Cathy and I are planning a dive trip to the Maldives in June/July 2018. Many people claim that the Maldives offers the best diving in the world and we are anxious to discover if that is true.
For the geographically challenged, the Maldives is a country made up entirely of atolls in the Indian Ocean. Straight line distance from Sarasota to the Maldives is 9,730 miles.
This will be our second Asian dive trip of 2018 and want you to know about the details. We also want to encourage you to come along on your own. Like our Philippines trip in February 2018, this is NOT a Sarasota Scuba Club official trip – just information about an opportunity to dive a spectacular area and do so relatively cheaply.
We will be diving from the MV Emperor Voyager a 30-meter (100 foot) live aboard moored in Male, Maldives harbor.
The M/V Emperor Voyager has 4 decks including a sun deck
Diving is done from a smaller dinghy (their word not mine) on which all your dive gear is stowed throughout the trip. Divers are assigned one tank for the week and it is refilled after each dive
The Voyager has 10 rooms on 3 decks for 20 divers. 7 of the rooms have two double beds and 3 have one Queen. We set sail from Male on June 30, 2018, and disembark on July 7.
Deck Plan for the M/V Emperor Voyager
Cost is € 1,579.00 per person for the Upper Deck rooms and € 1,479.00 for the Lower Deck. Both prices include Nitrox. Currently the Euro and the US Dollar are almost exactly on par.
Lower deck rooms have a porthole and are $100 cheaper than upper deck rooms with large windows. We are paying the extra $100 for a view!
Diving will occur at and around 6 different atolls in the Maldives where the targets are Hammerhead Sharks (one dive especially for them) Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Gray Reef Sharks, and a super abundance of reef fishes.
Traveling among these islands will be tough duty
Our itinerary, entirely dependent on the Captain's discretion and weather, of course, includes the following locations:
Rasdhoo Atoll - Hammerhead shark diving, beautiful reef fishes with pelagics.
North Ari Atoll - Gray Reef Sharks, Night dive. Multiple Manta Ray cleaning stations.
South Ari Atoll - Whale Sharks. Underwater pinnacles
South Male Atoll - Gray Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics. Wreck dive.
Vaavu Atoll - Beautiful channels with soft corals. Night dive with Nurse Sharks
North Male Atoll - Underwater pinnacles.
Chill out at the bar after a long day of diving
Main dining area
Lounge on the Main Deck
If you are interested make your own reservations through Lisa at Liveaboard.com (firstname.lastname@example.org). Price includes up to 17 dives (including 2 night dives), value added tax, onboard accommodation, transfers/pickups from airport, tanks, weights, belts, dive master services, all meals, free Nitrox. Not included are: flights, dive equipment, alcohol, soft drinks, juices, WiFi (an additional 22 Euro for the week), crew gratuities and 15 liter tanks.
The cheapest airfare we have found is on Qatar Airways from Miami via Doha, Qatar, for $950.00 US roundtrip. Purchase your tickets and select your seats at www.qatarairways.com/us/en/homepage.page
Qatar is regularly ranked as the number 1 airline in the world for in-flight service
As Jimmy Buffett once sang about Paris, "Its a mighty long airplane ride" and its even longer to Qatar. However these coach seats on their Boeing 777 make it look much more desirable than the cattle car feel of coach in most US airlines
Qatar Airways allows a free stopover in Doha, Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula. The Poseidon Dive Center at the Doha Hilton offers day trips (shore dives) to the nearby Persian Gulf. We are considering a 2-tank dive there simply because nobody we know has ever dived in the Persian Gulf. Who knows what lies underneath the surface there that will be interesting to see.
For the geographically-challenged, Qatar is an oil-rich country sitting on tiny thumb-like peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Among other things, Qatar is home to the Al Jazeera news channel - the only source of news I seek out for coverage of world events.
Again, this is not a sanctioned Sarasota Scuba Club trip...we aren't offering to lead a trip or are we offering to make your reservations for you. We are only providing information on an affordable dive trip to a spectacular part of the world and we hope we see you on the Emperor Voyager when she pulls out of Male harbor next June!