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Dive Review of Manthiri in

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Beth Bruton, CA, USA
Report Number 2434
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Indonesia (Sulawesi, Biak, Komodo), Malaysia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Fiji,
Andaman Sea, Red Sea, Galapagos, Cocos, Sea of Cortez, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 minute time limit. Depth limits suggested for each dive, but not
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Dedicated camera area on main boat could accommodate 4 photographers
comfortably, not more.  Good charging facilities.  On 2-3 dives out of 54
total (two cruises) dive guides pointed out small critters.  Wall dives not
designed for photographers--just swim  fast to cover a lot of territory. I
dropped back from group to photograph and frequently surfaced half a mile
or so from the others.  Dhoni crew rinses cameras when they come out of
water and again on dive boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
3 stars    
We booked two back-to-back 9-day cruises on Manthiri, starting April 2. 
Based on reports from friends and others, we expected an outstanding
experience.  We were disappointed, primarily in the diving.

 The crew is very good, very helpful when asked.  I prefer to remove my
bc/tank in the water, and they accommodated my request; however,  I was
told this was an extra service.  It is common practice on other boats.  The
dhoni crew washes the dive gear nightly. Dive master Manik repaired my high
pressure hose connection to pressure guage, which developed a small leak.
The cruise when Manik was in charge was much better managed than the second
one, when the owner's nephew (also a dive guide) was aboard and took over. 
Unfortunately, I understand Manik is leaving the boat after this season.

Staterooms were large enough with adequate storage.  The boat is showing
some age.  Cock roaches abound--I removed them from my camera housing
twice.  A/C in the staterooms has two settings--really cold or off.  We
generally turned it off or on 2-3 times each night. Smoking is permitted in
all outside areas.  The entire crew smokes, as did some guests.  Sitting
outside in the shade subjected you to constant second hand smoke.

Service was generally very good. Linens changed each three days, crew will
wash your clothes.  I liked having the first dive before breakfast. But
breakfast was on the table when the dhoni returned and by the time we
changed to dry clothes it was cold.   Most days 3 or 4 dives offered.  Dive
briefings very good, but if conditions changed at site, we were not always
advised.  Communication between crew and guests could improve, especially
as to time of next dive and on-site conditions.  

Our primary disappointment was condition of the reefs and dive sites.  Some
reefs have beautiful healthy hard coral growth; some of the walls excellent
colorful soft corals.  Other sites are mostly sand and rubble, and not from
the tsunami.  Dredging at Holiday Island in South Ari Atoll has silted up a
large area.  Because this is the area where whale sharks are sometimes
found, we had at least one day each trip here with poor diving (visibility
10-30 feet), and optional snorkeling for whale sharks.  When they issue
their whale shark count, it is snorkeling, not diving.  On one dive, the
dhoni went off looking for whale sharks before picking me up from the dive,
even though my husband was aboard and reminded them I was still in the
water.  I was left bobbing in moderate boat traffic for about half an hour.
 No apology was ever offered.

Some of the problems may be seasonal.  An outflowing current carries a lot
of silt and particulate matter from inside the atoll.  But most inflowing
currents were equally dirty--as if bringing the same matter back in.  It
was not plankton.

The only schooling fish we saw were fusiliers and blue-striped yellow
snappers, and glass fish in a couple of caves.  Occasional large tuna
zipped through a few sites, but no schools of jacks or large snapper.  Very
few large cod.  Our impression was the reefs suffer from over fishing and
over diving.  There are more than 200 live-aboards in the Maldives, plus
countless resorts with day boats.  Everyone dives the same sites.  Halfway
through a dive on Kudarah Tila, a lovely small pinnacle, seven boats dumped
more than 50 divers on top of us.  The site could accommodate 12-15 divers
at most.  The crew fished daily for our lunch and dinner.  On one day, the
captain and a guest caught 13 wahoo.  Protected dive sites is a myth.

Yes, you will see large napoleon wrasses at two sites and turtles and
octopi at one or two others.  We had one day with excellent manta ray
action.  I was far from the group as usual and had playful interaction with
two very large mantas all to myself for 20 minutes. I even had the wide
angle lens!  But mostly you will see small, colorful reef fish, with little
variation from one site to the next.  One 9-day cruise would have been

Privately, the dive guides admit the reefs are not what they were 3-5 years
ago.  Too many tourists.  But tourism is the lifeblood of the Maldivian
economy, and nobody seems to think anything can be done but to watch the
situation continue to deteriorate.  I hope they are wrong.
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Other dive reports on Manthiri

All Maldives Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Maldives
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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