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Dive Review of Maldives Dive Adventures/Eagle Ray in

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by William Ungerman, CA, United States
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 3992
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean and Pacific
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, surge, currents  
Water Temp
83   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Safety stops  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Adequate but not specifically targeted
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
Getting to the Maldives from the United States is an endurance test.  LAX
to Taipai, Taiwan (14 hours).  Taipai to Kuala Lumpur (4 hours). 
Eight-hour layover and then 4 hours to Male, Maldives, straddling the
equator in the Indian Ocean.  Overnight in Male and then transported via
launch to the Eagle Ray.  Fortunately, Malaysia Airlines booked us a room
for the layover in KL.  On the way back, the travel ante was upped via a
leg to Sri Lanka.  No worries.  It was all worth it.

From the minute we stepped aboard the 100-foot length "motor
yacht" Eagle Ray until the day and hour we exited, the service was
impeccable, in fact unsurpassed.  We have been on thirteen previous
liveaboards and this one beats them all.  The crew was absolutely fabulous,
attentive but never obstreperous or overbearing.  They seemed to intuit
every need.  The head divemaster is Achmed Manik (although he prefers to be
called only "Manik.").  He is a legend in the Maldives diving
community.  You can see his underwater photograph in Michael Friedel's
Maldives: The Very Best Of Michael Friedel.  Manik was a true wonder. 
Attentive, caring and absolutely dedicated to his job.  Not just a job for
him, but an adventure.  Each dive was like the pursuit of the Holy Grail. 
He marveled at every event on the reefs and walls.  His enthusiasm was
genuine and contagious, not that enthusiasm needed to be encouraged.  There
was plenty of stimulus.

Marine life was in clouds.  Pelagics of all types.  Schools of Dolphins
underwater, a Scalloped Hammerhead and Mantas.  Some divers saw many.  My
family saw three.  Napolean Wrasse were like dogs.  Eels were so plentiful
they ceased to be a commodity.  Giant, Green Zebra, Spotted Morays; they
were all present.  Mating octopus too.  The dive profiles are relatively
severe:  deep and long with curents on most dives.  Some currents were
intense (to say the least).  Diving is divided amng pinnacles, reefs, inner
and outer walls of the atols that dot the azure waters.  We were on the
nine night/ten day itinerary which brought us to many fabled sites.

The food onboard was seafood-heavy as might be expected but there was a
sufficient variety to keep everybody happy.  The dive guests included my
wife and daughter and two friends from the US, a father/son combo from
Australia, and four bon vivants from Holland.  A more compatible group I
have never experienced.  Great people one and all.  

In last year's Chapbbok some lost soul whined and complained about the
Eagle Ray and crew.  I don't know what boat or what "trip" (maybe
I do) he was on but it certainly was not the one we experienced. 
"Abdullah" (the guy we booked the trip with directly) was so
helpful it was unbelievable.  We did a tour of Male which included an entry
into the Grand Mosque for a peek.  Had to wear a coverup on the legs and
the woman their bodies but it was interesting.  The Maldives is a
"liberal" Muslim country, i.e., the woman can elect to wear a
burka or not.  Some do and some don't without penalty.

After the Whaleshark foray, the crew transported us to a beautiful Robinson
Crusoe island for a night-time beach BBQ and there sand-sculpted a
mini-whaleshark.  Marvelous!

The cabins were the largest and best I've ever seen: spacious, A/C, wood
and teak, queen beds in the two-party cabins.  The salon was elegant.  All
diving is off a "dhoni," a large tender that follows the mother
boat around.  It's like diving off a big boat.  

The diving was outstanding.  We made all twenty-four dives offered.  There
was only one night dive and the average was three dives per day but at the
level of intensity, depths, and currents encountered, that's about all you
could do.  No one complained.  As Al Hornsby, the editor of the now-defunct
Skin Diver magazine, told us while on Sipadan in 2001, the Maldives is the
place that has it all and represents the best compromise for those wishig
to see it all: corals, fish life, big animals, macro stuff.  Everything. 
For me, there was no compromise involved.  This may all sound like hype but
believe me, it's all true.  This was quite a trip and a beautiful
underwater adventure.  We're going back.
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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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