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Dive Review of EXPLORER VENTURES Carpe Vita/Carpe Vita in
Maldives/male, Baa, Raa, Ari atolls

EXPLORER VENTURES Carpe Vita/Carpe Vita: "Great liveaboard diving in the Maldives", Nov, 2017,

by Graham McGregor, Kilmacolm, GB (Top Contributor Top Contributor 35 reports with 18 Helpful votes). Report 10032 has 3 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report


Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We are a group of 6 experienced divers who have been on several liveaboards including two previous Maldives trips. Carpe Vita is one of the best liveaboards we have been on. It is a large boat, with ample room for the 20 divers in 10 cabins. We had 15 divers on our trip and there was always room for personal space if needed. The cabins are really spacious for a liveabors with side by side beds in each cabin - generally a double and a single. The bathrooms are also spacious with toilet sink and separate shower. There was ample hot water. There is a large lounge where the the dive briefings took place. There was space outside on three decks where you could relax and sunbathe. There is a hot tub on one deck although I didn't use it.

All dining is on the rear of the upper deck and all guests are seated at one long table. We enjoyed that as it encouraged mixing with other guests. We had 4 Americans, an Australian, a Belgian and the rest from the UK. All were experienced divers and good company. The food was served buffet style. There was coffee and cereal available before the first dive. The first dive was followed by the full breakfast, eggs to order, beef sausages, beef bacon, beans etc; fruit.
Lunch was generally fish; rice; pasta; sauce; fruit and ice cream. Dinner was always soup; a choice of mains; rice; potatoes, veg and dessert. The food was ample and tasty although not the best I have had in terms of variety. Coffee, tea and soft drinks plus snacks were available all day. We had a "desert island" barbecue one evening which was nice and the crew had prepared whale shark and dolphin sand structures. A nice touch.

We arrived on Sunday morning and boat embarkation was not until 1415. There are options, other than hanging around the small airport. We chose to go to the nearby airport hotel. For $50 you get bag storage; a shower; use of the pool and you can eat in the hotel coffee shop or restaurant (at your own cost). There are other "packages" available.

As is typical of the Maldives all diving was done from the support dive boat (dhoni). This was the biggest dhoni I have ever seen and swallowed the 15 divers plus guides with ease. All equipment is set up on the dhoni at the start, there are individual cases for gear. There were separate rinse tanks for masks; for cameras; and for gear. You can rent 11, 13 or 15 litre (steel) tanks. Nitrox was available but cost $150 for the week which I think is not really right nowadays. However, this seems to be standard practice in the Maldives. There is also an $8 a night "green tax".

On boarding Carpe Vita there was the usual briefings; cabin allocation etc. You can pay $15 and get wifi for the week. I did this. The wifi was OK but for quite long periods on the journey it didn't work.

The crew were great. Towels and linen are changed mid week and the cabins were comfortable by liveaboard standards.

We were split into 3 groups for diving, with our group of 6 diving together. Our guide Ibbe was great showing us good stuff and getting to great locations on each dive. We chose Carpe Vita because it offers 4 dives a day (most Maldives liveaboard only offer three). We had a check dive on the Sunday we arrived which was good. We then had 4 dives a day on each of the next 4 days and 3 dives, including a night dive one day. On the Friday we had 3 dives including a night dive as the boat had to move between Ari and South Male atolls. we had 2 dives on the final Saturday. In total 22 dives in the week was good value for money compared with other Maldives liveaboards. We visited in the transition period between the wet and dry monsoons. Generally the weather was good but we had heavy showers, normally, during the night towards the end of our trip. In addition to the diving we spent the Friday morning cruising around the south tip of South Ari atoll searching for whale sharks. We were lucky and got to snorkel with 3 whalesharks. All were juveniles but still an impressive 7m long!

The dives were a typical Maldivian mixture of walls, channels and shallow and deeper pinnacles. We also dived two wrecks, so a good mix of diving. The currents were generally medium or slight. When we did get stronger currents were rewarded with great shark encounters (greys reef and Whitetip). We dived twice at Lankan, a manta cleaning station and saw multiple mantas up close on both dives. We saw turtles on several dives. We even saw a thresher shark on one dive which was a real bonus as they are quite rare in the Maldives. The best shark dives were a Fish Head and Himendhoo Thila where we hooked in and watched the show! Unfortunately there is a lot of evidence of coral bleaching and dead coral with a few signs that it is recovering. Reef fish life is colourful and abundant.

Critter fans were also rewarded with ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp etc. The visibility was OK ranging from 10 to 30m

The best liveaboard I've been on to the Maldives. I would strongly recommend Carpe Vita

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Galapagos; Palau; Sipadan; Truk; Malapascua; Komodo; Ticao Island; Maldives; Red Sea; Caribbean; Cuba; Hawaii; Florida; Cozumel; Spain, Seychelles, Mauritius, Oman
Closest Airport Male Getting There Straightforward flights from UK visa Dubai

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 25-29°C / 77-84°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-30 M / 33-98 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dives guided with 30m maximum depth limit
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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]
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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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