As diver, we all have a bucket list of destination we would love to explore. One common destination most of us would have is to, explore and dive the magical Maldives. It has been in my bucket list since my Instagram started to pop up with the dreamy pictures of Mantas and whale sharks dancing in the clear blue ocean of Maldives. I was pretty excited to make this happen and to get in to the dreamy ocean and dive along with the magical Mantas and swim with whale sharks in Maldives. I had booked my dive tour for the Adora Liveaboard. I flew a short flight from Singapore to Maldives by tiger air ways.
I was picked up from airport by the dive guide, and with dive tender (dive dhoni) transferred to Adora liveaboard . A modern liveaboard or delivering a great atmosphere onboard. Full fibre liveaboard of 123 ft built in Maldives, specialised to carter for divers. With a team of enthusiastic and friendly crew, it summed up to a homely vibe that I truly enjoyed.
MV Adora have 11 cabins , at lower deck there is 6 standard spacious cabins and en-suite bathroom, and middle deck is just a single cabin which can be a good option for a solo traveller . The uppder deck where you can see the wide ocean and horizon , have 4 ocean view suits which are spacious.
The main deck is an aircon saloon bar restaurant with a lounge area spacious enough for all the divers on boat.
There is huge comfortable sundeck with half shaded areas on the top deck. Having a cocktail while watching the beautiful Maldivian sunset here is bliss! To soak and tan in the sun there is comfortable sun lougn,
For the photographers, the power outlets are type G sockets. The plugs were mostly 220v
The counter space may hold around 8-10 DSLR rigs and the power outlets are right below the counter.
The food I wasn’t expecting it to be this excellent, however the food got to be so good. they served three sumptuous buffet spread daily that can cater to the most demanding palates. There’s always tuna, beef, bananas desserts and there are delicious, all of them!
Most of the dives were over 30 meters and at a typical dive time of 45-50 minutes . Reef hook is a must as Maldives current can be strong in channel. It is easier to watch pelagics cruising by while you hook oneself. We were in two groups of 6 to a DM.
Visibility was fantastic, generally between 40-50 meters, except for the Manta cleaning station, which significantly dropped to about 15 meters.
The first dive was at Villivaru Giri, an easy pinnacle dive but not much to see . The second at Mayaru Kandu, if you translate the name to English it is Shark Ocean and the third dives at Alimantha Kandu was a deep exhilarthing channels dive. There’s plenty of grey reef and white tip reef sharks, eagle rays, tevally, snappers etc.
On the second day, early morning we dive for the hammerheads shark. There wasn’t any but this dive was one of the best on this trip. There’s a school of 9 sharks forming a line in the current next to a school of about 8-9 eagle ray about 10 meters away. It was quite a sight but very challenging to photograph. I didn’t bother trying but instead, choose to hang on to my reef hook and enjoy the sight.
We set for Ari Atoll and 2nd and 3rd dive was very colourful, with schooling fusiliers, abundance of five stripe snappers, hunting tunas, napolean wrasses and giant trevallies. The dive usually starts with the edge of the reefs and end on top of the pinnacle. There’s abundance of marine life here, mostly large schooling reef fish but not much macro opportunity or maybe its because I didn’t look it for it.
The Kudima Wreck was interesting and a break from the thila and kandu. It was a fairly shallow wreck at maximum depth of 24 meters with easy penetration. There are hundreds of batfish, a couple of nudibranch, stonefish and a frogfish.
On the 4th day, At Penitton and this time we saw 5 huge mantas dancing on the second dive. we also dive at Lamiyaru and the fame Mushi Mas Thila also known as Fish Head. The marine life is absolutely packed at Mushi Mas Thila with the schools of fusilier and giant trevally dazzling around the surface. This is one of the most beautiful thila I’ve seen on this trip. It a fascinating landscape with many small caves, overhang, huge seafans and ledges around the reef. There’s plenty of grey reef, white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, eagle rays, tevally, snappers etc.
Maya thila was the night dive of the trip which was well worth it . It is known as shark- infested This was the most intense and best night dive. And for sure there is a good reason why it’s touted as one of the best dive site in Maldives. It’s exhilarating from start to end - a feeding frenzy of reef predators - white tips, grey reefs, moray eel, marbles ray, huge red snappers hunting small fishes, especially the fussilers. I’ve never come across a site such as this , defiantly one of my best dive. It’s really hard to focus on any shark or snapper or predator because they are all over the reefs. It was amazing! I wish we could have dive this site the whole day.
Our final dive of the trip was at Bathalaa Thila, a small thila just east of Bathala Island. We saw a napaloen wrasse when we descended at around 30 meter. It was so friendly that it swam with me for a couple of minutes after I finish taking picture of it. I got carried way shooting this beautiful fish that I ran low on air after too soon. It was a beautiful reef covered with soft coral and some table corals from I briefly saw on top of the pinnacle.
In Maldives diving is done in a small boat which and is the dive specialised boat with the mothership . It will have all dive gears compressors and dive tanks. All our dive gears was assembled and kept in the dive dhoni . The dive dhoni accommodate 21 divers plus 3 dive guides comfortably.
There’s a freshwater shower hose for rinsing at the back and also a large rinse pail filled with fresh water for the cameras. After each dive, dive dhoni will cruise away to fill the tanks, keeping noise level on the mother ship to a minimum.
The Maldives offer a exhilarant amount of diving sites with a healthy reef with lots pelagic such as sharks, rays, tunas and even dolphins on the surface. You can be guaranteed to have a dreamy dive holiday as the pictures you have been seeing all over the internet.
This was my first Maldives experience and unquestionably it still deserves a couple more trips to further explore the vast atolls of Maldives.
MV adora certainly is without doubt one of the best liveaboard in the Maldives diving market. If you are looking for a semi luxury liveaboard at economical price for sure this can be the choice. . With an experience crew onboard you can be assured that all your need underwater and on the surface are well taken care of. It was very enjoyable trip, with great food, top-notch crew and great diving.
In my opinion Maldives is not a place for novice divers and for those not comfortable diving in strong currents. There are always currents present. We usually drift with current but there are times that you have to swim against them to reach the spot. As most of the time it’s negative entry. As this is my first experience in Maldives a typical 7-night tour was the best suitable for me. However, I hear there is much to down south or to north tours and is becoming famous. All I see is the pictures and the excitement of such tours. Now I have to get back to Maldives to further explore the vast atolls of Maldives
Manik was incredibly helpful to me throughout the trip (Susan) + was attentive to everyone needs. tried to make the trip (and succeeded) a very special one. My favourtite dive Master ever. You are lucky to have him!