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Dive Review of Sub Aqua DiveCenter in
Maldives/Conrad Rangali Resort

Sub Aqua DiveCenter, Mar, 2011,

by Steve Giles, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports). Report 5973.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Thailand, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Palau, Fiji, St. Lucia, Bonaire, B.V.I., Roatan, Guanaha, Loreto, Cozumel, Mulije, Playa Del Carmen, Belize, Channel Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 90 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions A dive guide is assigned for every four divers. All dives are timed at 60 minutes max. Those with "Open Water" certifications are limited to 20 meters (60 ft.) / those with "Advanced" certifications are allowed to dive to 30 meters (100 FT.) All divers must have/use a computer.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Conrad Rangali Resort is not a dive resort per se, but a very upscale resort hotel for those willing to travel the distance. Our trip via Malaysia Airlines involved four flights to arrive at the destination: LAX to Taipei; Taipei to Kuala Lampur; Kaula Lampur to Male; and Male to Rangali (by seaplane). Total travel time (including layovers) = 48 hours.
The resort is beautiful and immaculately maintained. All rooms consist of villas, some located on the beach; others located over the water. All afford a great degree of privacy. Probably most convenient for divers are the beach villas numbered from 201-206. We were in number 203 which was located directly across from the dive center and close to the swimming pool, workout room, child care center, shops, several restaurants, and the snorkeling lagoon. There are a total of eight restaurants available to resort guests, all of which can be described in two words: "excellent" and "EXPENSIVE". The Conrad Rangali boasts one of only two underwater restaurants in the world: the Ithaa Restaurant, which is truly unique.
Something unusual about this resort: you don't need shoes! Other than the shoes/sandals that you wear while traveling, you will not need a pair of shoes while on the island. Thong sandals are furnished in the rooms and you will find that in most cases, shoes are an impediment to getting around. Even the exclusive Ithaa Restaurant requires that your footwear be removed at the door.

The dive operation is extremely well run. Nitrox is available to those so certified at no additional charge. The dive boats are spacious with a fully covered deck plus a sundeck. We are not U/W photographers, but there seemed to be adequate acommodation for photographers and their equipment: water buckets furnished for cameras and a platform available for loading film, etc. Lots to see underwater in the Maldives: whale sharks, manta rays, white tip, black tip and silver tip reef sharks, leopard sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays, a variety of moray eels, grouper, tuna, jacks, schools of reef fish, lion fish, stone fish, octopus, etc.
The people who run the dive center, the dive masters (Danny, Agnus, Jimmy, Julia, Mohammad, and Elder), and boat crew are very accommodating. On one occasion, we were late in signing up for a dive trip, the boat was full, and we were offered an early morning (unscheduled) trip to the same location.
Highlight of the trip, for us, was the sighting of two whale sharks: one while snorkling; and a second while diving.
Currents can be substantial in the Maldives, yet we had only one dive (out of 16) where it was an issue. Water temperatures ran 90-degrees at the surface; underwater the temperature varied between 84-88-degrees, depending on depth and location.
The Maldives Conrad Rangali is definately NOT for the diver on a budget; but if you are willing to pay the price and go the distance, it is truly the trip of a lifetime!
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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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