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Dive Review of Manthiri in

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by David Shem-Tov, NA, UK
Sr. Contributor   (20 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 1633
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Truk, Thailand, Myanmar, French Polynesia, Red Sea, Turks &
Caicos, Los Roques, UK
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy  
calm, choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
29   to 30    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 30    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Maldives maximum depth is 30m, not enforced.  Dives limited to 50m.  
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
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Small dedicated camera rinse tank on separate dive dhoni was sometimes used
for other purposes.  Camera table and 220v+110v electrical hookups on
mother boat.  Staff handled cameras correctly.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
In five and a half diving days, divemaster Manik delivered two Whale shark
encounters, three amazing dancing manta ray shows, squadrons of dolphins
and eagle rays, even distant sightings of five hammerheads.  That was
great.  The cabins were spacious and clean.  There was always plenty of hot
or cold water.  We were invited to have our clothes cleaned (for free.) 
Service was generally good.  Mineral water and occasional juices were free.
  Sodas $2, beers $3, mediocre wine and spirits were also available.  
Nitrox, offered at $10 a fill, never appeared on our bills.  Air divers
were offered the choice of 12L or 15L bottles - to make for longer dive
times.  True, this wasn't the Ocean Rover, but I would say that everything
was consistant with the $1500 price tag - low by standards of liveaboards
targeting the US market.  Yet four of the ten passengers on the boat
declined the invitation to leave a tip and felt they needed to justify
their actions to others.  Why?

They had some gripes.  The 11 year-old wooden boat was showing its age,
with public areas "decorated like my grandma's living room,"
according to one passenger.  Air conditioning was fine in the cabins but
marginal in the salon.  The public areas of the boat were untidy with junk
strewn about everywhere and unsavoury ashtrays just outside the galley
where the staff huddled for regular smokes.  The food was sometimes good
but often repetitive:  fried chicken and fried fish on just every lunch and
dinner.  Snacks were poor:  unsavoury biscuits and little fruit.   Many of
us felt that lengthy 3-4 hour ocean crossings should have occurred at night
and not eat into our dive days.  In total only 18 dives were offered over
5.5 days, 2 on the first day, 4 on another, 3 each on the rest.  Divemaster
Manik, the only one on board for 10 divers, was sometimes vague about the
day's plans, though I think he needed the flexibility.  He often demanded
our presence in the hot salon while he drew the dive map for the next dive
site.  (His lengthy, repetitive briefings - often describing several
possible scenarios for the dive as dictated by emerging conditions - would
only be delivered after he finished drawing, 20 minutes or so later.)  He
clearly irked some divers when lecturing them on their profiles,
inattention to his briefings, or inability to descend quickly enough.  Yet,
to my mind, he was too tolerant of one particularly bad diver who would
constanstly and mercylessly grab on live coral to steady herself and
displayed a pathological need to stroke, lift and drop every aquatic
creature she encountered.  [She was bitten by a moray once.  Sadly she was
wearing gloves.]  Manik was also overly sensitive to some clients, whom he
felt may have slighted him.  Yet I couldn't help but like him.  He made
genuine efforts to please and delivered really good dives, often securing
great camera positions for me and accomodating my request to dive the
Maldive Victory Wreck.  

In summary, I was both pleased and disappointed.  The diving was very good,
although there could be more of it, the liveaboard just adequate.  I would
be willing to pay more for greater luxury and a more refined service.  The
Manthiri is reputed to be at the top of the local league with the exception
of the $800 a day Four Seasons Explorer which offers limited diving.  I
think there is room in the market for something inbetween - and targeted at

[I was very pleased to make the acquaintance on board of another
Undercurrent subscriber, Clayton N. Taylor, a true gentleman.  His good
humour greatly added to my enjoyment of the trip.  Liveaboard operators
everywhere would do well to extend Mr. Taylor free invitations for the
benefit of their paying guests.]
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