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Dive Review of Baani Explorer in
Maldives/Male & Ari Atoll]

Baani Explorer, Jan, 2008,

by Jerry Hobart, N.Y., USA (Contributor Contributor 12 reports). Report 3866.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Florida Keys, Nassau, San Salvador, Walker's Key, Exumas, Turks & Caicos, Cozumel, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Rangiroa, Fakarava, Bora Bora, Dominica, Grenada
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 100 feet but not enforced and 60 min.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Cameras were rinsed by fresh water hose on dhoni( dive boat). No rinse tank and no real place for cameras other than on top of air compressor covered by tarp.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Excellent liveaboard. Biggest rooms I have seen on liveaboard with private bathroom. However, beds were hard as a rock( most people took pads off the deck lounges and put them under their 3 inch mattresses) and air-conditioning in the rooms was more like a fan. Food was wholesome but highly spiced with curry( you are in Asia). Alcohol was available even though this is a very traditional Moslem area, but you paid extra( 5 dollars a beer) and it was served by a Sri Lankan( non-Moslem). No safety or fire explaination for liveaboard, but the crew on the dhoni( dive boat) gave a complete safety speech for the diving and dive briefings were excellent. Each buddy team was given one ENOS rescue system and the dive boat had a GPS receiver. In fact we did not get introduced to the Captain until the third day which gave the impression that the cruise director-dive master was actually in-charge.Almost every dive is done as a drift dive and at the end of the dive you raise your safety sausage attached to a 15 foot rope during your safety stop as a signal for pick-up. Tanks are filled on the dhoni( dive boat) so you never are bothered by the compressor noise. Soft coal was very healthy. You could still see the effects of coral bleaching on the hard coral. Plentiful fish. Many small sharks and turtles. No whale sharks, but on two dives we saw many, many mantas at a cleaning station. Crew was very friendly and helpful, but they admitted they had seen only a few americans over the last three years. Normal customers are Europeans( German, French, Italian, English). No language problem and everything is in U.S. dollars or credit cards. Crew is not use to American tipping, so 2-5 dollars goes a long way.Transportation was provided by Emirates Airways from JFK to Dubai and from Dubai to Male. Stayed 1/2 day at the Hulhule Island Hotel near the Male airport while waiting pick-up by the Baani Explorer. Great hotel with pool, nice restaurant and internet access. Major surprise was that the safari boats( liveaboards) travel in packs ,so it is very rare that you are alone on a reef. I guess I just figured with all the dive sites there would be only one boat per reef, but that was not the case.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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