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Dive Review of Maldives Liveaboards/Baani Explorer in
Maldives/North & South Atolls

January, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Brian Verbonac, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 3873
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean,Red Sea,Micronesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Supposed to be 100' but dive guides led us deeper...could dive your own
profile if you wished  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Part of main dive report...
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
We had read a lot of reports on the Baani Explorer prior to making
arrangements for our trip and we were expecting exceptionally good service
and diving after traveling nearly half way around the worldbutthis was
not to be..

There were a few aspects of the trip that turned out to be satisfactoryAll
fills were at or above 3000 PSI, we had one of the two larger suites that
had a lot of roomAC worked OKbut beds were harder than plywood and very
uncomfortable. Room was cleaned daily, sheets changed once and towels
replaced when requested. Food was tasty even though a bit repetitious.  The
staff including the Dive Masters, cooks, waiters, dhoni helpers, cleaners
et all went out of their way to be helpful and assisted in any way they
could.a very good job. We had an open bar one evening for a couple of

This part of the report will constitute the bulk of the reportingwe had
more problems on this trip than all of our previous liveaboard
experiencesit may seem lengthy and nit-picking but to experience this trip
was not all eat, sleep, dive and fun.  One problem fed off another. There
was a decided lack of information sharing between Baani management and
paying customers.surprises, and not good surprises, were the norm.

We booked about a year in advance to be able to secure spots on the two
week safari that offered diving at remote Atolls away from Male with no
return to Male during the trip. Well what a shock to find that on the
morning of Friday of the first week.were back in Malewe got two one week
trips back to back.not the promised two week trip. This was after getting
a summary from Hussen [cruise director] on Thursday evening explaining that
we were headed for the remote area on Fridayno logical explanation
provided as to why we ended up back in Male !!

All diving is done from the dhoni- no camera table available, no charge
station or rinse tanks on dhoni for cameras or equipment. The mother ship
[Baani Explorer] was the facilities for photographersone large
rinse tank at back of boat that was used for washing out wet suits, fins,

We had maintenance problems with the compressor on the dhoni that
necessitated trips by the dhoni to Male to secure repairsdhoni went to
Male once and repairs not completed.. Went a second time and on return trip
to the Baanithe dhoni ran agroundpartially sunk and most divers lost
equipment. During the down timewe missed five dives each but were promised
that additional dives would be scheduled during the second week to make up
for the missed divesthis never happened. Not only did we miss dives but
there was no attempt what-so-ever by either Hussen or Gundi [ owner-also on
board during trip] to acknowledge or attempt to rectify the problem of
missed dives or change of itineraryas a matter of factthere was heated
debate with Hussen after he tried to convince people that no dives were
missed and Baani was following prescribed routingthe memorable statement
waswe didnt go into Male at the end of the first week-we went by

With the sinking of the dhoni and lost equipment, Gundi offered to pay for
lost items when we explained what was missinga neoprene vest[$80], two
masks[$125] and some anti-fog for the masks[$20]we were questioned and
requested to provide a revised quote on the vest that would represent a
depreciated value, questioned on the difference in the exchange rate
between Canadian and US dollars and asked if the two anti-fog bottles were
fullthe actual statement went something likewell, those anti-fog were
not full now.were they!!.we were totally floored by the questions in
light of the fact that, according to Hussen, Gundi had insurance on all of
this.imaginetrying to make money on accidents. There was a decided lack
of ethics shown during this discussion.

Of sixteen people, outside of the crew, on boardduring the two week
period, nine were sick!!! They all suffered some or part of symptoms
including nausea, diarrhea, headache and upset stomach. This was too high
of a percentage to be a coincidence!! The dhoni tied up to the side of the
Baani that exhausted the fumes from the generatora quick Google search
identifies this layout as an extremely dangerous configuration for carbon
monoxide gasses. Several evenings we had to leave the rear of the boat
sitting areayou could see and smell the exhaust rising from the back of
the boat. A  CO2 detector is missing from  the Baani.

The websites shows pictures and describes the Jacuzzi on the front deck. We
found the reality to be that it was a saltwater Jacuzzi with no heat. It
had water in it for one day only.

An email was sent to Baani management in Austria outlining all of our
concerns with excerpts from their website detailing the two week trip,
number of dives, location of route, no return to Male etc etc.  Gundi sent
me an email offering compensation of $25.[total amount] Even this princly
sum, which is nothing more than an insult, has never been sent to us.

 On the boat, Hussen advised everyone not too worry because insurance would
cover everything but in Gundis email, she states she had no insurance. Who
to believe?? Someone lied!

To sum up.a difficult situation is a test of character and an opportunity
to exhibit moral ethics. The Baani management failed the test. While
looking after mitigating their own losses, they cut  corners when it came
to their paying guests. Would we go back to the Maldives? Probably. Would
we go on a safari from Maldive Liveaboards on any of their four boats?  
NOT ON YOUR LIFE  Not even if it was a free trip  Give this operator the
widest possible berth and spend your money anywhere else !!! Avoid at any
cost !!

Brian Verbonac. 
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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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