I had never really planned to go to Sri Lanka, but it just so happened that there were cheap flights from Colombo to Male, and this is how this trip formed. I spent about 2 weeks travelling through Sri Lanka, seeing a lot of amazing landscapes and cultural sites. Now it was time to head to my next destination, the Maldives! 🙂
I had wanted to dive the Maldives for a long time, and finally booked the „Best of Maldives“ itinerary on the MY Emperor Voyager liveaboard. I had already dived with Emperor Divers in Egypt, and again had a really good time with them in the Maldives! The boat and cabins were more spacious this time, and the group more mixed, age- and country-wise. It was a good group with always someone around for a chat! I thoroughly enjoyed not having to plan anything, but just following the daily agenda which was written on the board each evening for the next day. Eat, sleep, dive, repeat! In between the dives, we relaxed on the sun deck or in the lounge, had a quick shower and got ready to go diving again. Food was buffet-style and amazing with lots of choice and eggs any style to order for breakfast. One evening, we went to a sand bank in the middle of nowhere for a sundowner and another evening we had an amazing BBQ on a little island with a huge buffet prepared for us.
The dives themselves of course were awesome!! In the course of the week we saw loads and loads of reef sharks (mainly white tips, and some greys), a hammerhead, many turtles and stingrays, about 15-20 or so manta rays at different cleaning stations aaaand a whale shark! 🙂 I think my highlights were definitely the hammerhead which I spotted and the whale shark which we were able to stay with for quite some time and was rather close. I had always wanted a better (longer/closer) whale shark encounter than the one I had back in Utila in 2012, and finally it was the time.
I generally enjoyed the dives – sometimes it was like diving in a fish soup! But as always some things were different than I had expected: Currents were very strong during the first part of the week. While I usually like currents when you can just let yourself go, this time we had to use reef hooks to stay in one place. I quite struggled with the usage and didn’t feel so comfortable with it. Also, corals were quite dead in some areas which was sad to see. In others, of course we saw very beautiful and healthy coral – so there is hope! Also, I kind of had hoped to see more „special stuff“, like more different sharks and not just reef sharks. Maybe some dolphins or if very lucky a mola mola. Etc. You get the picture. It was certainly amazing diving though, and I guess I am just getting a bit spoiled with all the great locations I have dived at already!
Apart from the boat and the underwater world, I did not see much of the Maldives. We drove past many little resort islands, which look beautiful but also a bit boring if I would spend more than a day there. I saw Male City a little bit when I spent one night there before getting on the boat: It’s nothing special, reminding me a little of choatic Sri Lankan cities like Kandy maybe. I would have expected it a bit posher what with all the tourist money that comes into the country. Same goes for Hulhulmale island next to the airport. It has certainly a beautiful beach, but you are only allowed to bathe fully clothed. Apart from that, there is nothing much to see and a lot of it looks like a construction site. So I guess on the boat and underwater is the place to be in the Maldives! 😉 Click here to see all my pictures of the Maldives.