A good friend and fellow marine biologist/Rescue-certified diver and I are looking to visit the Maldives in September 2014. We'd like to do a liveaboard dive trip that will enable us to see the best sites, whale sharks, mantas, etc. on a comfortable boat with good people.
-Is Sept a good time? Obviously weather is unpredictable, but is this generally suitable both condition and weather-wise? For seeing large pelagics?
-Huge boat (20+ppl) not desirable. Like to maintain consistent group the whole time, i.e. no switching-out with a mother ship.
-Great reputation, great dive instructors/DMs, great value
-No need for most $$$ option. Can anyone recommend a good value operator?
-Any "must-see" sites that are not just tourist-centric??
-What about spending a few days on land. Best spots/hotels for a couple of friends to stay? We love the water and a nice beach...who doesn't??
-Any other advice/tips/recommendations are welcome!
Thanks so much for any information from those of you who have been more recently. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so want to plan it well!