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Dive Review of Maldives Liveaboards/Baani Explorer in
Maldives/North & South Atolls

Maldives Liveaboards/Baani Explorer, Jan, 2008,

by Brian Verbonac, Ontario, Canada (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 3873.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
We had read a lot of reports on the Baani Explorer prior to making arrangements for our trip and we were expecting exceptionally good service and diving after traveling nearly half way around the world…but…this was not to be..

There were a few aspects of the trip that turned out to be satisfactory…All fills were at or above 3000 PSI, we had one of the two larger suites that had a lot of room…AC worked OK…but beds were harder than plywood and very uncomfortable. Room was cleaned daily, sheets changed once and towels replaced when requested. Food was tasty even though a bit repetitious. The staff including the Dive Masters, cooks, waiters, dhoni helpers, cleaners et all went out of their way to be helpful and assisted in any way they could….a very good job. We had an open bar one evening for a couple of hours.

This part of the report will constitute the bulk of the reporting…we had more problems on this trip than all of our previous liveaboard experiences…it may seem lengthy and nit-picking but to experience this trip was not all eat, sleep, dive and fun. One problem fed off another. There was a decided lack of information sharing between Baani management and paying customers….surprises, and not good surprises, were the norm.

We booked about a year in advance to be able to secure spots on the two week safari that offered diving at remote Atolls away from Male with no return to Male during the trip. Well what a shock to find that on the morning of Friday of the first week….we’re back in Male…we got two one week trips back to back….not the promised two week trip. This was after getting a summary from Hussen [cruise director] on Thursday evening explaining that we were headed for the remote area on Friday…no logical explanation provided as to why we ended up back in Male !!

All diving is done from the dhoni- no camera table available, no charge station or rinse tanks on dhoni for cameras or equipment. The mother ship [Baani Explorer] was the same….no facilities for photographers…one large rinse tank at back of boat that was used for washing out wet suits, fins, masks.

We had maintenance problems with the compressor on the dhoni that necessitated trips by the dhoni to Male to secure repairs…dhoni went to Male once and repairs not completed.. Went a second time and on return trip to the Baani…the dhoni ran aground…partially sunk and most divers lost equipment. During the down time…we missed five dives each but were promised that additional dives would be scheduled during the second week to make up for the missed dives…this never happened. Not only did we miss dives but there was no attempt what-so-ever by either Hussen or Gundi [ owner-also on board during trip] to acknowledge or attempt to rectify the problem of missed dives or change of itinerary…as a matter of fact…there was heated debate with Hussen after he tried to convince people that no dives were missed and Baani was following prescribed routing…the memorable statement was…”we didn’t go into Male at the end of the first week-we went by Male”…UNBELIEVABLE!!

With the sinking of the dhoni and lost equipment, Gundi offered to pay for lost items… when we explained what was missing…a neoprene vest[$80], two masks[$125] and some anti-fog for the masks[$20]…we were questioned and requested to provide a revised quote on the vest that would represent a depreciated value, questioned on the difference in the exchange rate between Canadian and US dollars and asked if the two anti-fog bottles were full…the actual statement went something like…”well, those anti-fog were not full now….were they!!”….we were totally floored by the questions in light of the fact that, according to Hussen, Gundi had insurance on all of this….imagine…trying to make money on accidents. There was a decided lack of ethics shown during this discussion.

Of sixteen people, outside of the crew, on board…during the two week period, nine were sick!!! They all suffered some or part of symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, headache and upset stomach. This was too high of a percentage to be a coincidence!! The dhoni tied up to the side of the Baani that exhausted the fumes from the generator…a quick Google search identifies this layout as an extremely dangerous configuration for carbon monoxide gasses. Several evenings we had to leave the rear of the boat sitting area…you could see and smell the exhaust rising from the back of the boat. A CO2 detector is missing from the Baani.

The websites shows pictures and describes the Jacuzzi on the front deck. We found the reality to be that it was a saltwater Jacuzzi with no heat. It had water in it for one day only.

An email was sent to Baani management in Austria outlining all of our concerns with excerpts from their website detailing the two week trip, number of dives, location of route, no return to Male etc etc. Gundi sent me an email offering compensation of $25.[total amount] Even this princly sum, which is nothing more than an insult, has never been sent to us.

On the boat, Hussen advised everyone not too worry because insurance would cover everything but in Gundi’s email, she states she had no insurance. Who to believe?? Someone lied!

To sum up….a difficult situation is a test of character and an opportunity to exhibit moral ethics. The Baani management failed the test. While looking after mitigating their own losses, they cut corners when it came to their paying guests. Would we go back to the Maldives? Probably. Would we go on a safari from Maldive Liveaboards on any of their four boats? NOT ON YOUR LIFE Not even if it was a free trip Give this operator the widest possible berth and spend your money anywhere else !!! Avoid at any cost !!

Brian Verbonac….

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Red Sea, Micronesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Supposed to be 100' but dive guides led us deeper...could dive your own profile if you wished
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Part of main dive report...
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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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