Q. Where is Maldives?
A. Maldives, a nation of 1190 small islands, scattered across the equator over 90,000 km² in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India.
Q. What kind of dives do you offer?
A. Most of our dives are drift dives in channels or over sea mounts called thilas.
Q. When is the best time to dive in Maldives?
A. Maldives is a year-round dive destination. Being far away from Bay of Bengal, cyclones are rare. Mantas (off cleaning stations) and whalesharks are sighted year-round. The best time for schooling mantas are July to mid November. Fish life is spactacular year-round. Dryer weather conditions and calmer seas in Maldives coinciding with the winter in the northern hemisphere makes January to April the busiest months.
Q. What is the visibility like?
A. Visibility depends on current and sea onditions. On a typical 250 mile tour, we have 100 foot plus visibility on some dives while on other dives they range 60 - 80 foot.
Q. How about the current?
A. Currents are always present in Maldives. The strongest currents, though, are experienced late December to mid February.
Q. In which time zone is Maldives located?
A. Maldives Standard Time is GMT + 5 hours.
Q. What is the weather like in Maldives?
A. Situated across the equator in the Indian Ocean, the climate is tropical year-round. The air temperature averages 30° Celsius (86° F). The cooling effect of the sea breezes, however, makes most days balmy and genial.
Maldives is blessed with plentiful sunshine throughout the year, the average being 7 ½ hours of sunshine a day. There are two definite seasons, characterized by the direction of the prevailing wind. The southwest season or monsoon lasts May to October. Days of fine weather is punctuated by short spells of rain and gusting winds. The northeast season or monsoon lasting December to April is dryer and the seas generally calmer. The term monsoon denoting roaring winds and rain, however, is mostly a misnomer where Maldives is concerned as the effect of monsoon experienced in India is much milder farther south in the Indian Ocean
Q. What is the water temperature like?
A. Maldives being on the tropical zone, the water temperature ranging 28° to 29° Celsius (83° to 85° Fahrenheit)
Q. How do I get to Maldives?
A. All passengers arrive into Maldives by air. International Airlines that operate scheduled flights into Male’ are Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Air, Malaysian Airlines, and Sri Lankan Airlines.
Passengers from North America usually travel to Maldives via Singapore using Singapore Airlines or via Dubai on Emirates Airline. Singapore Airlines offers a service from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Also from Newark, New York. Emirates flies from JFK, New York.
Passengers traveling from Japan use both Singapore Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.
Q. Can I bring in my own liqueur?
A. Import of liqueur, narcotics, pornography of all kinds, firearms, and idols of worship are prohibited. A large selection of alcoholic beverages is made available on our boat. If you wish to have a particular brand of drinks while on the boat, all attempts will be made to stock enough of your preferred brand provided you make the request in advance.
Q. Do I require any immunization?
A. The country is generally free from malaria, yellow or dengue fever or other similar plagues. We recommend that you consult your doctor for an update on required immunizations when traveling abroad.
Q. What travel documents do I need?
A. A passport or travel document, valid at least up to the departure date, is required for entry.
For a hassle-free check-in at the airport, it is essential that the name and initial on the airline ticket match with those on the passport.
Q. Do I need a visa to enter Maldives?
A. A 30-day free tourist visa is given on arrival at the airport.
Q. What kind of clothes should I pack?
A. "Wisdom is modesty" says a bard of Maldives. This is good advice any traveler in a foreign country may well heed. Clothes that cover shoulder-to-knee, at the very least, are a custom which must be observed and respected when visiting inhabited islands. We recommend light cotton clothes. The atmosphere on board Manthiri is always relaxed and casual. You’ll spend your days in casual wear. Bring shorts or jeans, and T-shirts. Also bring a pair of sandals, hat, suntan lotion (non-oil) and sunglasses.
Will someone meet me on arrival at Male’ Airport?
A. Our Airport Representative will meet and greet you on arrival at Male’ Airport and assist you with the necessary transfers. We have a Reception Desk in the walkway just outside of the Arrival Hall.
Do you arrange pre and post tour hotel accommodations?
A. We arrange pre and post tour hotel accommodations in Maldives. We also offer extensions to Sri Lanka and India.
Do I need travel insurance?
A. It is important for you to have adequate insurance protection whilst on holiday covering Cancellation or Curtailment up to the holiday cost, Medical and Emergency Expenses, Baggage and Personal Effects, Baggage Delay, Money and airline tickets, Diving Accidents, Personal Accident, Personal Liability, Missed Departure, Legal Expenses, and Loss of Passport.
Q. Do I need to bring an electric voltage converter or plug adaptor for my laptop or camera charger?
A. Both European Standard 220VAC outlets requiring rectangular blade plug Type G and American Standard 110VAC outlets requiring flat blade plugs of Type A & B are available in cabins and salons.
Q. What type of food is served on the boat?
A. Two expert chefs on board spoil our guests with mouth-watering meals day after day. We serve three gourmet meals a day. Snacks and fresh fruits are always available. Most meals will be a combination of Western and Eastern cuisine. A selection of beverages is always on hand; from soft drinks, juices and lemonade. Special dietary requests will be met within the confines of available means in the country.
Q. What if I get sick on board?
A. First Aid Kits and oxygen cylinders are available within easy reach. Evacuation will be made, when necessary, either to the nearest hyperbaric Chamber or to a hospital in Male’. You should have an adequate insurance cover to meet the expenses.
Q. How do I contact my family and friends while I am on board?
A. GSM cellular phones are available on board. You may rent one for a modest fee for the entire trip.
Q. Should I leave a tip to the crew?
A. Gratuities are not included in our package. You may reward the crew if you find their service worthy of a generous tip. Most of our guests leave 10 - 15% of the liveaboard cost as a tip. All collected gratuities are pooled and divided equally among the crew.
Q. What credentials do I need for diving?
A. Certification Card and log book is required as proof of your training and experience. You are required to complete and sign a standard release and waiver form prior to the commencement of diving.
Q. What skill level do I require for diving?
A. Drift diving with moderate to strong currents is the norm. To participate in our dives with currents, we recommemd that you be an experienced diver (50 dives +) with good swimming skills.
Q. Do I require a wetsuit?
A. The water temperature is 28° to 29° Celsius (83° to 85° Fahrenheit) with little variation throughout the year. Therefore, a light wetsuit is necessary. We recommend a 3mm wetsuit for protection.
Q. How is diving done from Manthiri?
A. All diving is done from the accompanying 54 foot dhoni. It has a spacious 400sq ft dive deck seating 14 divers with elbow room to spare. There is a head and two hot water showers, one of them on the deck aft. Divers are wowed by our dhoni. The dhoni is fitted with two high pressure compressors each of 450 liters (16 cfm) and a membrane-type Nitrox system.
Q. Will a dive guide assist me?
A. Certainly. All our dives are guided. We have three great dive guides on board, all of them PADI qualified. Two of them are instructors and one of them an Assistant Instructor. Between them, they have more than 10,000 dives under the belt.
Q. What is the duration and maximum depth of a dive?
A. Each dive is 60 minutes long. By law, the maximum depth for recreational diving is limited to
30 meters (98 feet). We strictly abide by this rule.
Q. Is dive training available on board?
A. A highly qualified and experienced dive instructor is available on board. Training for PADI Open Water Diver and Advance Open Water Diver is available on board.
Q. Is Nitrox available?
A. 32% enriched air fills are normally available to all certified Nitrox divers for an additional charge. The Nitrox offer, however, does not extend the range beyond the prescribed limits of 60 minute duration and the 30 meter depth. If you are not Nitrox certified, we can help you accomplish this on board. The course is US$150.00.
Q. Is dive gear available for rent?
A. Dive gear is available for rent: Scuba Pro Regulators, Tusa/Scuba Pro BCDs, Uwatec/Aladin Pro Dive Computers, Scuba Pro Dive Lamps, Masks, Fins, Snorkel, and Wetsuits. We recommend that you arrange rental prior to arrival.
Q. What diving equipment do I need to bring?
A. Our package includes tank (with DIN and Yoke-type valve), weights and belt only. The following dive equipment is required for each diver.
REQUIRED BASIC DIVE EQUIPMENT
Regulator with alternate air source
Dive Computer (just a dive watch is not considered a dive computer)
Buoyancy Compensation Device (BCD)
One primary and one backup light
MANDATORY SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Surface Sounding Device
Q. What facilities do you have on board for photographers?
A. Manthiri is well tuned to the needs of today’s digital photographer. Camera table and rinse tanks are readily available for the photographer. Moreover, the photo pro on board will be happy to help you hone your skills, regardless of the level of experience. Even novices are surprised by how much they can learn in a single trip.
Q. How can I pay for my expenses and purchases on board?
A. On board Manthiri, VISA and MASTER cards are accepted.
Q. Will I see mantas and whale sharks?
A. Mantas are sighted year-round in cleaning stations. Sometimes they are sighted in great swirling schools day after day. The best time for schooling mantas is June to October.
Whale sharks are sighted on 70% of our tours throughout the year.
Q. Do you have DVD and VCR on board?
A. We have a DVD and VCR monitor with US and European formats. We have a collection of movies on board. Feel free to bring your favorites.
Q. What can you offer for my non-diver spouse or companion?
A. Snorkeling and island visits depending on the schedule of the boat.