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Dive Review of Manthiri/Soneva Gili in
Maldives

Manthiri/Soneva Gili, Mar, 2004,

by Richard Troop, Ca, USA . Report 955.

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

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 80 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 40 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Maldive laws restrict diving to 100ft/30m. Not rigorously enforced. General 50 min limit.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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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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