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Dive Review of Baani Explorer in

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Maguire, OH, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 4094
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Pacific, Sea of Cortez
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
surge, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No Decompression  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
On the dhonni the cameras were stored on top of tarps covering the air
compressors.  They were soft and cameras nestled in, but they were not
designed for this use.  I eventually began leaving my video housing on the
deck near my feet so it wouldn't fall off of anything if the boat rocked
too much.  There was one big rinse bucket on the main boat so for each dive
you had to carry your camera back and forth.  After others rinsed their
cameras I just left my housing in the bucket to soak between dives it
seemed safest there
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
It's hard to say that this wasn't a great trip, but many people on board
were unhappy about conditions.  The diving was great, but this was my first
trip to the Indian Ocean, so my opinion may be biased.  Large schools of
fish, millions of small blue triggerfish on virtually every dive.  We saw
sharks toward the end of the week, but not in the numbers I was led to
believe there would be.  There were a couple of large turtles that showed
no fear and let us as close as we pleased for pictures and video.  I saw
about a dozen free swimming octopi throughout the week.  There were large
morays on most dives.  Moorish idols, bannerfish, batfish and unicorn fish
were pretty regular sights.  Lionfish and scorpionfish were fairly common. 
We encountered many large napleon wrasse throughout the week.  On the last
day my buddy and I had a whale shark encounter, we were way behind the rest
of the group and she just swam right by us on a wall, I managed to roll
about four and a half minutes of video before she left.  Some of the dive
sites had very strong currents, I brought my own reef hook, but my friends
ignored my advice and came without them, luckily the boat has them to loan.
 Safety sausages are also a must, the dhonni will pick you up on the
surface when they spot your marker.  Each buddy team is also assigned a GPS
transmitter for an extra measure of safety.
The downside to the trip was the boat itself, There were a lot of problems
on board.  For me the worst part was the lack of air conditioning, some
cabins had more than others, and we had none.  The second night I just
began sleeping on deck in the cushy lounge chairs where the breezes kept me
perfectly comfortable.  Most of the guests also developed some stomach
trouble at some point in the week.  Some were worse than others, it ranged
from nausea to vomiting to diarrhea, some had it all and missed dives
because of it.  The boat manager explained that the problem was the water
in the big bottles on the water cooler, so they told us to only drink from
the small plastic bottles they had for us.  I had read reviews of similar
problems on this boat before I got on it, so I question whether the water
was really at fault.  The hot tub that they advertise on their web page is
reall just a salt water tub which never worked anyway.  The food was pretty
good, nothing outstanding, but I never went hungry.
The problems with the boat aside, the crew were outstanding and did
everything they could to make us happy while we were there.  The Maldivians
were friendly and polite and worked very hard to give us whatever we asked
for.  I heard them singing a local song one day and asked if I could shoot
some video of them singing a little bit... that night the entire crew came
out with a set of drums and did about 45 minutes of traditional Maldivian
music which was all rhythms and chanting and singing and dancing. I'm sure
that isn't on the normal list of activities for the week, but they were
very proud and happy to share their culture with us.
Overall I had a great trip, what the boat lacked in amenities it made up
for with service, and with a little creativity I managed to stay very
comfortable all week.  Considering the week cost under $1400, I have to say
that I probably got what I paid for.
My trip form Ohio was about 30 hours each way, connecting in New York and
Dubai.  We arrived on Sunday morning and did our checkout dive four hours
later after I had been up for almost 48 hours.  If I had it to do over
again I would have broken up the travel or at least arrived a day earlier
to adjust.
The beginning of May is the start of the rainy season and the first two
days were nothing but clouds and rain, but the rest of the week was bright
sun and heat.  
If you don't mind roughing it a little this boat can be a real adventure. 
If you're looking to be pampered in luxury I would probably go another way.
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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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