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Dive Review of Sea Spirit in

February, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Jerry Loveless, NV, USA
Report Number 410
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Carribbean, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

surge, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Common sense - no deco diving - generally unlimited bottom times.    
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
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

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

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

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

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

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
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