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<font color='#0000FF'>Trip Report

Sun Island, South Ari Atoll Maldives.

26th Sept 2003 to 11th Oct 2003.


26th Sept:   Depart home early morning for the drive down to Heathrow; drop the car off at the Crown Plaza hotel as we plan to overnight on our return.
Check–in with Emirates at 11:00 for the 14:00 flight to Dubai and onward to Male. Luggage checked all the way and no problems with excess, to be honest though we were only a few kgs over.
A 3 hour stop-over in Dubai midnight to 03:30, enough time to browse the Duty free serious money can be spent here as there are loads of toys to buy.
Arrive Male 08:30, quick transfer to the sea-plane and the 30 minute hop to Sun Island…..
As we were to find over the following 2 weeks this is a wonderful resort…..although a large island for the Maldives, over 350 rooms everything about the place suited.
The service and facilities with friendly and helpful staff made our stay very memorable and I cannot recommend the place too highly.

Diving:

I managed to get a check out dive with the resort dive centre (Mermaid Dive) on the afternoon boat. Dive guides in the main Maldivian with a lone English, Dutch and a couple of German. No language problems and the dive centre set up very good, plenty of first class facilities.
The boats are local design and suit the job they do but as I was to find over the next couple of days getting back on board can be a little hairy if the weather is not too good.
Number of divers to a boat approx 15 and travel to the first dive site in the region of an hour. A $13:00 charge per diver for the boat each day on top of the diving cost’s. I took an unlimited dive package over the 12 days I intended to dive, at the end of the holiday this came to a total of $540:00, = £350:00.
Over the next couple of days the weather was winding up for a “Hooligan” which arrived on the Tuesday morning. The “Vis” was a poor 25 metres at this stage but after the bad weather cleared on the Wednesday this was reduced to 20 meters and that is a good as it got for the rest of my diving.

The diving as most people are aware is of the drift design which ranges from a nice an easy to “Fly Me I’m Mandy”.
The first couple of days the weather was affecting the dive sites we visited and on a couple occasions we came up to some bad weather with recovery to the boat being in the region of 20 minutes depending of course on your arrival at surface and how many were up before you. On one of the mornings we went out to a dive site and although we had geared up ready to go in, on arrival I decided not for me. The sea running a good swell and the blackest of clouds on the horizon I thought I was back in the North Sea. The captain and the dive guides had a heated debate for the next 5 minutes before deciding to abort the dive….. On our way back the “Hooligan” arrived.
No diving for the following 2 days.

I managed at least 2 dives per day for the remaining 9 days of the trip, no diving the day prior to leaving.

The fish life was in an abundance on the locations I dived but the coral is in a very poor state compared to the Red Sea and other locations I have dived in the Caribbean.
The usual “Critters” on the reef  plus plenty of Turtle and Reef shark.
Only managed to spot a couple of Manta’s of medium size but the high point of the trip was a 5 meter Whale Shark up close and personal.

Would I return
 definitely yes but on advice it would be between the months of November and March.

A good diving holiday and I learnt a couple of things along the way which also helps.

The return trip was uneventful, Emirates flights on time and comfortable. Plenty of leg room even in their “Cattle Class”…

Roll on April and the southern Red Sea !!!

TOG Diver
 

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Thanks for the report, Peter. A pity you managed to time your holiday for the monsoon period! The best time to go to the Maldives is January to March, as I think Bren will confirm – he worked there for several years. Personally, I wouldn't go in November or early December. It's a good time for mantas but also for rain and high winds, unfortunately. I agree with you about it being difficult to get back on board the dhonis in rough weather, by the way.
 

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<font color='#000080'>Pete

Glad you enjoyed Sun Island (impossible not to really!) I found the diving great without being spectacular, although we also saw a whale shark which came almost within touching distance.

Do you ever go to any of the diving sessions at ponds forge?


Paul
 
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