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Dive Review of MV Orion in

MV Orion, Apr, 2013,

by Mary Marshall, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 7424.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We wish we had known that the diving would be primarily deep channel diving as opposed to pinnacle-top reef. The website says: "The Maldives ... provides rich marine life with coral reefs teaming with activity, visited by schools of fish...." This was our first time to the Maldives, and from the description and photos, we thought we would be getting approximately equal amounts of both types of diving: deep channel dives to look for big critters in the currents, and shallower dives to explore the abundant reef life. Though there were plenty of very beautiful "giri", pinnacle-top coral patches, and "thila", submerged pinnacle coral patches and nice walls, the majority of our dives were deep, quick descents to 80-90+ feet in channels where there were strong currents which often changed direction during the dive, and with low visibility. The goal on these was to see sharks and other big stuff, but we usually didn't see many. Many times we finned hard against current for a long time, only to have to turn around. On some dives we were sucked down by sudden down currents. Here are log excerpts from the last two dives of our charter - these are typical:
(1) "First 17 mins we were swimming against current on a dark, murky wall...exhausted, nothing to see, bad viz. Got a little better when we finally went up to the reef top."
(2)"FINALLY! Our last dive was the sort of reef top I wish we'd had more of the time! Lots of beautiful anemnones, eels, reef fish, schools."

The deep channel dives in strong current also made it very hard to take cameras along, so I mostly didn't on those dives. We were the only Americans among 23 divers, and we enjoyed getting to know the others. But, it was clear that the Europeans came for the sole purpose of doing deep channel dives to try to see big stuff. We like that too and have done that many times before, but we wouldn't have done this trip if we'd known that was the primary focus. There were so many beautiful reef areas that I'd have much rather spent my time exploring.

The crew was wonderful and did their best to make it a great trip for us. We particularly liked Alex as a dive guide. The meals were outstanding. To celebrate our anniversary, we were given several bottles of champagne and a beautiful cake, which we shared.

We found the dhoni dive boats that all the diving was done off of too crowded. It really felt like "cattle car" diving much of the time...very difficult to gear up without enough space.

I also had a big problem with the smoking that was allowed in certain areas. We thought the boat was supposed to be smoke-free. One passenger was a heavy smoker and always lit up right before a dive. More than once, I opened the door to exit onto the boarding area for the dhoni, and inhaled a lungful of smoke as he was smoking right outside the door. One dive guide also lit up pre-dive on the dhoni. Smoke makes my sinuses clog - not what you want while diving.

We had an amazing night dive near Alimatha Resort that was unlike any we've ever done. At shallow depth, kneeling in sand, we spent an hour watching Nurse sharks, giant Trevally, and stingrays circle and feed (the resort dumps scraps). Not a natural setting, but we've never seen so many rays so active at once.

The ship is beautiful, cabins large. My only complaint with the design is the spiral staircase which is difficult to ascend and descend, especially if carrying anything.

Websites MV Orion   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Multiple Caribbean locations, Fiji, Galapagos, multiple Hawaii locations, Socorro, Palau, Red Sea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-40 Ft/ 9-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions We had to stay with the group due to currents on the predominantly channel dives, but could be on our own on the shallower reef dives.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments On this large, beautifully-appointed ship, there was a hot tub and a massage room, but NO camera table and no rinse tank. The crew did their best to help us set up areas on the upper decks to set our camera gear in between dives.
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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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