The Maldives are an independent island nation in the Indian Ocean made up of 26 atolls and more than 1200 islands. With only 200 inhabited islands, this makes the Maldives a giant scuba diving destination. Let’s be absolutely honest about this: with walls and big fish, the scuba diving in the Maldives is exceptional. The people of the Maldives are incredibly hospitable. Maldives resorts vary from being sumptuous, luxurious or delightfully low key. The Liveaboard diving trips we recommend are operated by highly professional operators.
Catering to beginners and seasoned divers alike, Maldivian scuba tours are also excellent value for money. The Maldives are linked to the entire world through Velana International Airport with flights from just about everywhere. During the peak season, the Maldives can be extremely busy. We specialise in scuba diving away from the crowds. We believe that there is no point in being in your own luxury bungalow if it is one of 200 crammed onto a long pier. It is therefore vital to choose the best Maldives scuba diving tour for you.
And that is where the African and Oriental Travel Company comes in. We have two main recommendations to truly experience the best scuba diving in the Maldives. The liveaboard vessel “Blue Force One”, based out of Male, operates “the best of the Maldives” charters. And for shore based diving, this has to be with Aqua Venture; diving at Addu Atoll in the south.
Blue Force One – The Ultimate Maldives Liveaboard
The MV Blue Force One is a premium liveaboard dive boat. It takes the Maldives resort concept, and transports it around the islands and Atolls. It has a spacious upstairs bar, a large outdoor restaurant and an enormous air conditioned lounge with comfortable sofas. There are two jacuzzi pools and an enormous “chill out” area. In addition to this, the top sundeck is massive. All of her cabins are large, and more reminiscent of hotel rooms with excellent bathrooms, than a ships cabin.
The food is excellent and varied, with pre-dive tea and biscuits, breakfast, lunch, afternoon cake and tea, and finally dinner. Before dinner there are aperitifs to be had in the rooftop bar.
The Diving ‘Dhoni’ (tender) for the Maldives Blue Force One is so large that when we first boarded it, we thought this was the actual liveaboard. It has a sundeck so that the occasional 45 minute rides to a dive site, can be just as much fun as being on board Blue Force One!
The dive guides are a mixture of excellent Maldivian and Spanish divers. They know their reefs and they know their clients. Every diver is guided within a small group. All diving is done to a high standard, but no one tells you what to do. It is always your choice.
When Blue Force fleet built this vessel, they really went to town on her. And when Blue Force fleet hired the crew for this vessel, they got the best people in the Maldives!
Central Atolls Classic Route
This is the best known route in the Maldives. It has the ease of departing from Hulumale, the airport island.
Once on board the Blue Force One, the typical route is to steam to and dive on the following Atolls: North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, Felidhoo and South Male Atoll. This route is operated for 10 months a year (from August to May) with weekly departures. Blue Force really do know every detail, atoll, passage, seasonal change and pinnacle on the route. They know when to change dive site, and when to dive the site. This 7-night itinerary includes 6-dive days. That is around 18 dives (with 2-night dives).
On the Central Atolls Classic Route, you should see: grey reef sharks, white-tip reef sharks, black-tip reef sharks, and if you are lucky, hammerhead sharks and dolphins. We often see whale sharks and eagle rays. You will always see schools of colourful fish, moray eels, tuna, gild-headed breams, groupers and turtles.
The Maldives Central Atolls Classic Route involves drift dives in gin clear passages, and diving on submerged coral sea mounts known locally as “Thila”. If you are lucky you will see the Manta cleaning stations where big mantas gather together to be cleaned by tiny cleaner wrasse. There are also chances to snorkel with whale sharks. You will also be able to dive a few purposely sunk, but quite impressive wrecks.
In addition to all of this, you’ll be able to participate in two of the most spectacular night dives in the world: one with mantas and the other with dozens of nurse sharks. You’ll have lunch on a Desert Island and once Covid restrictions are lifted you will be able to visit traditional Maldivian fishing villages.
The Blue Force One has 2 Jacuzzis on board, 2 kayaks, and some paddle SUP’s. All in all, the Maldives Central Atolls Classic Route dive safari is mind blowing.
Blue Force 1 Central Atolls classic Route Itinerary
Day 1 (Friday): ARRIVAL MALE (Velana Airport)
Arrival at Male airport, transfer to a deluxe guest house, have dinner and sleep.
This is your chance to walk around the island of Hulumale; a newly reclaimed island with stunning beaches, low rise houses and friendly people. Grab a few last supplies and enjoy the local smiles.
Day 2 (Saturday) EMBARKATION DAY
Spin back to Male Airport to be met by the Blue Force Fleet team. You will be transferred to their Dhoni for the transfer to the vessel MALDIVES BLUE FORCE ONE. This is a day of checking paperwork, filling in forms, arranging your gear on the Dhoni,paying the local fees in US Dollars and let’s be honest, a load of briefings. The team are great, but have a beer and enjoy dinner.
Day 3 to 8 (Sunday to Friday): CENTRAL ATOLLS CLASSIC ROUTE
The route will go through North Male, South Male, Felidhoo and Ari Atolls. The daily dive programme for certified divers includes day dives, night dives and the possibility of snorkelling and diving with Whale Sharks (total: 18 dives per week). For non-divers we will offer different activities such as snorkel tours, kayaking, paddle & SUP boards. If the weather and logistics allow, we will have a BBQ lunch on a desert island and will visit a fishing village. On Friday afternoon we will anchor next to Male island and so, we will have the option to make a guided visit to Male.
Day 8 (Saturday): DISEMBARKATION DAY – MALE AIRPORT
Disembark at Male Airport at 07.00 am. If the return flight leaves in the afternoon there is a day hotel option near the airport, and even free time to optionally visit Male until the time of your return flight.