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Dive Review of Macana Maldives in
Maldives/Ari Atoll (N&S) / Male' Atoll

Macana Maldives: "Maldives Aboard the Princess Handy", Sep, 2017,

by David Gere, WA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9847 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I think of this as my Charles Dickens dive trip. I had some of the best dives of my life and one or two near the worst. First off, the ones that weren't good were absolutely not fault of the boat, crew, dive operator or dive masters. They simply were tough conditions taking any fun out of the dives and turning them into pointless physical exercises. Strong currents and low visibility were the norm.

The crew did an excellent job and the dive masters were outstanding. The boat was clean and comfortable. Itís large (36m long, with a beam of 10.5m). Locally made of wood, it twisted and creaked in the waves and swells. With a shallow draft for navigating around the atolls, itís not particularly comfortable in heavier seas. Our group had planned to go to Hanifaru Bay, however the sea conditions didnít allow an open water crossing that long.

The dive operation is staffed by Italians, and like all Italians, food is a very big part of their life. Accordingly, the food was excellent, done with an Italian flair. All meals were served family-style, at a large table aft of the main cabin. I will say that fish as an entree grew a little tiresome by the end of the trip, as it was the staple for most meals. But in a country with fishing as its main industry, combined with the logistical problems of transporting and refrigerating other meats, along with the various dietary limitations of many of the nearby cultures and countries, itís hardly surprising that fish was regular fare.

The dives were filled with the myriad of reef fish that you would expect in the Maldives, along with a bunch of pelagics. Mantas, sharks (mostly white-tip reef) and tuna were frequent. Unfortunately, no whale sharks this trip. Maybe the next one. A manta cleaning station in South Ari Atoll yielded some amazing encounters with these beautiful animals.

Visibility was pretty poor, with a low of 6m - 8m to a maximum of maybe 15m. Since much of my local diving is in the cold waters of Puget Sound, where visibility is often no more than 3m, it was not an issue for me, other than limiting how much of the incredible reefs and marine life we could see. So, in that respect, it was somewhat disappointing. According to the dive staff, the low visibility was primarily the result of heavy rains and storms for the week or two preceding our trip.

All diving was from a roomy dhoni (dive tender), where the scuba equipment stayed throughout the trip. Nitrox was available, and supplied from O2 bottles in the dhoni. As it was manually made up in each tank for every dive, it tended to vary quite a bit. EAN ranged in my tank ranged from 26% to 38%. All tanks were steel 3000 psi/200 bar, 15 liter tanks, equivalent to steel 100s at home. Most were equipped with dual valves, and both yoke and DIN fittings. Most days we did 3 dives.

Diving was done in groups of 4 or 5 divers with a dive master. The entire group stayed together throughout the dive. This is fairly challenging open-ocean diving with strong currents and itís important that no one gets separated from the group. Entries were negative, with the group assembling at about 10m and descending to the reefs together. Assents were similar, all ascending at once, and holding at the safety stop until all divers had cleared. At the safety stop, the divemaster would send up a surface marker buoy to alert the dhoni to our location for pickup.
Websites Macana Maldives   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Multiple Caribbean, Socorro, Maldives, USA - both tropical and cold water (Pacific NW), Hawaii
Closest Airport Male' Getting There Frequent flights in/out of Male'

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-45 Ft/ 3-14 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions see narrative above
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Good boat arrangements for photographers. Crew was careful in handling expensive setups. Diving conditions (currents) made using large cameras difficult and poor vis limited wide angle opportunities.
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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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