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Dive Review of S/Y Maldives Siren in
Maldives/Central to Southern atolls

S/Y Maldives Siren, Feb, 2013,

by Philip johnston, Bayswater, AU (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6881 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Diving:
– this was a 10 day cruise from Male through to the southernmost major atoll (Gaafu Dhaala Atoll). The majority of dives were in passes from open ocean into various atolls (in the hopes of seeing pelagics, sharks & larger fish life), & a number of thilas & giris (pinnacles or sea mounts) were dived, plus 1 wreck dive (at Kudi Giri), a channel dive at Kurali corner to see Mantas, & a night dive at a resort on Vaavu called the “the jetty”.
– Highlight was a dive site on Vaavu called “Fotteyo” – some nice yellow/white soft corals underneath some overhangs, large clouds of small tropicals & generally abundant fish life, a couple of smallish whitetip sharks, plus a school of around a dozen eagle rays wheeling above us.
– A night dive at “the jetty” was also good. The resort on this island has been feeding kitchen scraps to the fish & sharks every night for some time, attracting large jacks, 12-15 nurse sharks & some small blacktip reef sharks to this site. Twice large (8 foot) nurse sharks cruised past within half a foot of me, other nurse sharks circled around at greater distances. This site is very popular & many divers were in the water, the large amounts of sand kicked up would’ve annoyed photographers.
– Other night dives were frankly boring with only an occasional flat worm or nudi to be seen.
– A number of the passes did have reasonable numbers of sharks (generally whitetip & grey reef) & dog tooth tuna seen, no larger sharks (silvertips, hammerheads, tigers etc) were seen however.
– Turtles were regularly seen at most sites & were more relaxed in the presence of divers than others I have seen in other regions
– Mantas were seen at only 1 site (Kurali corner at Meemu Atoll), these were more skittish & shy than I’ve encountered in other areas. Nonetheless 5-6 full size mantas were seen within reasonable distances. At the passengers’ request we dived the same site later that day, regrettably the current had reversed resulting in poor vis and nil manta sightings.
– I was advised before arriving that Maldives had no good corals, however some sites at the more southern atolls did have very healthy & lush plate & staghorn corals in shallower areas, some very pretty diving in some spots.
– Very little in the way of small critters, during either day or night dives
– I would rate 4-5 of the 30+ sites I dived as being world-class, the rest being generally OK. Overall, I wouldn’t put Maldives in the same league as Walindi in PNG, or Rajah Ampat in Indonesia, or Cocos or Galapogas.
– Divers should be prepared for strong, sometimes very strong currents. A reef hook & a good safety sausage are pretty much mandatory for anyone going to the Maldives.

The liveaboard & crew
- The Siren was in pretty good shape, it isn’t a luxury boat but was clean & comfortable. One of the other passengers complained about a leaking air conditioner in their room, I didn’t experience any problems in my cabin.
- Photographers generally well catered for, with many drawers available in the main cabin for UWPs. Bench space might have been limited however if all 14 passengers had been UWP’s
- Food was buffet style for breakfast lunch & dinner, with savoury snacks (pizza, samosas etc) & cakes/biscuits laid out in the afternoon. I thought the chef was very good, he was an Indian guy who made some pretty good curries & Indian/Maldivian cuisine items – his tuna samosas were fantastic. Free beer (mainly Asian brands) & soft drinks were available at all times, passengers were charged for wine & spirits. Prices for the latter were fairly high, probably to be expected in an Islamic country such as Maldives. Fruit juices & cordials were served to divers as they arrived on deck following each dive.
- Crew were uniformly good & helpful at all times, although there was very little social interaction between passengers & the mixed Indian/Sri Lankan / Maldivian crew. A crew member was always available to wash & hang out wet suits as divers returned the Siren
- Free Nitrox
- My divemaster was an English guy (Tom), very personable & pretty competent as a guide underwater, other than the most southerly dive sites he seemed quite familiar with the places we dived.
- Diving was from Zodiac rigid inflatable boats, via a ladder down the side of the Siren onto a small duckboard & thence into the RIBs – this became a little difficult in chop or swell.
- This brings me to the only negative : 3 days into the cruise one of the RIBs partially deflated & was not usuable for diving. As a result, divers were shuttled in 2 different groups to the respective dive sites, which were often some distance from the Siren & as mentioned above, at sites often exposed to strong currents. As a member of the 2nd group to dive, I often surfaced to find no boat within sight, the 1 remaining RIB having collected the first group for return to the Siren. We were first advised that the deflated RIB would be repaired within 24 hours, however it was found that the glue in the repair kit had gone dry & couldn’t be used. We were then advised that replacement glue would need to be flown in from Singapore, however this never materialised & only 1 Zodiac remained operative for the last week of the cruise. I found it difficult to believe that replacement glue (or a replacement Zodiac) couldn’t be sourced in-country, given that boating, diving & fishing are basically the national past times. At the end of the cruise I asked for a partial discount on the fuel surcharge given the amount of time I had spent in open water waiting to be collected by the remaining RIB & the potential safety risk I’d been exposed to, the cruise director apologised for what had happened but advised I’d need to contact the owners to discuss any discount. I did follow up with the owners & they quickly offered a refund of the fuel surcharge, or a discount on any future cruise bookings (plus a further apology).
- Overall, I did enjoy the cruise, but the failure to repair the Zodiac, or find a replacement, was disappointing. In the current prone & often very open waters we dived in, the absence of a 2nd RIB was a definite safety risk.

Websites S/Y Maldives Siren   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Tonga, Tahiti, Cozumel, Cocos Island, Galapogas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 28-30°C / 82-86°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 16-24 M / 52-79 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco diving, come back with 30 bar
Liveaboard? yes 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 3 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 Generally good, although more bench space for UWPs would have been good.
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Randall S Preissig in TX, US at Aug 14, 2013 21:55 EST  
Excellent report. Thank you.
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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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