• Maldives 2024: Check Out The After Trip Report!

Maldives 2024: Check Out The After Trip Report!

Check Out The Maldives After Trip Report Below!!

Mantas, Whalesharks, Turtles, Octopus, Schooling fish, and More! The Maldives is one of the top dive destinations on the planet. Drift over channels, linger over pinnacles or drop-offs, and explore valleys of coral crowded with fish. Located Southwest of India, the Maldives consists of countless reefs and 1,190 islands with nearly a thousand uninhabited. This is one of the most exciting places for fish photography and nearly a perfect year-round dive destination!

The Manthiri is a beautiful 85-foot liveaboard vessel that is custom-designed for dive cruises. The wide beam of 25 feet contributes toward a stable hull and allows for spacious cabins. A separate dive tender, called a dhoni, provides space for all dive gear, compressors, and Nitrox systems. With over 26 years of experience, the Manthiri has the most experienced boat and dive crew that ensures every need is met. 


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Maldives 2024: After Trip Report

Pictures and Report By: Laura Kozel


The Maldives is one of the top dive destinations on the planet and it did not disappoint! I couldn’t remember when I’ve had such fun in good company with such amazing dives! As soon as the Maldives trip ended, I was planning to return. Between the amazing food, crew of the Manthiri Liveaboard, the amazing fish hordes, sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and beautiful corals, it was the best trip I have ever been on.



In February 2024, eleven of us from the Aquatic Specialties dive shop spent nine days diving on the Manthiri Liveaboard in the Maldives. I had to look up where the Maldives was at first and found it South of India! This meant a long trip, which involved a 12 hour flight, an 8 hour layover in Doha airport (easily bearable in the airport lounge), which is in Qatar, and then a final 5 hour flight to Male, the capital of Maldives. Located Southwest of India, the Maldives is an archipelago made up of 1190 small coral islands and sandbanks grouped in clusters, or atolls, in the Indian Ocean.



This trip was spent traveling around a central set of atolls, staying put at night and moving between dives during the day. Our first dive was around 7am after our “pre-breakfast” and we would spend the time between dives eating (again) or talking and processing pictures on the beautiful upper decks as we passed beautiful water and resorts among the atolls. The food was absolutely plentiful and amazing on this Liveaboard as we ate family style at two large tables.



I had been concerned about the currents and depth of the dives as well as the fact I was not experienced with my SMB (surface marker buoy) or reef hook. Our Divemaster, Moosa Hassan, who has well over 12,000 dives, supported us and kept us well prepared for each dive. Although I typically use an 80 cubic foot tank, I took a 100 and didn’t even notice the difference but it gave me a piece of mind and I didn’t want to have to surface early due to low air. I also got plenty of practice with the SMB, which is important and absolutely needed (anywhere in my opinion) as one time I was separated from my partner with the surface currents and ended up 100 yards away! Waiting to be picked up by the excellent crew and floating in the beautiful water was a joy.

Moosa joked about the “UMS” or “usual Maldives stuff” we’d see on our 24 dives, which was amazing in itself. There is a surgeon fish that turns from white to black as it leaves a cleaning station, tons of clown triggerfish, huge parrotfish, multiple varieties of boxfish, thousands of bluestripe yellow snappers, red fire gobies, oriental sweetlips, octopus, a strange unicorn fish, voluminous blue triggerfish, and multiple types of sharks including white tip, black tip, bull and spinners among many others.

We would end a dive and say “nothing could top that” only to be surprised on the very next one. We saw a huge manta ray on our very first dive and the second day, went to a manta ray cleaning station where we had around six of them swimming over our heads for the entire hour. They were also curious about us and would often linger inches overhead! We also came up with a new Octopus rule…if you come across two octopus the last 10 minutes of a dive, you can stay just a few minutes over the hour!

The water was over 80F with good visibility the entire time. All diving was done from the companion boat Vasantha, called a dhone (DOE-nee). A dhone is common to all Liveaboards in the Maldives and is where all the dive gear (except cameras) is kept. A wonderful extra was the two outdoor showers onboard, which were fun and made it simple to clean up after dives. Another great service was that you could hand your diving clothes to the crew once onboard the Manthiri and have your clothes cleaned prior to the next dive. As far as crowds, probably 80% of the time we had the place to ourselves; however, there were also a few spots where we were joined by other groups, sometimes from another Liveaboard, sometimes from a nearby resort. This was the case one evening when we were anchored and visited by no less than three whale sharks! We all hopped into the water to snorkel with them as they circled and kept coming up near out boat for hours.


Although we had seen evidence of coral bleaching in Belize and Roatan at the end of 2023, we did not see it in the Maldives. The corals were as beautiful and varied as the fish. We had several dives focused on coral gardens, which still had the “UMS” including manta rays and hundreds of fish that lived amongst them!



The final days in Male harbor were another example of ridiculously great dives as we dove twice (per our request) at “The Zoo” near a tuna factory, which over the years attracted enormous numbers of rays and multiple types of sharks. We were surrounded by black, grey and spotted stingrays and once I looked down to see a Shovelnose ray which looks like a cross between a ray and a shark, gliding by! Just another “normal” day diving in the Maldives. Others in our group got “swarmed” as they were surfacing and were absolutely surrounded by the rays.

The Manthiri may not be the most luxurious boat, but it is comfortable, has a beautiful upper deck, and the crew and Divemasters, food and service were absolutely amazing – I am planning a return!

Package Includes:    

  • Airport transfers in Male
  • 10 Days/9 Nights aboard the Manthiri based on double occupancy February 6th-15th
  • Approximately 3 to 4 Dives per day and night diving (First and last days 2 dives per day)
  • Meals, bottled water, coffee, tea, and juice (Alcoholic and soft drinks are for sale.)  
  • Tanks and weights
  • 16% Food/Services Tax
  • Green Tax - $6 per day

Airfare is not included in the package price. You are welcome to book your own air or we can book it for you. 

Additional Costs:   

  • Airfare (Around $1,200 - $1,900 depending on when you purchase)
  • Last day on the boat if you have an evening flight ($90)
  • Hotel stay before or after the trip - If needed
  • Nitrox
  • Crew Gratuity
  • Soda, beer, wine, hard liquor
  • A possible $300 Fuel/food surcharge collected on the boat
  • Personal purchases
  • Meals in transit
  • Trip insurance - Visit Dive Assure for a quote
  • Transit to and from the Boston airport - If needed

The hard-working crew of the Manthiri invites you to join Aquatic Specialties on this dive trip of a lifetime!

Package Price

  • Maldives Transfers & Boat Package Credit Card Payment $4,910 Cash or Check $5,080 Credit Card
    (Airfare is not included in price: $1,200-$1,900 depending on when you purchase)
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy
  • Non-refundable unless the spot is sold. A 6% service charge will be assessed for all refunds.
  • Prices may increase or decrease slightly due to fuel surcharges, taxes, etc.
  • Payments are non-refundable unless the spot is sold

 Trip Insurance is Highly Recommended!

Payment Schedule

Initial Deposit - $1,000 - Due at sign-up

Payment #2 - $1,500 Due - August 1, 2023

Payment #3 - $1,500 Due - October 1, 2023

Final Payment Due - December 1, 2023

Payments are non-refundable unless the spot is sold.

Please check your passport to make sure that it has not expired and that it has at least 6 months left from the return date.

Since the trip to Male is tiring resulting in jet lag, some of us are leaving on Friday, February 2, and arriving on Sunday, February 4 to spend 2 days at Bandos Island Resort in order to decompress before boarding the boat on February 6. This is not included in the trip cost. You may reserve at  (https://bandosmaldives.com/v2/book-advance-and-save/). 

We are departing the boat on Thursday, February 15. 



Qatar Flight Information

            Other cities are available.



Depart February 24, Arrive February 26, 2021

Depart Flight Time Arrive Arrival Time
Boston QR0744 10:10pm Doha 5:55pm
Doha QR0674 12:40am Male 7:30am


Depart Male, March 9, Arrive Boston March 10, 2021

Male QR673 8:55pm Doha 11:55pm
Doha QR0743 7:50am Boston 1:40pm


Note:  Flight times and prices are subject to change.



Manthiri Liveaboard Contact information in the Maldives

Telephone: 011 (960) 332-5634                                      Fax: 011 (960) 332-5633

Website: www.manthiriliveaboard.com                           Email: manthirimaldives@dhivehinet.net.mv

Best Phone Number: Boat Phone (Moosa): 011-960-790-5081


Manthiri Liveaboard: The 85 feet-long by 25 feet wide Manthiri is custom designed for the optimal dive experience but also for comfort. The vessel's exceptionally wide beam minimizes rocking motion and spacious cabins for twelve guests. Cabin configurations consist of four cabins with two twin beds and two cabins with one queen-size bed.


All cabins have private bathrooms with hot water showers, convenient hair dryers, individually controlled air-conditioning, and minibars. There’s plenty of storage in every cabin including a locker and drawers for clothes and luggage stowage.


Manthiri’s teak-paneled salon is one of the largest found on any vessel of this size. This lounge area is furnished with six sofas, a music system, DVD player, and multi-system TV/VCR with video camera viewing capabilities. The camera salon is equipped with a well-lit workstation, spacious tables to store cameras, and ample 230V and 110V power outlets. Manthiri has been outfitted by professionals with underwater photographers in mind.


Manthiri’s top deck is arranged to accommodate both sun worshippers and shade seekers. Deck chairs are ideally placed for soaking in the rays, icy drink in hand, or stargazing in the evening. For full details and pictures of the boat visit their website at www.manthiriliveaboard.com.


The Manthiri has a separate, specially outfitted dive boat, called a dhoni. The 54-foot Dhoni provides a home for the compressors, Nitrox system, and dive gear. It also has a full bathroom with shower and one outside shower. Four people can giant stride into the water at one time and there is a very stable ladder to get back on the boat. The dive crew does a great job ensuring a fun and safe dream dive vacation.


Food: Meals are provided on the boat. Water, juices, coffee, and tea are included. Alcoholic and soft drinks are for sale. If you need special meals or have allergies, please contact us ahead of time so they can accommodate you. Soft drinks and beer are $4 + 16% tax; bottle of wine is $30 + 16% tax.


Electricity: British Standard 220VAC outlets require rectangular blade plug type G and American Standard 110VAC outlets require flat blade plug type A & B. At the hotels you will need an adaptor/converter.


Money: Local currency is Rufiyaa. In the Maldives, the U.S. Dollar is accepted as well as credit cards. The boat accepts only MasterCard and Visa 3.5% will be added to all credit card transactions. Tipping needs to be in cash. Everything else you are welcome to put on your credit cards for example in transit meals, nitrox, soda, beer, wine, and personal purchases. Please bring new clean money. They cannot accept torn, written on, or tattered money. Must be newer bills. $1 bills are no longer accepted.


Fuel Surcharge: “Due to the huge increase in fuel prices in recent months In the wake of the Ukraine war and substantial increase in food costs as well, we are compelled to levy a fuel surcharge of US$ 175/person/tour effective 1st January 2023. The surcharge will be collected at the end of each tour. However, the fuel surcharge shall be withdrawn if and when fuel prices return to pre-war levels.”


Climate: Mid-80s to 90 degrees F


Internet Access: If you want internet access you will need to purchase a SIM card 14-day plan at the Male airport Teleshop store. Go to the right as you walk out of baggage claim. Estimated $32 for 17GB, $50 for 30GB. Note prices are subject to change. Note your phone must be unlocked.


Phones on the Boat: There is a phone available on the boat if you need to make calls to the U.S. Cost is

$0.35 per minute, and you can settle up with them at the end of the trip. Note price is subject to change.


Time Zone: 9 to 10 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time depending on Daylight Savings Time.


Laundry Service: Daily laundry service is provided on the boat free of charge.


Dress: Casual light cotton clothes, polo shirts, t-shirts, and shorts. A sweatshirt or light jacket if you are one to get cold. The climate tends to be hot. Ladies this is a Muslim country so covering your shoulders and thighs is recommended when traveling on land. You will not need a lot of clothes on the boat, mostly bathing suits and t-shirts. There is laundry service on the boat so you can pack light.


You cannot bring: Liqueur, narcotics, firearms, idols of worship, and porn to the Maldives. You can purchase liqueur in the Maldives and on the boat.


Departure Tax: Included in the ticket.


Proof of Citizenship: Must have a valid Passport with at least 6 months remaining before expiration. Bring a copy of your passport with you. You will get a 30-day Visa at the airport. Make sure your first and last names are the same on your tickets and Passport.


Medicine: If you need medication, bring it. Make your own first aid kit: aspirins, decongestants, cough drops, Band-Aids, motion sickness pills, suntan lotion, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium AD, contact lens solutions, and anything else you will need. Do not expect to find it on the boat.


COVID Travel Requirements: Current information is on our website www.massdiving.com/manthiri. No Covid test or vaccination is required.


Travel Clinic Information: No malaria, yellow or dengue fever, or any other plague. Check the CDC’s website for recommended shots at www.cdc.gov.


Traveler Health Declaration Form: www.imuga.immigration.gov.mv Must be filled out starting 96 hours prior to USA departure.


What you need to bring to the Airport: QR Code from Traveler Health Declaration, Passport, Manthiri trip voucher. A vaccine card is recommended but not required.


Maldives Covid Insurance: www.myallied.mv/type/inbound-allied/new - No longer required, optional


Flight Information: Check your tickets for your flight information and baggage allowances.

Oryx Hotel in Doha: www.oryxairporthotel.com    +974(4010-8100)     reservation@oryxairporthotel.com


Lost Luggage: In case your luggage gets lost or delayed and you are bringing more than one suitcase, I would pack some clothes and dive gear in both, so you at least have some clothes and gear on the boat in case only one bag makes it.


Pickup and Drop Off Times: On the day of your charter, a staff member from the Manthiri will greet you at the international airport around 9am. On the last day passengers get off the boat at 9am and drop you off at the airport.


Certification Card: A must to dive!!! Need Nitrox Card for Nitrox Tanks Water Temperature: 82 to 86 degrees F

Water Visibility: Averages 60 to 100 + feet


Water Movements:   Currents will vary; most dives will have current. Strong currents = more fish! Everyone needs to bring a reef hook.


Dive Site Locations: December to May: Southern Area  June to November: Northern Area


Diving: Whale Sharks are seen 90% of the time. Mantas are very abundant. Also, there are large varieties of fish and pristine coral formations.


Dive Package: Average 3 to 4 dives per day. Night diving is also available on certain nights. Tanks/weights are supplied.


Nitrox Tanks: Nitrox is available for an additional $10 for 32% per tank or 9 nights for $185.00 for the trip. 10 nights trip is $205.00. Note prices are subject to change.


Tipping: Bring money for tipping the dive staff, excursion guides, luggage handlers and hotel staff. Note: Tipping is a personal preference, not a requirement. The usual tipping for a live aboard is 10% to 15% of the charter fee. The average tip is between $400-$500 +. Cash needs to be newer bills, no writing on them and not torn. Keep in mind the crew works 24 hours a day for us, they feed us, dive with us, clean our rooms, and more. You are welcome to tip more or less depending on your evaluation of the level of service.


Trip Insurance and DAN Insurance: Highly recommended.


Recompression Chambers: There 3 hyperbaric chambers in the Maldives and are located at Bandos Island Resort in Kaafu Atoll, Kuramathi Island Resort in Ari Atoll and Kuredu Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll.




Recommended things to bring:


Regulator with octopus and dive computer                                            Safety Sausage**

Exposure Suit: Rash Guard, Dive Skin, Shorty or 3mm Full                 Surface Sound - Dive Alert, Whistle**

Lightweight Gloves (not recommended)                                                 Reef Hook**

Buoyancy Compensator                                                                         Knife (not required)

Mask, Snorkel, Fins, and Boots (if needed for fins)                                Logbook

Tank Light (for night diving)                                                                    Spare Parts Kit

Dive Light with extra batteries and bulb                                                  Sunglasses

Movies/DVDs, games                                                                             Plus, any other personal gear

Electric adaptor/converter, power strip                                                   Face Covering for airports

Camera Equipment and Film/SD Card                                                   **Required


Recommended Wetsuit: All depends on your tolerance for coldness. Divers have worn dive skins, rash guards, shorty or 3mm to 5mm full suit. You are better off bringing multiple combinations so if you need it, you have it.


Tanks Onboard: 80 and 100 cu. ft. DIN and Yoke


Rental Reservations: Rent from your local dive shop or contact us ahead of time to reserve your equipment on the boat. Rental prices are on our website.



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