During our 35 years of travel, we often meet divers from around the world and inevitably the question comes up ‘Where’s your favorite place to dive?’ A frequently heard answer is the Maldives. Why? Because it offers both big animal and macro creatures. You’ve got the big wow factor of pelagic coupled with weird and fascinating small marine life.
So why hasn’t SASS scheduled the Maldives before now? I really don’t know but we’re fixing that problem now! Come join us and you too will probably agree that the Maldives is your favorite dive place in the world!
Our trip is scheduled for February 2016, right in the heart of Michigan’s arctic blast winter. You’ll fly to L.A. then onward to Male, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. From there a crew member will greet the group and transfer us to the luxury live-aboard M/V Carpe Vita Explorer for a 8 day/7night excursion.
Your underwater adventures in the Maldives will encompass sea mounts filled with marine life species found few other places. All dives in the Maldives are less than 100 feet in depth so you can easily crank in four dives each day. Dives are done off a smaller, well-equipped tender called a dhoni and all dives are led by an experienced guide.
The reefs of the Maldives are teeming with life and divers encounter many different species found in few other places. There are lion fish, anemone fish, octopus as well as many species of moray eels. The Maldives are also known for the big animals. Whale sharks, mantas, and dolphins are often seen and sea turtles are seen on almost every dive. It's not unusual to find sleeping white tip reef sharks during the day dives and then see them hunting at night. The dive guides are very good at finding rare creatures like blue ribbon eels, frog fish and scorpion fish. The coral reefs in the Maldives are healthy and colorful with schools of beautiful tropical fish in abundance.
Dive diversity is the norm. You’ll explore manta ray cleaning stations on flat, sandy areas with small patches of coral. Then there are several wreck dives to see. The wrecks of the Maldives are small, yet covered with life. In addition to the coral growth divers may find colorful nudibranchs, lion fish, leaf fish and mantis shrimps on the wrecks. For a wild ride, we’ll shoot the channel, “flying” over the reef as the tide goes through a channel, a truly exhilarating experience!
The M/V Carpe Vita Explorer is a luxurious live-aboard. New in 2011, she holds 20 passengers comfortably and her 61-foot custom matching dhoni (dive tender) is bigger then some live-aboard boats.
You’ll enter on the mail deck, where the indoor salon/restaurant if found. Here is a comfortable lounge with a large flat screen TV, DVD/MP3 player, sound system, sitting/library area and a buffet table. Just forward of the salon is an outdoor shaded sitting area with comfortable cushioned benches. This is a peaceful place where you can sip your afternoon tea while the vessel is cruising and take in the beautiful colors of the Indian Ocean. The main deck also has a galley, common restroom, dive equipment storage area, swim platform and two fresh water showers for post dives. There is also a specialized camera table in the outdoor area and a power charging station at the entrance.
From the main deck, you can access the upper deck via indoor or outdoor staircases. The upper deck includes staterooms 1 & 2 (the VIP Suites), the bridge and an aft al-fresco dining area with a fully equipped main bar. They offer a wide variety of spirits, wines, liquors, cocktails and beer. In the restaurant, you will be served semi-buffet meals prepared by a fine dining chef. After dinner, take the stairs to the upper deck and watch the sunset. The Sun deck has chaises in the sun and in a shaded area. Better yet, take a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi.
Staffed by a crew of 13, the Carpe Vita Explorer is ideally sized and equipped for divers.
Four dives are conducted daily directly from a 61-foot dhoni, which is fully equipped with a bathroom, hot-water showers and air and nitrox compressors.
Sipidan Water Village is idyllic. Just look at this picture! The architectural design was influenced by the local Bajau Latu, a nomadic sea gypsy tribe. There are 45 water chalets built on the water. The resort is located on a part of the island where it is sheltered from waves so the floor of the water chalets is less than 1 meter above the high water mark. Each chalet is spacious and has wide sliding doors that open onto your private deck.
Of course, we will dive Borneo too! The dive center is also built on the water and equipped with lockers, showers and bathrooms. There’s a common area for divers to resting between dives and enjoying complimentary snacks, hot coffee and tea. Boat dives are scheduled for 4 days (3 dives/day) plus unlimited tanks are included in this package for exploring the house reef.
We’ll visit three different islands, Mabul, Kapalai and Sipidan. Mabul and Kapalai is heaven for studying micro marine life and guarantees hours of fascinating fish watching.
At world-renowned Sipidan Island, divers get different experience. You’ll dive among the ‘giants of the sea’ like sharks and rays.
On any one given dive on Mabul or Kapalai reefs, divers may get to see as many as 25 or 30 remarkable photo subjects including squid, cuttlefish, anemone shrimp, gobies with blind cleaner shrimp, porcelain crabs, juvenile batfish, harlequin ghost pipefish, mushroom coral pipefish, mandarin fish, dragonets and many more.
Sub-Aquatic Sports & Service Ltd.
347 North Helmer Road
Battle Creek, MI 49037