Maldives 2016 Trip Report and Photos - Bluewater Dive Travel
Maldives 2016 Trip Report and Photos

Maldives 2016 Trip Report and Photos



Maldives Group Trip

August 2016

Led by Katie Yonker

South of India in the Indian Ocean lies the Maldives, a country comprised of twenty-six atolls spanning roughly 35,000 square miles. The Maldives has no shortage of high end resorts with idyllic overwater bungalows catering to the honeymoon crowd, but below this beautiful topside scenery lies a diverse and colorful ecosystem that’s sure to please most divers. Despite the high price tag associated with land-based resorts, there is a plethora of luxury liveaboards in the Maldives at a relatively reasonable cost.

For our group trip, Bluewater Travel had the pleasure of being spoiled onboard the MV Carpe Vita Explorer. This beautiful ship boasts spacious cabins, huge indoor and outdoor lounge areas, a roof deck jacuzzi, and a large dive dhoni. All dives are done via giant stride off the dhoni, making the Maldives an ideal location for those who want easy access diving.

We boarded the ship on Sunday and headed straight for South Male Atoll. On our first day of diving we were treated to sightings of octopus, several types of eels, turtles, white tip sharks, black tip sharks, gray reef sharks, mantis shrimp, and much more. But the highlight of the day was the nurse shark night dive at Vaavu Atoll. We arranged to go after the other dive boats in the area, so we had the site all to ourselves. We watched as a nurse shark aggressively tried to devour a pufferfish for several minutes while other nurse sharks, stingrays, and trevally swam by.



The next few days were spent in the South Ari Atoll, where we went in search of whale sharks. After a short cruise through the area where they’re often spotted, we lucked out! Our spotter started banging on the roof of the dhoni and a few divers hurriedly jumped in. Getting in the water with these animals can require patience and a bit of luck, but it almost always requires a slow, quiet approach. After a few more attempts, we found a whale shark who hung around long enough that everyone got a chance to see and admire it. The day was a success!




Another draw of the Maldives is that it’s a reliable place to see mantas, and this trip did not disappoint. On our fourth day we visited a manta cleaning station and had multiple mantas circling the area for most of the dive.




The Maldives also has a number of nice wreck diving sites, and we were fortunate to visit a few of them. It’s a tough decision between shooting with a wide angle or a macro lens, as you’re likely to find great photos ops with either. When the water is clear, wrecks like the Kudhima are great for wide angle and fisheye photos. But should you choose to go with a macro lens, you’ll find all types of interesting critters like nudibranches, shrimps, gobi, and even the most poisonous fish in the ocean, the stone fish.




We made our way back to Male via North Ari Atoll and Rasdhoo Atoll. At some of the sites the current picked up, so we saw many more anthias, sharks, and schooling fish than at the calmer dive sites. On one special dive many guests in the group got to experience a rare sighting – mating octopus! Our last dive was at a manta cleaning station, and it did not disappoint. From the moment we descended there were two mantas circling the station, and half way into the dive a third manta joined. After an hour had passed and our dive time was up, the mantas swam off, almost as if on cue.


On the afternoon of our last dive day we took part in a guided Male city tour, which I recommend if you want to learn a bit about the history and culture of the Maldives. We visited the fish market, fruit market, and bought souvenirs at the local shops by the water. A final farewell dinner was had by all and we enjoyed a slideshow of everyone’s images taken during the trip.

I'd like to extend a big thanks to the captain and crew of the Carpe Vita Explorer for spoiling us during this trip, and to all the guests onboard – thank you for making this such an enjoyable trip, and I hope to see you all in the water again soon!




Bluewater Travel runs several group trips and photo workshops every year and also arranges personal dive travel vacations. For more information on Bluewater trips as well as amazing dive destinations, visit or email us at


Learn more about the boat, the MV Carpe Vita, or learn about diving the Maldives.


About the Author

Katie Yonker is the Director of Operations and a Travel Advisor for Bluewater Travel. An avid diver and travel planner, Katie’s adventures have taken her to the far reaches of the globe to destinations such as Micronesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, French Polynesia, Palau, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Red Sea, South Africa, Maldives, Hawaii, Galapagos, Cocos, Socorro, Central America, the Caribbean, and many non-dive locations.



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