I’m going to start this post by telling you that not only was it my best ever scuba diving experience with Fulidhoo Dive Maldives, we actually saw something that not many would be able to say they’ve ever witnessed in their lives. I’m just going to say, a turtle and two sharks came aboard the boat after one of the dives. Read on to see what happened and why if I were you, I’d be considering diving with local island company, Fulidhoo Dive in Maldives.
This is a guest post by Steve aka The Aussie.
Watch our vlog of our time with Fulidhoo Dive below!
Let’s start with the facts…
1. World class diving in Maldives on a budget
It’s no secret the Maldives hosts a boat load of world class diving among its 19 atolls. What may not be so well known is the fact that this doesn’t have to come with a world class price tag. If you dive with a local island outfit you’ll not only get access to dive sites covered by the resorts but you’ll get to experience some of the local culture along the way – and save a chunk of change doing it. To get a feel for the local experience, I got underwater with Fulidhoo Dive and found out what all the fuss was about.
2. You don’t need to be experienced to dive in Maldives
Now, I’ll say right up that I’m not an ultra dive noodle with 2000 dives under my belt, I just enjoy it when I’m travelling, so when I dive, for me the experience is everything. Swimming around with 30 other people on a crowded site doesn’t float my boat, and even if the coral is mind blowing and there are fish galore, a busy dive site makes for no fun. When checking a dive shop out, it is usually one of the first questions I ask. Thankfully Fulidhoo Dive aims to take out small groups of around 6 and max’s out at 12. Check.
3. All about the vibes of a dive company in Maldives
Second on my list is the people – does the dive shop have a good vibe? I know…vibes right, what exactly is that – well, you know, is the dive shop run by I’m just too cool for you types, or sea loving, friendly divers interested in showing you the local underwater delights. Ali the co-owner of Fulidhoo Dive is a keen conservationist and has been diving since he was just 16 years old. He knows the atoll like back of his hand, and is a goldmine of local information. He’s spent years working on the luxury resorts, namely Four Seasons, and approaches diving with the same level of service as you would expect at a resort. Check 2.
4. How much is it to dive in Maldives?
Next on my list is price, is it going to break the piggy bank? Well, the Maldives is not Thailand cheap – but we’re not Thailand and that’s reflected underwater, if you’ll pardon the pun. The good news is that since the local islands opened up to tourism in 2008 (which didn’t kick in until a few years later), you can now get to those super special Maldivian dive sites previously reserved for the thousand dollar a night resort guests. So… how much per dive are we talking? Well, it starts at $200 for a pack of 3 dives and gets cheaper the more you dive. Check 3.Getting ready to dive
What’s more is that if you’re staying on a local island, not only will your diving be cheaper, but because accommodation on the local islands is significantly cheaper – we’re talking sub 100 dollars a night, you’ll have more to spend on diving. I can highly recommend Thundi Guest House where we stayed right on the beach. Arif the manager will definitely look after you.
Thundi Guest House, Fulidhoo Island
5. How good is the dive gear in Maldives?
The last thing I check out the dive gear. Is equipment in good shape, or does it look tired and run down. It’s no fun diving with kit that looks like it’s one of grandma’s hand me downs.
The good news is Fulidhoo Dive are a 5 star Padi Dive Center which means they not only have great kit that’s well looked after, but offer a 5 star dive service to boot.
Onto the actual dives.
Getting up close with the sharks!
For me it was the sharks, a Fulidhoo Dive’s speciality. I must admit, I felt rather uneasy about diving with sharks but I knew that a) this was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up, and b) I knew Ali and his team were going to look after me and that everything would be OK.
We dived at the well-known, Miyaru Kandu, a great dive that starts with a drift along a slanted reef ledge towards a channel entrance which sees dozens of grey reef and white tip reef sharks. They patrolled the waters eagerly awaiting the current to bring a meal up from the deep. And boy, they glided past with a graceful elegance, these sharks were a real treat to watch.
Another of the great bonuses of diving with Fulidhoo Dive is access to the resort dive sites. The nearby Alimatha House Reef night dive is famously known for its’ abundance of sharks due to the fact that the resort used to feed them. They’ve stopped now, for obvious reasons, but Tawney Nurse still turn up in large numbers.
The dive itself is quick drop down to 25 meters and short drift to the old feeding point.Luckily, Ali knew exactly where to touch down and wait for the passing parade of sharks. It was such a spectacular back drop: torches beaming up into the darkness like giant search lights and huge sharks patrolling up and down the reef; at times even coming right up to me with such a peaceful indifference. I had never been so up close and personal with sharks before, the tawney nurse are really puppy dogs of the ocean so for me it was a really special to dive.
Perhaps one of the memorable moments of my time on Fulidhoo came after the dive at Miyaru Kandu (Shark Channel): We weren’t on the boat more than 10 mins before Ali spotted a pack of dolphins which we tracked along the channel. They led us to a turtle and two sharks caught in a stray fishing net which they were all struggling in, a sight that I’m sure not many would have witnessed before.Ali pulled the tangled three towards the boat to set them free
Ali jumped into action and dived into the water to rescue the trio. He managed to swim down and tie off the now struggling ball of sharks and turtle and dragged them towards the end of the boat. Moments later he emerged from the water and climbed back aboard with a determined look in his eye. He pulled the netting towards the side of the boat and started trying to cut the sharks free. Ali somehow pulled the turtle onto the boat to help save it
Ali, the turtle, and the sharks were all splashing around at the end of boat while the rest of us looked on in disbelief. Finally, Ali made the last few cuts into the net, and the sharks broke free with a huge splashing flurry. Ali turned his attention to the turtle, and with all his strength managed to pull it onto the back of the boat as it flapped around. He cut the last of the netting away from the turtles’ fin he released back into the ocean – and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Hats off to Ali, his passion for protecting the ocean shone through and lit up the boat.
As we headed back to our home for the week on Fulidhoo, I couldn’t believe I had not only witnessed the greatest diving experience I have ever had, but also seeing Ali save the sharks and the turtle was just a moment I won’t ever forget.
Not only am I glad to have dived with a local island, but to have dived with Fulidhoo Dive. Ali and co-owner, Adele have brought not only passion but a real sense of welcoming their guests to their home on the beautiful Fulidhoo Island. Not only is diving half the price of a resort, they can organise accommodation as well so you don’t have to organise a thing. They also gave us a huge help when we were deciding on which other islands to visit. Our day snorkelling with Fulidhoo Dive
Because Annie couldn’t dive due to her recent punctured lung injury, Adele and Ali took us out snorkelling and to a tiny sandbank as well which was a great personalised touch for Annie to be able to experience some underwater action.Annie got to see some of the underwater life by snorkelling with Fulidhoo Dive
If you’re looking for an authentic but mind-blowing diving experience, I can 100% recommend Fulidhoo Dive in Maldives. Now, who’s ready to meet some sharks?
Remember to check out the video below of our experience with Fulidhoo Dive:
What’s your best diving experience? Let us know in the comments below.
Now check out my review of Fulidhoo island, you’ll be booking your ticket to Maldives in no time!
See my other posts about Maldives below
Thanks for reading!