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May 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Maldives Princess, The Maldives

a long way to see whale sharks, but worth it

from the May, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

I cursed my burned-up cheap battery charger that didn't like the voltage adapter I had bought specifically for this trip; it didn't handle the 220- volt wiring of the Maldives Princess. Wondering if I could keep taking photos, I approached my shipmates to see if anyone had a charger I could use. Luckily, another diver did, and that became the communal battery charger for half the boat.

Danny, the boat's Maldivian manager, had met my partner and me at the Mal airport the day before. A shaggy-haired, shy young man, he proved to be an able manager throughout the trip. After waiting for other travelers whose flight was late, we walked across the street to the waiting dhoni, our dive boat for the week, and then motored out to the Princess. We were ushered into the main salon and given a welcome-aboard cocktail as a crewmember delivered our luggage to our cabin. While the cabins are large by liveaboard standards, mine lacked much storage space other than a two-level closet. However, it had a good AC unit, television with DVD player, a large shower (I never did get hot water, although people across the hall did) and a mini-fridge. The bed was comfortable -- cabins had either a queen or two double beds -- and the cabin was serviced twice a day.

The first morning, I was wakened at 6 a.m. by a ringing telephone. In my jet-lagged haze, I stumbled around to find the source of the unexpected noise. I lifted the receiver to hear Ashan, the Sri Lankan waiter, say, "This is your wakeup call!" I found my way upstairs to be greeted by the aroma of coffee and toast, my morning ritual for the next week. The Princess had remained at anchor the first night, near a nondescript shallow site we used for our checkout dive. Only a pair of rather large cuttlefish made it worthwhile. Following the dive, the captain headed out, while the 18 divers onboard (half were English-speaking Americans, Canadians, Australians and Polish, while the other half were non- English-speaking Italians) took advantage of the buffet breakfast: eggs served a variety of ways, meats, cheeses, fruit and cereals....


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