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Dive Review of Ellaidhoo Dive Dhop/Chaaya Ellaidhoo Resort in
Maldives/Ellaidhoo Resort, North Ari

Ellaidhoo Dive Dhop/Chaaya Ellaidhoo Resort, Jan, 2013,

by Philip johnston, Bayswater, AU (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6873.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Good:
- very good house reef. I only snorkelled the house reef but was impressed by the amount of eagle rays seen on each occasion (up to 5 at one time), some reasonable big fish life including a largish school of humpback snapper & numerous sweetlips, moray eels, several sorts of surgeonfish & tangs, some reasonable small tropicals, a good sized & friendly turtle, an octopus & some good (by Maldives standards) hard table corals. Other guests I spoke to reported seeing good shark life & occasional Manta action on the house reef.
- 2 good boat dive sites: Bathala Maaga Khan Thila, which produced a large manta & 3-4 whitetip sharks & 3-4 largish grey reef sharks, & another dive site called Dhigu Thila, notable for large areas of pinkish-white soft coral under a very long overhang, with a large school of resident lined snapper, other divers saw sharks & 2 manta at this latter site, I didnít see these. Very strong current at this latter site.
- turtles regularly encountered & approached divers much closer than anywhere else Iíve been
- free Nitrox (although this seems to be pretty standard these days)
- Accomodation & food pretty good, buffet for breakfast & dinner, the curries were pretty good if you like spicy food, soft drinks & alcohol charged separately to meals package. Donít know what lunch was like as this wasnít part of my accommodation package & the buffet breakfast kept me full until dinner. My room was very clean & all appliances (TV, air conditioner, hot water) were all in working order.
The not so good:
- the other boat dive sites I did (Orimas Faru, Hohola Thila, Medu Thila & Himandhoo) were only average & I thought were actually inferior to the resort house reef. A poster at the dive shop resort advertised frog fish at Hohola but when I actually got there the divemaster stated they hadnít been seen for some time Ė they need to take that poster down at the dive shop. Admittedly, I didnít get to go to North Ariís 2 premier dive sites Maaya Thila (not enough divers signed up for that trip Ė minimum 4 divers required per boat trip) or Fish Head (not scheduled during my 3 ½ days at the resort) Ė I probably would have rated the diving much higher had I done either or both of those sites, other guests commented to me how good those sites were, particularly Maaya Thila as a night dive.
- hard & soft corals either non-existent or only fair
- apart from an occasional common nudibranch, very little small critter life
- Big currents occasionally experienced Ė safety sausage & reef hooks are mandatory anywhere in the Maldives
- Vis OK but not fantastic
- Overall, I wouldnít rate diving in the Maldives (including North Ari) anywhere near as good as Walindi in PNG, Raja Ampat or Komodo in Indonesia, eastern Fiji or Cocos Island
- all boat diving was by Dhoni (Maldivian traditional small boat). While the Dhoni added some local flavour it got very rolly in any sort of chop or swell, divers were asked to keep weight belts on whilst re-entering the Dhoni (due to the number they said had been dropped back into the water), this made climbing back up the ladder (which was centred amidships & not at the stern) into the Dhoni somewhat challenging, particularly in any sort or chop/swell. The Dhoni isnít really the ideal design for a diving boat.
- Dhoni crew & dive staff were very efficient & safety conscious, which is understandable given the difficult diving conditions sometimes experienced. They did however tend to treat all divers as novices. The dive master was aware of my level of experience (1000+ dives), but at one stage felt the need to grab my wrist to check my dive computer Ė Iíve no idea why he needed to do this as weíd only just commenced the dive & were relatively shallow, I found this action annoying. At Dhigu Thila another dive master whacked me on the leg because he thought I was putting my reef hook into a patch of soft coral (I most definitely was not!). I thought the dive staff could have adopted a more relaxed approach whilst maintaining high safety standards.

The bad:
- no fresh water rinse bucket for cameras on the Dhoni. There were 2 hand held fresh water showers on the very small bow deck that could have been used for rinsing cameras, as noted above the Dhoni wasnít the most stable of boats so using these to wash cameras (particularly the larger, heaver units) was problematic in rough weather. The dive boats & dive shop facilities were no where near as well set up for underwater photographers as other dive resorts Iíve visited.
- the worst aspect : my accommodation & transfer package specified boat transfers from Male to Ellaidhoo & return, & the transfer to the resort from Male airport was in fact by speedboat. I therefore assumed the return trip would also be by boat, & dived 3 times on my last full day at Ellaidhoo (my flight from Male not departing until late in the next afternoon, giving me a full 24 hours degassing time). On the day of my departure I found to my concern that my return transfer to Male was in fact via unpressurised sea plane, leaving at 9:30 am. I had no idea this would occur, & should have been advised by the resort that my transfer back to Male may have been by plane, so I could have planned a safer dive program on my last day.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 27-30°C / 81-86°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 15-18 M / 49-59 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions No deco diving, return with min 50 bar, NO gloves
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments See comments below
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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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