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Dive Review of Manthiri/Soneva Gili in

March, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Richard Troop, Ca, USA
Report Number 955
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Wakatobi, Indonesia, Fiji, Palau, Barrier Reef, Cocos, Thailand, Hawaii,
Cozumel, Little Cayman, Belize, Malibu
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Maldive laws restrict diving to 100ft/30m. Not rigorously enforced. General
50 min limit.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
There was a table for cameras and equipment, well lit. The crew fully
understood camera gear; well handled. Separate rinse tank. Most divers were
using digital gear; wish I had.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
We signed up for a 5-night dive trip aboard the Manthiri, followed by 5
nights at Soneva Gili, rated the number 1 hotel in the world. The Manthiri
is well-appointed, with only 6 rooms. We booked one of the two queen-size
bed cabins. Very comfortable and spacious. Manthiri uses a dhoni for all
dives, which frees up lots of additional space on board for r&r. Not as
luxurious as the Sun Dancer, nicer than the Okeanos Agressor and on a par
with the Palau Agressor. Service outstanding, although with a crew of
locals, it was sometimes hard to understand what they were saying. Malik
set up a course S Male', Felidu, Ari, N. Male'. 17 dives in 5 days. 15 of
the 17 were electric drift dives through channels and around bommies with
large and diverse quantities of fish, incl white tips, greys, black tips,
Napolean Wrasses (every dive), large schools of trevally, jacks, barracuda,
blue/yellow snapper, lots of smaller tropicals. No real hard coral, but
some very nice soft coral. Few little things (we were going too fast).
Spent one afternoon hunting whale sharks, found and swam with two. Three
manta dives, one with maybe 35 or so mantas doing dances at the cleaning
stations and over our heads. Wow. Our friends had less than 10 dives; Malik
took them under his wing, and they did great. Nitrox in steel 80s; air in
Al 100s (I think). Nitrox is a must due to repetitive deep dives. 

Lots of food, generally filling. Wine, beer and hard spirits available. No
interaction with the natives. But great diving.

We then went to Soneva Gili. It IS one of the best resorts we have ever
stayed at. Very expensive, very luxurious. The basic room is a separate
2,200 sq ft over-the-water villa. Food a 5. Service a 6. Romance a 7. We
did one dive. Each day they do a one-tank morning and a one-tank afternoon
dive. Steel 80s with short fills. Stricter re depths and times. Bad o-ring
on my tank. Nice soft coral dive, good vis but not exciting or long enough
to waste the rest of the day doing a second dive. Instead, we had a great
lunch and went back to the upper sundeck at our villa (each villa has both
an on-water and a 3rd floor sundeck) for some more r&r. 

We thought that the diving from the Manthiri was right at the top of the
list as far as quantity and diversity of sea life. Sort of reminds us of
Palau before El Nino and the raping of their reefs. Too bad about the
coral. Wakatobi is still the best in that category.

But I expect that we will come back and do a longer stay on the Manthiri in
the next year or two.
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