Maldives Trip Recap - Bluewater Dive Travel
Maldives Trip Recap

Maldives Trip Recap



I imagine that when people think of the Maldives, a view of tranquil turquoise seas and complete bliss comes to mind. They are not wrong. The crystal clear waters and white sands of the Indian Ocean are unmatched in beauty. However, underwater the Maldives is not what I would necessarily describe as “tranquil”. Perhaps “thrilling” would be a more appropriate word?
All I can say is, pack your reef hook!

The average water temperature is about 80F and visibility can range between 40 to over 100ft, but divers - whether beginner or advanced - need to be comfortable with currents and drift dives that will take them through a beautiful variety of marine life ranging from different types of sharks, cephalopods, hard coral, soft coral, and, well, fish. 
 Blue Force One Maldives
I recently completed a 6-night liveaboard trip on the Maldives Blue Force One. Probably one of the best weeks of diving I’ve experienced. Their trips are normally seven nights long, however, my trip was an exception. I knew from day one that I would regret opting for a shorter trip. I have outlined the day-by-day itinerary for the trip at the bottom of this page and included some descriptions. 



All the sites had beautiful, healthy hard coral, with one site having wondrous white and blue soft coral. At almost every site you could see mantis shrimp, eels, stonefish, lionfish, turtles, and eagle rays. We also saw cuttlefish, octopus, silvertip, whitetip, blacktip, gray reef, and nurse sharks. The manta cleaning station had over 12 rays and was nothing short of majestic. 



It’s hard to pinpoint what the biggest highlight of the trip was because each day seemed to outdo the previous, but I think a big contender was night two when the crew set out big lights at the stern of the boat and attracted five whale sharks who hung out with us from about 10PM to 5AM. We all put on our snorkeling gear and jumped in. It was truly a magical experience. Some guests stayed in the water with them until 2AM.

The checkout dive was done in Male at the jetty, which sounds like the most underwhelming event of the week. But, no. The group got the chance to encounter two tiger sharks and one great hammerhead. Talk about ending the trip with a bang!

One of the best things about the Maldives Blue Force One is its size. It is spacious and comfortable, with plenty of spots to socialize or quiet spaces where you can do some solitary reading or photo editing. It fits 24 passengers and about 11 crew members, but it never feels crowded at any point. There is a little bar area on the upper deck in the back, and at the bow you can lay out on a cushioned deck and do some tanning. 

The food is served three times a day buffet-style. There is usually meat and fish available, as well as salads, and a variety of sides. In the mornings, you also have the option to request your customized eggs, and they were really good. 


The divers were divided into five groups with a ratio of four to six per dive guide. The guides were all fantastic, and their love for the region and all its species was very evident. Our guide was Sarah (also known as Sarita), and though she has been guiding dive trips for years, she showed excitement for each species she spotted that was truly contagious. 



The crew’s passion was not only seen underwater. Their briefings included detailed descriptions of the sites, interesting history of the different formations, and educational information about the different species we could hope to see. And by educational I do not mean just physical identification pointers. Some briefings included short lectures on feeding and breeding behaviors.


Nurse Shark Maldives Nurse Shark Maldives Nurse Shark Maldives



Day 1: January 2
We were met at Male airport by the boat crew and taken over to the dhoni right across the street. All passengers were required to do a rapid antigen test. Once results were out, we were transferred to the Blue Force One vessel. 
We had our welcome briefing, sat down for lunch, then got ready for the check-out dive. 
Check out Dive: Hulhumale Jetty
The first dive was done in Male right at the jetty. We were divided into five different groups where the guides determined our dive level. We completed a 50-minute dive where we mostly encountered different types of rays. 
After that, we were put into groups according to our level and air consumption for the remainder of the trip. 
Day 2: January 3
Kuda Giri Wreck
The ship is in a round-shaped giri of a diameter of about 80 meters. The southern part of the formation has many overhangs. The ship on the southwest side lays on a slight slope, so the bow is shallower than the stern and the propeller is deeper than 30 meters. The good thing about this deep wreck is that you do not need to end the dive when you get closer to your no-deco zone as there is a very pretty reef all around the giri. 
Miyaru Kandu
This dive site is one of the numerous channel sites in the archipelago. This also means that the currents can be very strong. Commonly seen here are whiteips, blacktips, grey reef sharks, eagle rays, tunas, barracudas, groupers, oceanic triggerfish, and leaf fish.
There is also an inner reef and sand garden where you can see smaller fauna. 
Alimatha House Reef
If you like nurse sharks, you are in for a treat. Here you are almost guaranteed to see them by the dozens if not by the hundreds. All you do is hook yourself to a rock and watch them swim around you. If that is not enough, you will also spot a plethora of eagle rays swimming by. 
Whale Sharks
After the sun sets in the South Ari Atoll, it is common for liveaboards parked here to set out lights at the stern of the boat in the hopes of attracting whale sharks. We set ours around 8PM and waited impatiently. We had no luck at first, but the crew heard that another liveaboard had two whale sharks feeding and with no hesitation they let us all jump on the dhoni and drove us over so we could snorkel with them. When those two disappeared, the crew took us to another liveaboard to jump in with another pair of whale sharks. Their dedication was unbelievable. 
We then found out there were five whale sharks back at our own Blue Force boat, so we went back and jumped in for the third time. When in Ari, eh?
The whale sharks stayed from 10PM to 5AM. As previously mentioned, some of the passengers stayed in the water with them until 2AM! 
Day 3: January 4
Rangali Madivaru:
This gorgeous site full of table coral is surrounded by two channels. During the outgoing currents of the northeast monsoon, it is also a manta cleaning station. 
There is a gentle slope at the southern part where you can observe the mantas. Though we were not there during the northeast monsoon, we did see two mantas and some gray reef sharks. But what really makes this site stand out is the abundant table coral. 


Kudarah Thila
A lot of people would agree that this is the most beautiful site in the archipelago due to its unique architecture. At the shallow top there is a main reef that is connected by a deeper coral ridge. There are also two detached blocks with small overhangs. They are rich in sea fans and covered with soft coral. You can see batfish, jacks, and blue-striped snappers. We also got to see a baby eagle ray. 
Ali Thila
This is the small thila to come to if you like seeing turtles. You can swim all around it in one dive. Its top reef is close to the surface and the sandy bottom is between 25 and 30 meters deep. Keep in mind that the current is strong, and if you want to swim all around the thila you will have to kick against a strong current for a section of the dive. 
Day 4: January 5


Machchafushi (Kudima) Wreck
This is a large ship laying about 30 meters deep. There is a swim through at the stern from port side to starboard. Here you can see a large selection of species inhabiting its corals, as well as stingrays, batfish, and nurse sharks under the hull. 
Moofushi Beru x 2
If you are going to a manta cleaning station on a day where you can see about 12 of them, naturally you do it twice. The station is in the form of a slope that starts at about 10 meters and stretches for another 10 meters. You can observe them from the top or the bottom, and enjoy an array of other species such as leaf fish, ghost pipefish, scorpionfish. Along the reef wall, we spotted a couple of turtles and an octopus. 

Day 5: January 6
Maalhos Thila
Also known as the “blue caves” due to the large caves covered with blue soft coral, this was, in my personal opinion, the most beautiful site in the central atolls. You can see various overhangs, both large and small, with colorful soft corals and a variety of species from sharks and bright yellow snappers to tiny little flatworms. 
After the first dive, the Blue Force arranged for a delicious barbecue on Meerufenfushi Island. They brought some kayaks and a banana boat. Right when we thought the trip could not possibly go better, we found ourselves in a true paradise. [See photos here]. 
Fish Head
This is one of the most popular sites. There is a top reef at about 10 meters and a sandy bottom at about 30 meters. You can hook yourself and enjoy schools of jacks and a parade of sharks: blacktips, whitetips, gray reef. We also spotted a turtle and a batfish. 
My favorite part of the dive was a 10-minute interaction I had with an octopus (see video here). In my experience, it is very rare to encounter one that is bold enough to hang out with divers. It was truly incredible. 
Maayaa Thila
This is a very large thila that is mostly popular for night dives, though we did it during daylight. You can see turtles sheltered in the overhangs at about 15 meters, and some gray reef sharks swimming around the sandy bottom. We got to see three cuttlefish and baby silvertip sharks. 
Day 6: January 7
Rasdhoo Madivaru 
Here you can see long coral formations and a vertical wall where you can observe sharks and other large fish. We got a chance to see a large school of bonitos as well as numerous eagle rays and large dogtooth tunas.
Hulhumale Jetty
Back in Male, you’d think the last dive of the trip right at the jetty would be somewhat uneventful. But here the group spotted two tiger sharks and one great hammerhead. It was truly the perfect ending to a perfect week. 
Day 7: January 8
We woke up, had our last customized egg breakfast, and made our way to Male airport at around 8AM. 

Learn more about diving the Southern Atolls in our 2024 Maldives trip recap.


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