to Theia, I noticed that almost all the crew had nicknames. I jokingly said that now, after 2 visits, I should have a nickname as well (and not a “stupid” one!). The next day, on the dhony, they told me they had decided on one: “Khateeb”. I was afraid to ask, but had to: “Ok, what does Khateeb mean?” Their answer: “Island chief”. Ok! Not bad! I can live with that!

Now, when I return to the Maldives, I “causally” mention that I too, have a Maldivian nickname. “Khateeb” always brings a smile to their face, breaks the ice, and from then on, they seem to treat me as one of their own.

Over the past years I have also met several guests on my trips, from all over the world, with whom I still have special relationships These relationships are a source of continuing magical moments and I cherish them all.
 

Peter Mark and Rob Its the Relationships that Stick   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Peter Mark and Rob

 
I have been very lucky and have had the opportunity to travel and visit some of the best dive and tourist destinations on the planet. I can say, hand on heart, that the Maldives are truly unique. If you want to dive and have an opportunity to “do it all”, see incredible scenery as you travel from one atoll to another, meet wonderful people, and feel truly blessed, make your way to the Maldives! You’ll never be the same!

Sincerely!

Peter ,“Khateeb”
 

The Maldives Memories Contest is now closed to new entries. Thanks to all who participated. We’ll be posting the winners later this month so stay tuned to the blog!

In the meantime, we wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! See you in the Maldives in 2014!

It’s the Relationships that Stick – Magic Memories Contest Entry is a post from: Maldives Blog

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  2. Maldives Dive Rollercoaster – Magic Memories Contest Entry
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  4. Our Adventure in the Maldives – Contest Entry
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December 31, 2013 | Comments Off 

To the Maldives and Back Again – Magic Memories Contest Entry

The Maldives seems, at first, like a once in a lifetime type of destination.  For many, however, it becomes their holiday destination of choice where they return year after year.  The island atmosphere, the sea side life and the underwater adventures all keep tourists coming back for more.  It’s a tiny island nation with big excitement and the ultimate escape factor. 

This Magic Memories Contest entry tells the story of a couple lads from the UK who liked the country so much that they returned just 4 months later.  Here is their story:

 

To the Maldives and Back Again

By Anjum from the UK

I went to the Maldives in May for the first time with my brother.  He was going for the diving experience and I was going for the resorts and beautiful sandy beaches with the turquoise water.   We stayed in Male for the night, then started our trip to Maafushi, which is a local island were we met lots of very nice locals.

 

 To the Maldives and Back Again   Magic Memories Contest Entry

White sandy beaches of the Maldives. Photo: Anjum, UK

 

I did a different resort everyday while my brother did dives in different areas to see different kinds of fish.  Every evening we would meet and tell each other about our adventures.  I enjoyed the resorts and the beautiful barbecues as well as the snorkeling.  I saw lots of beautiful fish while snorkelling even saw turtles, stingrays and baby sharks.  It was amazing to see all the beautiful sea life.

My brother’s stories were even more exciting so I decided to go for a dive. Wow!  What an experience it was.  I have to thank the scuba team as they were brilliant in how they took care of every aspect from the training to the dives.  My dive was at Kandooma Thila and it was a lovely experience where I saw lots of different kinds of sea life and live coral.

We enjoyed our trip so much but we felt it wasn’t enough and when we left we told the locals we would be back.  When we got back to the UK, my brother and I couldn’t get over the fact that it was such a beautiful place and we decided we wanted to go again.

In August, we went to the Maldives again but this time we stayed for three weeks.  We first went to the North Ari Atoll to the island of Rasdhoo where we stayed a week.  There, my brother was hoping to see the whale sharks and hammerheads, and while he was not able to see the hammerheads, he was not too disappointed as the following week he would be going on the liveaboard trip.

We left Rasdhoo and came to Hulhumale where my brother started his liveaboard trip on the Aria Queen.  I decided to take the ferry to Baa Atoll for a week.  For the final week we would meet in Maafushi back to where we stayed earlier in the year.  We both had experiences that we will never forget and it was one of the most adventurous trips we have ever done.  My brother got to see all the things he was looking forward to, from manta rays to whale sharks, hammerheads and turtles, to dolphins and so many other types of fish.  I got to see lots of beautiful beaches – the Baa Atoll is an amazing place.  It felt like it was untouched with clear blue waters and lovely sea life.

 

 To the Maldives and Back Again   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Maldives untouched island atmosphere. Photo Anjum, UK

 

The main highlight of my trips was the diving that I did.  During my dive near Maafushi there was a shipwreck.  It was one of the most amazing places I saw where there were barracudas, sharks, lion fish and mantas.  I felt very lucky to see as much as I did on that dive trip.  The dives I did inspired me to get qualified as a diver and go back and do a liveaboard trip, which I’m hoping to do next year.  I want to go back and see more of the Maldives and get the liveaboard experience.  I have made many friends that I will be going back to see as well.

 

Anjum is in the running for yet another Maldives adventure as well as for some other great diving prizes to get his diving career off to a great start.  See what prizes are up for grabs and how to enter the Magic Memories contest by clicking here.   Share your story and photos or video to get the chance to reminisce and win – entry deadline extended!  Get your story over to us this week!

To the Maldives and Back Again – Magic Memories Contest Entry is a post from: Maldives Blog

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December 24, 2013 | Comments Off 

Underwater Honeymoon – Magic Memories Contest Entry

Everyone loves a good love story from time to time.  This week’s story combines love of diving with a Maldives honeymoon.  A special occasion can’t get any more special than this.  Read about how Brice and his wife enjoyed ScubaSpa Ying’s best amenities and the Maldives’ most amazing sights.

 

An Underwater Honeymoon in the Maldives

By Brice, France

My wife Elise and I were married for only 4 days when we arrived in the Maldives where we had booked an amazing diving package on an even newer boat (4th tour only) on the amazing Scubaspa Ying.

The Maldives are the spot that all of our diving friends here in France were urging us to see and we understood why when our plane was flying over thousands of islands. To tell you the truth, Elise is subject to awful see sickness but learning about the water temperature, the spa on the boat, the look and the size of the boat where enough to convince her.

The dream trip started when we arrived next to the boat, as our first liveaboard we were a bit anxious about how it would feel to actually live on a boat for a week and I was secretly worrying about Elise’s tendency for sea sickness. The crew was very welcoming and they made us forget everything we were frightened about, in less than 10 minutes.

bed heart wohlgemuth Underwater Honeymoon   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Getting settled in to the ScubaSpa suite. Photo: Elise & Brice, France

 

The welcome cocktail started the process of relaxation and we took a tour of our living place for the week to come. Four decks with the cabins at the lower and main deck, where the dining room was also located, the third one dedicated to relaxation and spa treatment and the sundeck where you can relax in the Jacuzzi! We were as excited as children when we entered our room, a huge suite in the front of the boat with a view on the sea – it felt like we could fell asleep while watching dolphins jumping in front of us.

We received a complementary wine bottle for our wedding and our sheets were shaped into a heart. When looking around the cabin, I discovered that the bed was under-lighted by blue LEDs which when all other lights were off was “the most romantic ambiance ever”. We were only there for less than 15 minutes and neither of us wanted to leave the cabin… We were both hungry, so we went to dinner where we met our diving buddies for the week and we tasted the chef’s incredible cuisine (which was excellent all week long).

But why go to the Maldives if not to dive? So, after the usual briefings we went on our first dives. Colors everywhere, a density and a variety of life forms we’ve never experienced before; I was not swimming next to the fishes I was swimming together with them as part of the group… We went to Bandos house reef and after crossing paths with a few turtles one of them decided to take a closer look at my camera.

 

Whaleshark wohlgemuth Underwater Honeymoon   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Baby whale shark raises excitement levels for all. Photo: Elise & Brice, France

 

So now, let’s get serious. Maldives are also known for big marine life: Napoleon fish, sharks, mantas, and whale sharks, and to be honest we were expecting to see some. What we didn’t expect was having a 15-minute swim with a baby whale shark less than a meter from us.  Our diving instructor had made it very clear not to touch the whale sharks as it could be deadly to them. What he didn’t tell us was that the animal may come to us out of curiosity, thinking we were his new play buddies; we all did our best to avoid any contact and still get amazing shots.

At Manta Point, you can guess, a huge manta ray passed over my head while I was looking at the corals.  Elise grabbed my leg so hard that I thought she just got bit by a shark and by the time I turned on the camera the manta was already flying away from us. We also had a brief encounter with 3 eagle rays that were swimming towards us who just raised up, passed over our heads and returned back to the same level, like we were just a speed bump on their road. Unfortunately, no videos of this one since I forgot the camera on the boat, but the memory of it will never be erased. I won’t go into all of the sharks, barracudas, napoleons we saw.  Not that it’s uninteresting, but it would take me years to describe everything.

 

All of the pictures and videos here were taken with my GoPro camera which has a wide angle lens so things appear further than they really are; to get some of those shots I was between 20 to 30 cm from the subjects.

Everything was perfect, from the magnificent boat to the happiness of the crew. We considering getting married a second time just to go back!

 

Brice and Elise may not have to get married again to experience the Maldives another time.  Their entry is now in the running for one of several prizes including a one-week liveaboard trip on one of our boats.  Get contest details and an entry form to submit your experience here.

Book a dive and spa trip on ScubaSpa at a huge 50% discount with this special offer.

Underwater Honeymoon – Magic Memories Contest Entry is a post from: Maldives Blog

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December 16, 2013 | Comments Off 

Maldives Dive Rollercoaster – Magic Memories Contest Entry

Read this recent submission for the Magic Memories contest.  Maldives Dive Travel has some great prizes up for grabs for the best stories received.  For contest details and entry form, click here.

 

Here’s a take on an exciting Maldives dive trip by Dominique from the Netherlands:

Experience the Diving Rollercoaster the Maldives

Pinpointing the highlight of the trip is hard to do as it was basically one on-going rollercoaster of amazing sights, experiences and people. One of the highlights for me personally was to see the abundance of fish, sharks and mantas, despite the worldwide decline in populations. I was happy to hear from our guides that it seems to be getting a little better with at least the shark populations in the Maldives this year. This was also witnessed by our group of divers as we were able to see lots and lots of baby sharks; white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks and grey reef sharks in particular.

reef shark dominique 600x449 Maldives Dive Rollercoaster   Magic Memories Contest Entry

White tip reef shark and surrounding fish filled waters. Photo: Dominique, Netherlands

 

When talking about real highlights, my thoughts dream back to the very first dive we did, as our ‘discovery dive’, where we were accompanied by a gentle 4 meter little-giant of a Manta Ray. At one point even 6 of his manta buddies joined up with him for a quick body scrub.

 

Highlights 1, 2, 3

The other highlights must be the two night dives we did:

The first one when we thought ‘maybe if we were lucky’ we would see feeding nurse sharks, at not even 4 minutes into our dive we were surrounded by both baby and large adult nurse sharks in a feeding frenzy. These beautiful golden-brown sharks would swim right up to your chest and legs and give them a little brush with their fins. Not to forget the huge giant trevallys which joined the feeding frenzy and which would swim just 10 centimetres in front of your mask while crossing from behind. The glow of the torches was used by them as an extra hunting tool which they seemed quite fond of.

 

 
At the end of the dive, while doing the safety stop on the sandy bottom, one of the Nurse Sharks decided one of the legs of a diver was a nice resting place for a few minutes between feeding frenzies.

The second night dive we joined 5 Manta Rays while they were gorging on plentiful of Plankton just below the back deck of our MV Virgo. For an hour we witnessed the acrobatic somersaulting and waving of the Manta Rays with open mouths. (not literally of course) Cruising at just 10 centimetre over our heads with mouths wide open so you could see the beautiful black and white striping on the inside of the Manta Ray’s mouth. Such amazingly gentle and beautiful creatures they are…you can never get tired of watching them.

The third highlight must be my first live encounter with 2 whale sharks on separate occasions while snorkelling. Seeing these gentle giants has been a dream of mine for many years and it has finally come true!

baby whale shark dominique 600x450 Maldives Dive Rollercoaster   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Baby whale shark smiling for the camera. Photo: Dominique, Netherlands

 

Diverse Dive Spots

Naming a favorite dive site of the trip is impossible as every dive site we went to was so different, although on paper they look a lot alike. Channel dives, followed by reef/wall dives in the drift followed by pinnacle dives with cleaning stations…nothing is the same. Although Maldives is not known for its beautiful corals like in other parts of Asia, there still are beautiful sights of hard corals with a healthy dose of fish living in and around them. The wreck dives give a nice change of scenery from watching all these beautiful graceful Sharks cruise by in the currents. At the wrecks the muck-divers can have some fun and look for the odd leaf fish, nudibranchs, glass shrimps, mantis shrimps and other small fish that inhabit these wrecks.

oriental sweet lips dominique 600x449 Maldives Dive Rollercoaster   Magic Memories Contest Entry

The vibrant reefs made colourful by the abundant marine life. Photo: Dominique, Netherlands

 

Personally I enjoyed (although at times a little scary) the medium-heavy current dives where you just hold on and wait till the Sharks come closer and closer by the dozen.

What made it even better, was that usually we had the dive sight to ourselves. Almost no other divers/boats joined us until the last minutes of our dive, which gave it a very unique experience.

 

Final Thoughts

All in all this Maldivian diving experience was amazing. Not just by the incredible diving only, but particularly the crew aboard the MV Virgo made it very special. Their incredible service-mindedness and friendly attitude made it a super comfortable week. The food was honestly the best food I have ever had aboard a boat. Every day the chef prepared different and delicious dishes from all over the world.

Not to forget the boat itself. The MV Virgo is a very luxurious and comfortable boat that is well appointed. At no point do you feel cramped as even the cabins are spacious. Nice sundeck with loungers, jacuzzi on deck, comfortable smoking area and even a nice deck on the back to enjoy the Manta dance or do some fishing.

The short trip to Malé city is also a nice change of scenery and a pleasant experience. It’s fun to get to know some insider information from locals on what atoll-island life is like.

manta ray cleaning dominique 600x441 Maldives Dive Rollercoaster   Magic Memories Contest Entry

Large pelagic sightings common in the Maldives. Photo: Domnique, Netherlands

 

I visited the Maldives to go diving in a location where I would be able to see some big pelagic fish (manta rays, whale sharks), sharks and the idyllic Atolls from the travel brochures and videos. My goal was to finally catch a glimpse of the elusive Whale Shark for the first time in my life while snorkelling/diving.

Visiting the Maldives in the future would be for the incredible diving. I would love to go back and enjoy more time with the manta rays as well as the sharks. Just can’t get enough of the thrilling big fish life of the Maldives.

Send us your entry today! Tell us your experience visiting the Maldives but submitting the entry form. Click here.

Maldives Dive Rollercoaster – Magic Memories Contest Entry is a post from: Maldives Blog

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December 9, 2013 | Comments Off 

Shark Mania – More Memorable Maldives Moments

It’s that time again.  Reminiscing about Maldives trips past and the emotions they can still conjure up.  This week we bring you a contest entry by Ken from England.  He reminds us that the group you dive with can really make the whole experience.  He also had great sightings on every dive – read about the many sharks he encountered on his liveaboard trip in the Maldives.

 

Shark Mania Relived

By Ken, England

My non-diving wife Karen and I visited the Maldives to experience the wonderful climate, friendly people and unbelievable underwater life in this fantastic corner of the world.

We were met at Male airport by our dive guide for the week and soon transported to Stingray along with our fellow travellers who turned out to be the most friendly and varied bunch of international people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We had Russian, Spanish, American, Czech, German and us Brits along with our local crew and guides all getting along famously both on board and underwater sharing and appreciating the most amazing experiences.

 

black tip reef shark maldives Shayan USA Shark Mania   More Memorable Maldives Moments

Black tip reef shark Maldives. Photo: Shayan (USA) / Flickr

Watching the trip fill up online, anticipating who was going to be aboard, whether the trip would fill up, wondering which sites we would dive were all part of the build up adding to the excitement. We did not need to worry as the crew took us to the action and creatures we wanted to see on EVERY dive. Mantas and sharks on the first dive, manta feeding station with the magnificent creatures an arms length away on the second dive, and so it continued. Whale sharks, guitar sharks, leopard sharks, turtles, reef, black-tip, white-tip sharks galore! The night dive on Maaya Thila was a special moment, as were the evenings watching the Mantas feed off the back of the Stingray boat after another wonderful supper prepared by our super efficient crew.  There was also wondering who the squid, caught by our Russian friend Nick, was going to soak with ink as he hauled them aboard. Two extra special moments stand out.

squid maldives Shark Mania   More Memorable Maldives Moments

Squid in the Maldives. When caught their colour changes and ink released as a protective measure. Photo: Jon Connell / Flickr

 

Firstly, the evening spent on the uninhibited island having a barbecue with our new friends the crew who worked so hard to make the evening memorable with the food and the decorations in the sand. Secondly, the last dive! We had visited Rasdhoo for a dive and to go on the island to visit during the day.  In the morning we were to have a very early dive. As we kitted up everyone was tense with anticipation. We dropped into the perpetually warm waters at dawn and descended to the twilight at 30m. After about 10 minutes, just as predicted by the guides, there, out of the gloom swam not one, not two but three huge Hammerheads 10m below us. We descended to get a better look and they circled back to do the same, before cruising on into the Blue. An absolutely unforgettable moment which will live with me forever !

Our group broke up later that morning with some heading home, others off to resorts and the crew off to meet their next guests (if they had half the fun and saw half as much as we did then they also will have had a great trip ). We have kept in touch and swapped photos and memories since via email etc. I would go back to the Maldives and dive with Deco and his crew in a heartbeat. I am already saving for my next trip in case I don’t win this excellent competition and it will of course be with Maldives dive travel who delivered on everything promised and a heck of a lot more.

 

Creatures of Rasdhoo Atoll – video:

 

The above article puts Ken in the running for one of several prices up for grabs – including a one-week liveaboard trip on one of our boats!  Share your Maldives experience with us, whether it includes diving or not.  Didn’t book with us?  No problem.  We’re passionate about the Maldives and we want to hear from anyone that enjoys it as much as we do.  For contest details and entry form click here.

Shark Mania – More Memorable Maldives Moments is a post from: Maldives Blog

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December 2, 2013 | Comments Off 

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