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Dive Review of Baani Adventurer in
Maldives

Baani Adventurer, Aug, 2006,

by David Vickery & Suzanne Leeson, NJ, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2937 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Australia, Palau, PNG, Yap, Hawaii, Caribbean & Central America.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The boat was short one DM, and was the group to stay together on current dives, and to surface with 500 psi. Depth, time, and psi were logged after each dive, but no one was criticized for violating the rules
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments No rinse tanks on either the dive dhoni or the mother ship for cameras or any other gear. We had to use the fresh water showers to rinse cameras, computers, etc. No E-6 on board. (do people still shoot film?)There is a plasma TV you can connect your own laptop to and display digital pix. Only power is 240 volt. so bring your own transformers. Power strips are available.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments As my Great Books of the 20th Century professor used to say, "You pays your money and you takes your chances." Rates are cheaper in the low season, and at $1,136 each for a suite, less than half what you'd pay on the Peter Hughes boat. The Maldives in the low season is apt to be a trifle rainy. We only lost one dive due to weather. The week started out OK, turned cloudy, then rainy, then sunny, and finished brilliant.
There are, however, only three dives a day on the Baani fleet, so if you're a hard-core 4-5 dives a day person, you may wish to look elsewhere.
The Baani Adventurer is a four-deck monohull, 100 feet long with a 28-foot beam. Bottom deck is the engine room and engineering, the top deck is an exposed sun area with two chaises, although you could conceivably heave a few more up from the lounge area below. Unless you have skin like a rattlesnake, it's not worth it. When the sun is out in the Maldives, you can burn in 15 minutes. The main deck houses the salon/dining/bar area, a few cabins, and the al fresco dining tables that also serve as the briefing area. The upper deck accommodates the two suites, the bridge, and a partially covered lounge area with about 8 chaises.
Like all Maldivian dive boats, diving is from a dhoni that carries all the gear, the compressor, a selection of aluminum 80's and a few 62's. Tanks have DIN valves, but most were outfitted with adaptors for yoke rigs. No Nitrox is available. Fills were always at 3,000 psi.
First dive was a 6:45. Then breakfast of fruit, pancakes, toast, eggs to order, or cereal. Oh, and tuna mixed with onions and eggs or another left over. Second dive was at 10:30. Lunch was the big meal of the day with burgers, colds cuts, basic salads, pastas, curries or other Asian dishes. And tuna. Ice cream was served at each lunch. Dinner might be fish, another Asian dish, potatoes or rice, a well-done steak, fruit or cake for dessert, and, you guessed, it, tuna. We would make any lengthy crossings during the lunch break, with a third dive at 3:00. There were no nighttime crossings.
The group of six Germans, four Americans and two French got along well, and were all pretty much on the same skill level. We thought the best place to sit was on the bench on the forward main deck. You could see everything and the breeze was better than the A/C in the cabins, which never went below 78 degrees. Once the A/C failed but was repaired during the next dive.
The first day we didn't get the whole group together until noon before departing Male. There was a check out dive in the afternoon in "medium" current. Three large turtles, titan triggers, honeycomb and black cheek morays. The next day we started at Lankan Beyru where we crawled hand over hand over the reef (no gloves allowed) to a rocky rise where we clung (bring your own reef hooks) waiting for the mantas. Two showed up; one stayed for about a minute. Later that day we dove Kuda Haq, twin bommies requiring a max depth of only 82 feet. It would be easier to say what we didn't see than what we did. Indian Ocean species galore, in great quantities, including some rarities such as long nose hawkfish and phantom bannerfish. Only a few white tips on this dive. The first day next day was at Makaru Thila which is Male Atoll's Blue Corner. Descending into a current, clinging to the reef. Large gray reef sharks, dozens of white tips, Napoleon wrasse, hordes of unicorns.
The week went like that. Even experienced divers hit the fish books after each dive trying to list all we had seen. One bummer was the 'whale shark' dive at Mamagili Beyru was a bust, and if the big guy doesn't show, there's nothing else to see. There appears to be little use of GPS. Divemaster Husen Abd stood in the bow and looked for the reef. When we arrived at Kuderah Thili there was one other boat. Once the other liveaboards knew we found the reef they clustered around. Eventually there were six dhonis on the reef, each with 12 to 16 divers in a 3-knot current trying to hang on and wait for the sharks.
The atolls themselves are beautiful and well worth the odd shore excursion. The staff on the boat was friendly, helpful, and attentive. By sunset the third night, the barman handed me a well-made G&T without my asking. We would return. We'd like to try the Peter Hughes boat in the high season, but sailing on the Baani Adventurer allowed us to save money the first week and blow it all on an expensive land based resort the second week, and in the Maldives the resorts are spectacular.

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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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