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Dive Review of World Wide Dive & Sail/Maldives Siren in
Maldives/Northern atolls

World Wide Dive & Sail/Maldives Siren, Sep, 2011,

by Jason Marks, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 6240.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Micronesia, Thailand, Fiji, Caribbean.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 83 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 4 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 100 feet, time usually unlimited
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The Siren has ample table space and charging stations in the salon. Rinse tanks on dive deck. Crew very helpful and careful with cameras.

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 N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments This northern itinerary covered a lot of water, from sites near Male all the way up to Hanimadhoo, and including the famed Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll. There were no mantas at Hanifaru when we were there. On this trip, we never found the squadrons of mantas that others have seen in the Maldives -- the most we encountered were 3 at one shallow site. Eagle rays came by at several sites, and we had a wonderful close encounter with them (one approached right up to my camera dome port) at a site in Noonu Atoll. We had groups of gray reef sharks on two sites, and a few white tips and nurse sharks elsewhere.

The condition of the reefs was disappointing: several sites had large areas of dead hardcorals and rubble, and only two or three of the 25 or so sites I dove were truly vibrant with coral and sponges. (I don't know if this results from bleaching or from other causes.) With the exception of one site in Haa Dhallu Atoll, there were very few colorful softcorals.

Fish life, however, was generally good, with more large snapper and grouper than I have seen on most Indo-Pacific reefs (less local fishing here?), lots of Oriental Sweetlips, and clouds of smaller tropicals on many dives. Jacks (including one large aggregation), tuna and barracuda also showed up at a few sites. The occasional turtle or octopus added to the variety.

The Maldives Siren (the same boat sails elsewhere at other times of the year) is a comfortable and attractive Pinisi-style yacht. The crew, some Maldivian and some from other Indian Ocean countries, is friendly, skilled and well organized. The food was excellent, with a wide choice of dishes -- surprisingly well made -- at most meals. Dive operations were professional and safe, and the free Nitrox allowed for extended dives on several sites. On this cruise, however, neither of the dive leaders had extensive experience in the Maldives, which may have contributed to the higher-than-normal number of dives on which the current was incorrectly predicted, sometimes leading to extreme difficulty getting to the pinnacle or corner that was the intended focus of the dive.

I would definitely dive with the Siren fleet again, though probably in an area where they have more experience. I doubt I would return to the northern Maldives, given the reef conditions we observed on this trip.

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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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