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Meeru Dive Write-Up - Long Post! 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:38 am Reply with quote
flip_lmb
Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 25
Hi all, we're off to Meeru in two weeks time, and plan to do our PADI Advanced Open Water certification. Here's a good write-up I found by someone whose done this.

Laters
Flip

Page 7/8: -
http://www.thedivingclub.co.uk/Newsletter/Issue%2090.pdf

This was my first time in the Indian Ocean

DIVING IN THE MALDIVES
Here I am back in dull grey England again but my thoughts are still back in the beautiful, sunny Maldives!! When the plane landed at Gatwick, the pilot cheerfully told us it was 15 degrees outside, off course the whole plane groaned as we had got used to the mid - upper 30s!!

This was my first time in the Indian Ocean - it is a real desert island destination with everyone walking everywhere bare footed. We had no newspapers either so I really felt I had escaped for a while! We were staying on the island of Meerufenfushi. We had a land villa over looking the sea which was an amazing turquoise colour. Each island is a resort - you don't get loads of different hotels on one island and the accommodation is all on one level and all separate so you have your own space.

The dive school there was run by Ocean-pro and it was so well organized - each guest gets allocated there own wet locker to hang all their dive equipment and a numbered basket. You sign up for a dive and then just put your basket of equipment outside under the relevant boat number in the morning and they put it all on the boat for you - no fetching or carrying. Everything is so relaxed there. The diving was just amazing - we took advantage of the fact our daughter wasn't with us to do as much as we could, but in the end we ended up doing even more than we intended to! Whilst there we did 11 dives (up until then we had only logged 9 - 6 in England and 3 in Mexico). We passed our Underwater Naturalist Speciality Dives, Peak Performance Buoyancy Speciality and Advanced Open Water Course.

Underwater Naturalist Speciality Dives :

For the Naturalist we had to do a theory session in the classroom and a knowledge review followed by 2 dives to identify 5 invertebrates, 5 vertebrates, 2 algae and 3 examples of symbiosis eg. fish cleaning stations. For our second dive we went to a reef called Fairy Tale - there is a sandy bottom there in about 13 meters of water where you can rest on the bottom and giant Manta Rays swim over the top of you. It was awesome and counted as one of the fish cleaning stations as they had sucker fish on their undersides cleaning off the algae. After seeing the Mantas we went on the top reef which was really beautiful.

Peak Performance Buoyancy:

We again had a classroom session plus a knowledge review to complete. We then looked at our equipment to see how we could improve stream-lining, how our weights were distributed etc. I was told I needed a new BCD! (more expense!!). Mine is too big and is causing the tank to roll. They kindly lent me one free of charge for the rest of the holiday. We then did a weight check in the lagoon and Dani (our instructor) also decided I was over weighted and took 2 kg off me, which was rather alarming as I always have trouble sinking but she said "I should be using my breathing to control my buoyancy not relying on weights and my BCD." We then had a dive in the lagoon to practice and fine tune our buoyancy. We were given tasks to do such as picking looped weights off the bottom using the end of a spoon and swimming through a suspended square - the idea being we had to control everything with our breathing. The square was only just big enough to get through if you were too high you would catch on the tank valve and too low and you would snag on your console - if you needed to go up you had to breathe in deeper and to go down breathe out more. It was really good fun and a real laugh. Then we did an ocean dive in which we had to control all assents and descents purely with our breathing and had to practice just hovering and looking at coral blocks a hand span away from your nose! This course taught me a lot and really improved my diving and made me swim a lot more stream lined which saves energy and air, and also means you are less likely to harm aquatic life by bumping in to things.

The Advanced Open Water:

This consisted of 5 dives - we were able to put one of our Buoyancy dives and one of our Naturalist dives towards this. Then there were 2 compulsory dives - deep down to 30 metres and navigation. We did a drift dive for our 5th dive. In each case there was a theory session first. For the deep dive we took a tennis ball down there to see the effects of the depth - it imploded. We also had to do some maths sums and write our name backwards to see what effect the pressure was having on us. I faired better than Chris (my husband) it only took me 5 seconds to write my whole name backwards and I got the sum right too. Chris struggled with the sum (and he's supposed to be an accountant!) and managed to spell his name wrong. I was concerned about going down to 30 metres before the dive but in fact it was absolutely fine. I was very pleased with my navigation dive. We practiced on land first. Dani made us go under a towel so we couldn't cheat and then navigate our way around the football pitch - not sure what the other guests must have thought of the strange species called a diver who stumbles around with a towel over his head!! This was followed by another session in the Lagoon. The visibility was terrible - about a metre, as it is a sandy bottom and it was a bit rough that day. The other 2 English guys said "it reminded them of England and really showed the importance of navigation!" There were 3 men in our group and one women (me) and I am proud to say I managed to navigate a straight line and a reciprocal heading, then a square with no problems at all - I was spot on and very proud of myself. Two of the men got lost and had to surface! I just kept remembering what Simon Holmes (the instructor for our open water said to me) - "whatever happens just keep your eyes firmly on the compass." I struggled when I did it for the open water but not this time - Simon I don't know if you remember me (I was the one with all the terrible foot cramps last August) but you would have been proud of me!!

The diving in the Indian Ocean is out of this world. I thought it was great in Mexico but this was far better. Dani (our instructor) said "she came to the Maldives, originally only to spend 6 months as she was working her way around the world 6 months in each location but she fell in love with the place and has been there 18 months already" and she said "it is the best diving in the world." The reefs are as close as 15 - 20 minutes on the boat (they use traditional dhonis) and the furthest we went was 50 minutes away. We saw so much life: Clown Triggerfish, Clark’s Anemonefish, Palette Surgeonfish, Moorish Idols, Forcepsfish, Chevron Butterflyfish, Scalefin Anthias, Titan Triggerfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Clown Fish, Oriental Sweetlips, Parrotfish, Boxfish, Pufferfish, Scorpion and Lion Fish, Baslets, Queen Angel Fish, Giant Clams, Sting Rays, Turtles, White Tip and Black Tip Sharks, the Manta Rays and a Leaf fish, which Dani pointed out and said were hard to find. The coral reefs were really beautiful too with lots of healthy soft corals and overhangs.

Other than diving there is not a lot to do in the Maldives. You could do island hopping but we didn't. We did go on a sunset cruise one evening where we saw a huge pod of dolphins - both Spinners and Bottlenose ones who put on a great show for us and bow-waved the boat for half an hour.

We also went to the nearby local island of Dhiffushi. Tourists are only allowed to visit at set times and not stay on local islands in order to keep them private. The locals are living a very simple life but they all seemed very happy. Every where we went they were drying their food out in the streets - fish is left to dry for a week in the sun - not sure I would like to eat it after that! We visited the local school. Schooling there is free from the age of 5 - 16. They only have to pay for their books and uniforms which get passed down through the family. The girls wear all white including their shoes - goodness knows how they stay so clean!! We were allowed to take some photos inside the school. They learn English from the age of 5! After the age of 16 if they want to learn a trade they need to go to Male (the capital). They have no universities so they would need to go to Europe, or India and most couldn't afford that. Their main income on the island is fishing or boat building. A lot of the men go to neighboring islands to work in the tourist trade and don't see their families for months on end.

Around our island you could see a lot of wild life too - Fruit bats, Crabs, Geckos, and Lizards. Baby Sharks and Sting Rays come right up to the shallows.

I would thoroughly recommend this holiday destination to divers. At the end of our visit we were given membership cards for Ocean-pro which entitle you to 5% off dives on your 2nd visit, 10% off your 3rd visit and 12% off dives there after. Ocean-pro operate on the following Maldivian Islands: Lily Beach, Veligandu, Helengeli, Velavaru, Coco Palm, Meeru, Mirihi. They also have 2 safari boats: Kamana and Sara 1. In the Red Sea they operate in Lahami Bay. Their website address is www.oceanpro-diveteam.com They were so friendly and well run and our instructor Dani was such a good teacher and very patient Why not escape England for a while and go and relax in paradise!?

Ingrid Wallace
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:03 pm Reply with quote
alexheating
Joined: 06 Dec 2009
Posts: 9
Location: burton on trent
Great report but i dont think u saw a queen angel in the indian ocean there edemic to the carribean
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:57 pm Reply with quote
jaykel
Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Derby
I think that the report is excellent and Think ALEXHEATING should just enjoy what was written instead of questioning what was said.!!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:24 pm Reply with quote
alexheating
Joined: 06 Dec 2009
Posts: 9
Location: burton on trent
jaykel wrote:
I think that the report is excellent and Think ALEXHEATING should just enjoy what was written instead of questioning what was said.!!!!



Shut up james or i will turn off ur air when were divin in meeru, wasnt be funny was just saying thats all!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:52 pm Reply with quote
1983_Sarah
Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 1040
Location: Southampton
Fab report, thanks for putting so much effort in to the explanations Smile Link for photies now working though Sad

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