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Dive Review of Manthiri in

Manthiri, Apr, 2006,

by David Shem-Tov, NA, UK (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 21 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 1633.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments In five and a half diving days, divemaster Manik delivered two Whale shark encounters, three amazing dancing manta ray shows, squadrons of dolphins and eagle rays, even distant sightings of five hammerheads. That was great. The cabins were spacious and clean. There was always plenty of hot or cold water. We were invited to have our clothes cleaned (for free.) Service was generally good. Mineral water and occasional juices were free. Sodas $2, beers $3, mediocre wine and spirits were also available. Nitrox, offered at $10 a fill, never appeared on our bills. Air divers were offered the choice of 12L or 15L bottles - to make for longer dive times. True, this wasn't the Ocean Rover, but I would say that everything was consistant with the $1500 price tag - low by standards of liveaboards targeting the US market. Yet four of the ten passengers on the boat declined the invitation to leave a tip and felt they needed to justify their actions to others. Why?

They had some gripes. The 11 year-old wooden boat was showing its age, with public areas "decorated like my grandma's living room," according to one passenger. Air conditioning was fine in the cabins but marginal in the salon. The public areas of the boat were untidy with junk strewn about everywhere and unsavoury ashtrays just outside the galley where the staff huddled for regular smokes. The food was sometimes good but often repetitive: fried chicken and fried fish on just every lunch and dinner. Snacks were poor: unsavoury biscuits and little fruit. Many of us felt that lengthy 3-4 hour ocean crossings should have occurred at night and not eat into our dive days. In total only 18 dives were offered over 5.5 days, 2 on the first day, 4 on another, 3 each on the rest. Divemaster Manik, the only one on board for 10 divers, was sometimes vague about the day's plans, though I think he needed the flexibility. He often demanded our presence in the hot salon while he drew the dive map for the next dive site. (His lengthy, repetitive briefings - often describing several possible scenarios for the dive as dictated by emerging conditions - would only be delivered after he finished drawing, 20 minutes or so later.) He clearly irked some divers when lecturing them on their profiles, inattention to his briefings, or inability to descend quickly enough. Yet, to my mind, he was too tolerant of one particularly bad diver who would constanstly and mercylessly grab on live coral to steady herself and displayed a pathological need to stroke, lift and drop every aquatic creature she encountered. [She was bitten by a moray once. Sadly she was wearing gloves.] Manik was also overly sensitive to some clients, whom he felt may have slighted him. Yet I couldn't help but like him. He made genuine efforts to please and delivered really good dives, often securing great camera positions for me and accomodating my request to dive the Maldive Victory Wreck.

In summary, I was both pleased and disappointed. The diving was very good, although there could be more of it, the liveaboard just adequate. I would be willing to pay more for greater luxury and a more refined service. The Manthiri is reputed to be at the top of the local league with the exception of the $800 a day Four Seasons Explorer which offers limited diving. I think there is room in the market for something inbetween - and targeted at divers.

[I was very pleased to make the acquaintance on board of another Undercurrent subscriber, Clayton N. Taylor, a true gentleman. His good humour greatly added to my enjoyment of the trip. Liveaboard operators everywhere would do well to extend Mr. Taylor free invitations for the benefit of their paying guests.]

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Palau, Truk, Thailand, Myanmar, French Polynesia, Red Sea, Turks & Caicos, Los Roques, UK
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 29-30°C / 84-86°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-30 M / 49-98 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Maldives maximum depth is 30m, not enforced. Dives limited to 50m.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Small dedicated camera rinse tank on separate dive dhoni was sometimes used for other purposes. Camera table and 220v+110v electrical hookups on mother boat. Staff handled cameras correctly.
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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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