Dan B - Bluewater Dive Travel

Dan B

Dan B

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Reviews (2)

Carpe Novo Maldives


I had the pleasure of diving with the Carpe Novo team in late January 2024. During this time of year, liveaboards are able to do southern Maldives routes, allowing for a bit more remote diving and higher changes of pelagic encounters. It was my first time in the southern Maldives and this trip didn’t disappoint.

The Route
After getting picked up at Koodoo, we did 4 days of diving the Huvadhu Atoll (mostly deeper channel dives where reef hooks are used), followed by a day at Fuvahmulah (including an awesome tiger shark dive), followed by 2 dives at the Addu Atoll (which includes a manta cleaning station and wreck dive). This route offered a bit of everything – deep channel dives, nice reef dives with turtles and schooling fish, a night dive, some nice macro subjects, and lots of large pelagics including plentiful reef sharks, intense tiger sharks action, and a whale shark. Currents ranged from mild to relatively strong.

The Boat
The Carpe Novo is an excellent boat – fairly new and well maintained, large and very stable. It can accommodate 22 guests split between rooms on 3 levels. I stayed in one of the single rooms on the main deck. Rooms are spacious and clean, and have individual AC units. The bathrooms are also large and clean. My only minor nit is that the hot water in the showers could have been a bit hotter. There is a dedicated camera room on the main deck. Dining occurs on the upper deck, and food is served buffet style. I found the food quite good and was mostly western fare. Lunches and dinners typically included rice, pasta, beef or chicken, freshly caught fish, vegetables, etc. There is often a sushi option as well. Dessert was served after lunch and dinner – typically ice cream, fruit, and/or cake. Water and juice are complementary, but soda and alcohol are not. There are drying racks on the front deck for your bathing suits and rash guards. There is also a sun deck at the top of the boat. At the front of the main deck is an air-conditioned salon with couches and a TV. All dive briefings are done in the salon prior to each dive.

Diving Operations
All diving is done from the large and spacious dhoni (a modern take on the traditional Maldivian dive boat). All your dive gear, tanks, etc stay on the dhoni for the entire trip. Diving from the dhoni is a pleasure, and this dhoni is very well organized. It has a bathroom, a large rinse bucket for cameras, a separate rinse bucket for wetsuits, etc. Nitrox is available (and encouraged due to typical dive depths), and you can opt for 11, 13.5, or 15 liter tanks. We had a 1:4 dive guide/guest ratio. All dives are drift dives, and the guides deploy their SMBs during the safety stop to summon the dhoni. The 3 dives typically occur around 7:30am, 10:30am, and 2:30pm with meal in between, which is a nice, not too hectic, schedule. The guides do an excellent job of checking and managing the current. Overall, the diving operations are very well run – one of the best I’ve seen.

The Crew
I can’t say enough good things about the crew – they were excellent. Everyone was super friendly, helpful, and eager to please. The chef went out of his way to create excellent meals, the dive support guys are very attentive to helping with equipment and getting in/out of the dhoni, and the dive guides are very experienced and go out of their way to make the dives enjoyable.

Onshore Excursions
There are two opportunities to get off the boat during week. The first is a short shore excursion to a small island beach, and the second is an evening barbeque on another deserted island. One of the crew even spent the time to create an amazing whale shark sand art sculpture on the beach to add to the barbeque ambiance.

Overall the Carpe Novo is an excellent boat with a superb crew and dive operation. Definitely recommended.

Visited on 01/2024 - Submitted on 02/08/2024
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Fuvahmulah Central Hotel


The diving industry on Fuvahmulah has grown quite a bit in the last few years, mostly due to the ability to dive with tiger sharks on a daily basis. I stayed at the Fuvahmulah Central Hotel and dove with Fuvahmulah Central Dive (owned and operated by the same management). Like most accommodations currently available, the hotel is small – there are only 7 rooms. The rooms are spacious and functional, with comfortable beds, a bathroom, wardrobe, mini-fridge, A/C, decent internet, and tea/coffee maker. This is a fairly basic and economical hotel – nothing fancy, but reasonably clean and serves it’s purpose. The dive center (where divers are typically picked up each morning) is a 5-7 min walk from the hotel. There is no restaurant at the hotel, but there are options within walking distance, and food is often served at the dive center if there is a large enough group. Each day, divers meet at the dive center and are shuttled to the harbor (~7 min ride) to board the dhoni. BTW, a newer, larger (and perhaps higher end) hotel is the process of being built, which is located right next to the dive center.

The Fuvahmulah Central Dive operation is organized and well run, which excellent local guides. They have two dhoni’s (traditional dive boats) – one smaller and one larger. I dove the smaller one as there were fewer people while I was there. The boats had all the usual amenities – water, tea, fresh water shower, towels, marine head, etc. There was a captain, 2 deck hands, and 2-3 guides depending on the group size. Briefings are done prior to each dive (the local guides speak good English), and one of the guides jumps in to check the current before each dive. The crew was very helpful in terms of swapping tanks, helping with jump-ins, handing cameras down, etc. Between dives, the boat comes back to the harbor, where tanks are changed prior to the next dive. One nice touch is you get a WhatsApp message each evening with the following day’s schedule. Note that there is no rinse bucket for cameras on the boat (only the shower), and nitrox is not available. Tank sizes are the standard 80cf.

We did 3 dives each day – 1 at Tiger Zoo and 2 other dives at nearby sites. The Tiger Zoo dives, which are at the mouth of the harbor, are well run, and I felt very safe. After divers are lined up on the sand at a depth of ~25ft, fish heads and scraps are dropped in the water by the boat, and the dive guides quickly bury the heads under rocks in front of dives to give the tiger sharks a bit of a challenge. The show then begins as the tigers show up to get their free meal, providing the opportunity to see these beautiful sharks up close. The dive guides act as safety divers and are positioned behind the divers. If a tiger gets too close, a guide will redirect it. At the end of the allotted 30 mins, you swim as a group out into the blue for your safety stop. At the other sites, you’ll find thresher sharks, hammerheads, turtles, healthy coral / reef life, and occasionally mantas and whale sharks. Other than Tiger Zoo, most of the other dives are fairly deep since that is where you’ll typically find the threshers and hammerheads, so you’ll need to manage your deco time appropriately. Currents ranged from none to medium while I was there, but the guides did a good job of guiding us with the current, not against.

Visited on 02/2024 - Submitted on 02/08/2024
Read all Fuvahmulah Central Hotel Dive Resort reviews


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