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Yasawa Princess (Maldives) - 30th Jan - 13th Feb 2012 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:33 pm Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
The background
Dates - 30th Jan - 13th Feb 2012
Booked With - Desert Island Cruises
Flights - Sri-Lankan Airways from Heathrow (direct)
Camera's used - Canon 600d & Panasonic TZ7 with underwater case & external strobe.

This was my 5th trip to the Maldives but my first on a live aboard and also the first time on my own (sent with lots of love from the wife as a diving holiday). Previous islands I have stayed at are Meeru, Bandos, Kuramathi & Biyadhoo. Did lots of research & found that if I really wanted to see bigger tropical marine life, then a trip around the North & South Atolls on a live aboard was the best way to go.

The journey
Flight was delayed 45 minutes leaving due to it landing late and we eventually took to the air at around 22:15. Once on board, settled down & watched movies on my iPad as the in house entertainment system is pretty poor. The guy I sat next too was also traveling on his own & spending 2 weeks on a different live aboard so we had plenty to chat about. The meals were OK & being a curry-holic, I had curry for dinner & breakfast.

After breakfast, it wasn't long until the Atolls started to appear like tear drops in the ocean.







Passport control & luggage pickup was all done within 25min & upon exiting the airport, there was a gentlemen standing just outside with a sign saying Yasawa Princess. This was Ravi, the current guest relations manager who had only been on board since Xmas. We were still waiting for 3 more guests so I had a chance to pop into the mobile shop to pick up a broadband sim for my laptop/iPad.

After 15 minutes we were on our way to the Yasawa Princess which was moored around 15 minutes from the airport.

There she blows


Upon arrival I greeted by Helen & Gary, and Travis who I had been chatting to on TA prior to the holiday. Helen had a cold beer waiting for me. After cold towels & a refreshing mocktail, we were given our briefing before being taken to our rooms. I had room 19 on the A deck.



The ship
The Yasawa Princess is a good looking ship from a distance, but old & rustic yet full of character. Sure she has a few problems which we experienced but nothing too exciting. The generator went down a couple of times but only for a couple of hours. The water was always hot although a little on the brown side sometimes, but if you let the tap run, then it clears up. To be honest, you get the same in places like Egypt & Goa. AC worked fine.

The food
Plenty of choice to eat. Chef cooks eggs in the morning & he always put in fresh chilli's in my omelette. Lunch & dinner were fine with plenty of choice. I'm a bit of a curry-holic so I asked the chef if he could make me some nice spicy curries which he did quite happily. In fact, some of the guests would come up to me & ask if there was a reason I was getting special treatment as I was getting a different meal to everyone else. One of the funniest moments was when Chef brought me out a curry for breakfast .... Should have seen the look on everyone else's face. Sunday nights were my favorite where the theme was Maldivian night. You guessed it ..... More curry ..... And plenty to choose from!!!



The staff
This is where the Yasawa Princess really excels. The staff just can not do enough for you. From Harish, Manic & Sharm behind the bar, to the room boys (Mohammed) & the Fira in the dive center, Amir & Toto on the Dhoni, Ravi in customer relations (who does try his hardest) and of course the amazing Captain Ahmed who is one of the most genuine persons I have ever met .... All superb!!!!



I have to give a very special mention to Fira in the dive center. He was more like a friend I had known for a long time rather than a dive guide. On a trip to one of the local islands, Fira invited me to break away from the group & have some local food & tea with him in a cafe. Also, on the excursion to Male, Fira invited me to his home, we had home made fish curry followed by a personal tour of Male on the back of his Motorbike. Things like this make a holiday special & give you something to remember.

The diving
This was the main reason I came. Although I've been to the Maldives plenty of times staying on resorts, the diving can restrict you to visits to reefs that only surround the island. In week 1 the Yasawa Princess toured the North Atolls followed by the South Atolls in week 2. The choice of dive sites was amazing & I was not disappointed. Fisa did his best to visit places where we could see the big stuff!!!

The coral was amazing




There were only 4 of us diving in the 2 weeks so we were really spoilt. A special mention to my diving companions, Graham, Donald & the amazing underwater arse pincher ... Aka, Flo.

Lots of sharks!!!





And plenty of Turtles of the flying type


With lots of opportunities for close ups



Morays


Clown Fish



And amazing marine life of all types, sizes & colours






Manta's


Some times you would see ghosts


I've always wanted to swim with a Whale Shark. Our dive guide Fira did his best to find one & we were not disappointed.





I would say that she was around 8 - 9m long & hung around for a while.



Although the Whale Shark is one off the bucket list for me, there was one other breath taking sight that I will never forget. Upon decending during the start of a dive, my dive guide went crazy & started to point upwards. What I saw I can only describe as a once in an opportunity sighting .... 7 Sailfish gracefully flew over us.




The activities
There was a daily itinerary put up on the notice board to let everyone know what was happening. Sometimes it had to change due to weather, resorts islands being full or flights being delayed. Many of the guests fully understood that these things happen & we went with the flow, but there were always some guests (mainly in our second week that would make a song & dance about it). This slightly annoyed me as the staff do try very hard.

Daily visits to deserted sandbanks


Night fishing was fun & some of the guests caught some huge Red Snappers.
The bait & the catch


Local visits to the islands were interesting & you got to see a little bit of the local widlife.


There was even a curry cooking demonstration where chef let me cook my own curry ... with extra chilli's of course


And there was always a free sunset show every evening with amazing colours




Some clouds formed shapes .... may be a plane coming in for landing or a shark????

We did have a couple of days of rain but this is always followed by what I call the milk pond effect where the sea turns still & calm.



The company
I'm a very social person & love to meet & mix with different people. One thing that really makes a holiday is the people you meet and I was blessed with meeting some amazing fellow guests. We all bonded so well & every night was a party night with a laugh a minute. I have to mention the following guests who I will never forget: -

Helen & Gary from Wigan
Jenny & Allan from Wales
Evelyn & Donald from Scotland
Dave & Sara
Graham & Brenda
Travis & Melanie from Edmonton, Canada
Hue, Lindsay & Susie



We had great fun singing & dancing, and the night BBQ's under the stars were brilliant.


The summary
The Maldives is a beautiful place & the Yasawa Princess gave me the opportunity to see more of it. The Sunsets were amazing, the marine life was stunning & I couldn't have asked for better company. Would I return? .... Most definatley & I've already started to look at dates & prices for next year. Thank you for reading & feel free to ask any questions.



Regards Chas.


Last edited by Chas & Maxi on Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:52 am; edited 9 times in total

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Kuramathi - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8512&highlight=
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:17 pm Reply with quote
maidindevon
Joined: 20 May 2009
Posts: 158
Location: Now in Poole, Dorset
Great report chas, amazing photos.

Am interested to know how this holiday compares pricewise to Meeru, do you mind telling ?

Thanks

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:37 pm Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
Ai Ali, I've sent you a PM

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Trips Reports
Kuramathi - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8512&highlight=
Meeru/Bandos - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5622&highlight=
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:37 pm Reply with quote
maidindevon
Joined: 20 May 2009
Posts: 158
Location: Now in Poole, Dorset
Thanks Chas
Tempted Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:48 pm Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6177
Location: Leeds, UK
What totally awesome photos Shocked.

And those very special encounters will stay with you forever. Whale shark one must have been thrilling and that Marlin formation is something else again!

Great stuff, thanks so much for posting this report.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:34 am Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
Many thanks James.

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Trips Reports
Kuramathi - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8512&highlight=
Meeru/Bandos - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5622&highlight=
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:33 am Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
Going back in the last 2 weeks of Jan 2013 .... only 25 weeks to go .... sigh!!

My mission this time .... to find Hammerhead Sharks.

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Trips Reports
Kuramathi - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8512&highlight=
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:13 am Reply with quote
CalebPierce
Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Posts: 6
How about trying croisière plongée socorro here in the philippines. I say, It is really amazing .. Got a lot of cool diving sites
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Yasawa Princess (Maldives) - 30th Jan - 13th Feb 2012 
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