We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Maldives manta diving in November

Newcastle
Level Contributor
38 posts
21 reviews
Save Topic
Maldives manta diving in November

I'm looking for the best diving in the Maldives in November (17th to 2nd December) in the hope of having my first manta encounter.

We've dived liveaboard before and it was amazing but would prefer an itinerary that is weighted towards manta dive site areas. I'd prefer to dive with people of a similar level so we increase the chance of diving the sites for more advanced divers rather than just the local reefs so not sure whether day diving with a resort dive centre will be the best option.

Our primary reason for visiting the Maldives is to dive. Everything else, including the resort, is secondary, though a good house reef and dive centre is important. We have a maximum of budget £2k to £3k each and are travelling from the UK.

Having researched and contacted various places for info over the last two weeks, we've been recommended Baa Atoll, Ari Atoll, liveaboards, day diving and I'm a little confused to say the least.

I understand that Hani Faru is closed to divers for conservation reasons, so not sure whether we should look somewhere other than Baa Atoll.

Can anyone provide any pointers that might help me narrow down the options?

Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
14,044 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

baa atoll is old information since the primary manta site there is hanifaru bay - as your own research has shown, hanifaru bay is now off limits for diving. the rest of baa atoll features fairly unremarkable diving in comparison to ari

the ari atoll is always your best option for diving .. best manta and whaleshark options are in the south.

you will never be able to dive with just "people of similar level" unless you find just divers personally approved by you and charter a liveaboard to yourselves.

especially with manta sites , attempting to find technically difficult sites would be cutting your own flesh in multiple ways and leave a ragged edge ^^ first of all ... manta sites are shallow ...i am sure you are aware that manta are plankton feeders . the plankton is dependent on sunlight - ergo .. the more shallow, the more plankton .. thats where the manta and whaleshark feed.

as for cleaning sites .. they also tend to be in less than 20 meters and little current. why would you want a difficult site and make conditions hard on yourself unless there is something spectacular to see? unless you are superdiverman, you will be cutting your own dive and experience short - even if the circumstances scare some less skilled divers back to the boat .. and manta are not likely to hang out at depth or heavy current or marginal lighting or inside caves, etc etc

"just the local reefs"? um.. where else would you want to go for manta encounters ... or sightings of any kind? i am seriously curious ..

i would cnsider myself a fairly experienced diver with 2000plus logged dives between antarctica and norway , a good few hundred dives all over the maldives .. but i have never, ever seen any reason nor justification for diver-snobbery in the maldives. you simply go and do your own thing with a buddy of similar experience level or hang with a diveinstructor .. why would it matter if another buddy pair is out of air after 30 minutes?

in conclusion, i have been on a few liveaboards in the maldives but i still prefer diving out of the resort. mirihi is by far the best island for divers but looks out of your budget range unless you find an awesome deal. not sure if athuruga fits ... angaga should, however fit your budget and would certainly not disappoint your diving expectations .. and short of that , vilamendhoo would be the budget option.

Edited: 28 October 2012, 15:15
Newcastle
Level Contributor
38 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

Hi Spammie.

Thanks for replying. You’ve put me right on a few things. My post wasn't intended to be snobby or to offend, more due to lack of accurate info. That’s why it’s always good to consult the experts.

In my experience (nowhere near as extensive as yours), we've sometimes been limited to the choice of dive sites and dive time due to the experience of the group we dived with. I assumed, quite wrongly, that the best chance to see manta would be at dive sites that were further afield and/or more challenging. Hence, the question on day diving versus liveaboard. Perhaps this is due to the destinations we've dived previously.

It sounds like day diving is an option and it’s good to know that the local sites mean we don’t have to push ourselves towards more strenuous diving, as I’m all for an easy life underwater.

As your info suggests, it is a difficult choice to make. Not having been to the Maldives before, we want to make sure we make the best choice based on our budget, as this is probably our one shot at a diving holiday here.

I'll check out your recommendations.

Thanks!

Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
14,044 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

hi again ... you are totally right of course ...taking it easy and relaxed makes for a long , awesome dive.

as far as length ... most maldivian divecenters will limit the dives to 60 minutes... so if you are presumably among the most economical on your air , you still get prompted to ascend after that time.

the only island i am familiar with that goes longer, is mirihi. here, 75 mins is the normal guideline , 90 minutes at the manta cleaning site (because its shallow and most people just hang out in one spot to watch the spectacle and barely move ) .. but - as long as the diveinstructor is aware that you are experienced and conservative on gas consumption, you never get chased out of the water by a mirihi diveinstructor with an annoying 100 bar still in your tank :)

i would also very warmly recommend angaga .. it has a very good housereef and access to the same fantastic sites as mirihi - on a (much) lower budget.

Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
14,044 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

i forgot to say ... when you look into islands, don't forget to check if they offer nitrox. i presume you are nitrox qualified ? if not , i would most certainly recommend it before you go . many resorts offer nitrox for free and it makes such a big difference

Hertford, United...
Level Contributor
183 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

You could try looking at scubascuba.com who operate a very good liveaboard and have a very good knowledge of the Maldives and the likely hood of where Mantas are through-out the year. I have been with them on 6 trips and dived Mantas every time. Plus you can just go off and dive and do your own thing...just pop up an SMB at the end of the dive and they will pick you up. You are not tied to a group and your free to dive your own dive.

sg2
Brighton, United...
Destination Expert
for Marsa Alam
Level Contributor
4,109 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

Sky5

Are you saying scubascuba allow self reliant diving(solo) ie no buddy which i seem to recall is totally against most diving association guidelines or did you mean you and your buddy are allowed to "guide" yourself rather than follow the pack, :-)

sg

Hertford, United...
Level Contributor
183 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

Hi SG2

They allow you to go off in a buddy pair and ''guide'' yourself if you want to do that.....or if you travel alone, like I do and I enjoy photography, I am allowed to ''hang at the back'' as it where...... I might want to spend 30 or so minutes trying to get a specific shot at one location, or at one creature, so that's no fun for a buddy (especially for one I have never met before) and I don't expect for anyone to have to endure me being a pain and ruining other peoples dives. So when I dive with them, they know I am out there to take pictures and I don't really want to have a buddy......so I just say I will hang at the back and pop up an SMB when I am done.

Edited: 29 October 2012, 14:18
Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
14,044 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

goodness , Sky .. with all due respect ... you actually recommend that as a good outfit ? i realize not wanting to saddle a buddy with being forced to indulge in your hobby but i cannot understand why a staff member didn't buddy with you. what you describe sounds shockingly reckless to me .. and i don't exacly consider myself to be timid or a novice.

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2,286 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

Nicky, for what its worth, my very first padi OW dive was from Meeru to a Manta site ( Feb and no house reef, a cleaning station I think) no current , a few metres down , Manta soup ! and we snorkelled there , after the dive,

Hertford, United...
Level Contributor
183 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Maldives manta diving in November

There has always been an age old debate regarding solo diving, with valid points for and against. I do not believe that solo diving is reckless or shocking at all, providing a certain criteria is met and parameters are set.

The current buddy system can be argued that it is flawed, the idea that your buddy you are going to be partnered up with is going to be well matched, and will be skilled and aware enough to either recognise a diver in trouble and have the knowledge and skill set to help or rescue. The chances of this on the majority of boats, in reality, for a randomly assigned buddy is remote.

Solo diving is a proper form of SCUBA, based on good planning and self-sufficiency, training and the correct mindset. I totally understand other views and the objections that are raised, and it's not for everyone, but there are many divers, mainly photographers that do prefer to be allowed to dive alone.

I am an instructor with 4 figure number of dives, totally aware of the dangerous etc, but I ensure I am self reliant and believe I am safer knowing my own skills, equipment and capabilities, rather than relying on someone I have never met and potentially has 25 dives under their belt.