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Dive Review of Sea Spirit in
Maldives

Sea Spirit, Feb, 2003,

by Jerry Loveless, NV, USA . Report 410.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Carribbean, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Common sense - no deco diving - generally unlimited bottom times.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Sea Spirit and the accompanying dhoni have very little space dedicated to cameras. One small charging station in the Salon. For camera maintenance we used dining tables or did it in our cabin.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Singapore air flight from Las Vegas to Male via Hong Kong and Singapore , overnighted in Male in the Hulhule Hotel - very pleasant and convenient. The next morning we boarded Sea Spirit, a lovely boat with an eager all Maldivian crew - who, unfortunately, speak little English. The Dive guides, Erica and Jason, were from Australia.

The dive trip was slow getting started - we had to go back to the airport and after a long delay finally boarded the dhoni for the trip to the Sea Spirit. Only one dive the first day. The second day was similar - long transit and little diving. Not a good start. It got better after that, but with a maximum of three dives a day and an occasional (rare) night dive.

However, we really enjoyed the boat. Spacious cabins, comfortable beds, OK storage. The bathrooms worked, and the lounge was comfortable. A/C worked just okay; the cabins got hot at night so several people slept topside.

The food was a very nice surprise; the chef did a wonderful job giving us a varied menu.

All diving is done from dhonis which look like a rustic version of a Hong Kong water taxi. overed, with good shade, they have benches for (sometimes) long transits to the dive sites. All dive gear is kept on the dhoni & tanks are filled there. We felt that the dhoni was slow and clumsy and dangerous to board in rough seas. For diving we much prefer the faster and more maneuverable inflatables that most other liveaboards use.

The fish life throughout the Maldives was super abundant - lots and lots of fish of all sizes. Schools of Mantas, dozens of Eagle Rays, sharks (grey reefs & white tips), Napoleon wrasses, on down through the chain to the millions of little guys. By far the most fish life we've seen in a long time.

Unfortunately, the coral is still in very bad shape from el Nino, but starting to redevelop. Small hard coral developing and some larger soft corals. On a couple of dives the coral was really quite pretty. Generally, visibility was not great - 60 feet - but that's where you find the mantas, right? And we did! Its hard to explain the excitement of seeing a "herd" of 30-50 mantas hovering around like B-2 bombers. Very cool! Again and again we encountered these magnificent creatures along with eagle rays, lots and lots of sharks, turtles, Napoleon wrasses.

With such a nice boat, and tons of sea life, including the mantas, how could everything not be perfect? It almost was. The wet blanket on the trip were the "dive guides" or "cruise directors" or "videographers" (they devoted the vast amount of their time making an underwater video which they tried to sell to us at the end of the trip.) They really added little to the dive experience except to cast an atmosphere of gloom - Rarely smiling, or talking and frequently grouchy. Significant communication between these 'managers' and the divers was almost nonexistent. There was no introduction to the crew, no safety briefing, no discussion of our schedule - where we were going or what we might expect. Well into the trip we were told that there was a pamphlet in every cabin that explained it all. Not true. Even if it was, why is this very critical information being relegated to a pamphlet? We should be briefed at the very beginning of the trip with opportunity to ask questions.

We were told that wed be able to go ashore and visit one of the many resorts, but that never happened. We were told it wasnt convenient.

I'm not sure what the dive guides problems were - burnout maybe - they told us theyd been on the boat a very long time. Or maybe we're terribly spoiled having just come from Ocean Rover and her fabulous crew. We were expecting more, and it was disappointing to run into a couple of sour personalities. Its a shame because the owners have done a great job creating this beautiful boat - Sea Spirit is just too nice an operation to let a couple of disgruntled managers ruin it.

I don't want to give the impression that we didn't have a good time. We had great fun, and some very memorable experiences with Mantas - which were worth the whole trip - but the it could have been so much more enjoyable with a good divemasters.

In many years of diving I've never before made a complaint like this - sure there have been problems before but we were always able to talk it out. Here, there was no discussion. I felt uncomfortable asking for anything or making any recommendations because they showed so little grace and understanding. Never asking, "How are things?" or "What do you need?" or "Do you have any suggestions or questions?" They just werent open to anything like that. So we did our diving and had our fun. I hate to be a complainer but this was beyond anything I'm willing to ignore.

We liked the boat very much and the diving was great. We'd go back to Sea Spirit again tomorrow - assuming there'd been a change of managers.

Arrangements by: Reef and Rainforest 800-794-9767 www.reefrainforest.com Email: Jenny@reefrainforest.com
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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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