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Adventurous live aboards in the Maldives
  

 

 

 
 
Tips for guests

Visas, passports, entry

For the Maldives you don't need a visa. You need a valid passport that is at least a month valid upon arrival. Upon arrival you will get a tourist visa / stamp which is valid for 30 days. In addition you will receive a a so-called embarkation card in the the aircraft. On this card you must fill in the name of the boat "The Blue Dolphin" as your place of stay. If you are travelling to one of the tourist islands or a hotel then you must fill out the name of that island or hotel as your place of stay. Everyone is picked up by us personally, we will be waiting after the customs and sliding doors with a sign which says "Blue Dolphin safari boat".

Import

The Maldives is an Islamic country where alcohol and pork import are not allowed. The goods are seized and you will get them back when you leave the country. There are no penalties, but it will cause a lot of delay. Customs is explicitly looking for bottles (alcohol) in the suitcases (X-Ray). Chips, cashew nuts, chocolate and other sweets can be taken into the country without problems (in your suitcase). Vaccinations are not necessary, the country is free of malaria and very clean, also the crime rate is extremely low. You will notice that the Maldivians are very friendly and helpful.

Payment

In the Maldives, the Maldivian Rufia (MRF) is the currency which is linked to the US Dollar, fixed exchange rate is 12.75 MRF for 1 US$. You can pay anywhere in dollars (bring small banknotes!) but they do not always have dollars as change. Rufia's are not available outside the Maldives and dollars are not available inside the Maldives, so bring these! Note: only new dollarnotes are accepted!

On the islands are no cash machines (only in the capital) and the cash machine on the airport is not always operational. On the boat you can pay with euro's or dollars.

Drinks

On board coffee and tea are served a couple of times a day, usually after dinner and lunch, but always available upon request. We have mineral water available in bottles of 1.5 liters, soft drinks such as coca cola and fanta and beer and some liquor.

Telephone

Mobile phones work almost everywhere in the Maldives but charges are approximately € 10,- per minute. It can be useful to purchase a prepaid SIM card at the airport (approximately U.S. $ 5,-) because then calls and text messages will be much cheaper.

Internet

In some places (paid) Wifi is available. With your prepaid Maldivian SIM card you text an SMS to the operator and receive a login code for the WiFi connection back. This code is valid for 1 or 2 hours online time. Speed is usually similar to a dial-up connection so very low. Another way to access the internet is use of GPRS what works almost throughout the whole Maledives. You can use a telephone with internet functionality or connect a telephone with GPRS functionality to a laptop. Use of a Maldivian simcard is strongly advised regarding costs. Microsimcards are not available in the Maldives so if you have a phone who uses one (for example the iphone) and you want to make use of a Maldivian simcard you will have to cut this to size. On the internet you can find info about how to do this.

Sun

We have towels on the boat, but it is advisable to have an extra towel for sunbathing or for use after diving. The Maldives are located almost at the equator and the sun can be very strong, so strong that people get sunburned in the shade. At 5:45am the sun rises and at 6:15pm the sun sets.

(Daily) Program

There are three daily dives in the program except for the first day (1 dive) and the last day (1 dive), total of 17 dives for a one week and 38 for a two week safari (if weather permits). At 5:45am the day starts with coffee, tea, crackers and a dive briefing. At 6:15am we get on the dhoni for the first dive and have breakfast after. Around 11:00am we will do the second dive followed by lunch and around 3:00pm the third dive follows. We try to have 3 hours surface interval between dives, but in between we have to sail and anchor as well so the program may differ sometimes. Dinner is served around 7:00pm. We have hot meals for lunch and diner, including much (self-caught) fish.

Dive Equipment

Bottles and lead weights (no soft lead) are available on the accompanying dhoni where the diving equipment is put away. Dive Computer and Surface Marker Buoy are manditory. Note that in a two week safari we do about 40 dives so make sure your battery is charged. Using another computer in between dives is only possible after a surface interval of 24 hours so a spare battery or replacement of the battery before the start of the safari is therefore recommended. Water temperature is between 27°C and 30°C. A 3mm shorty or full suit is sufficient for most people. A full suit is preferred as a protection against coral, rocks and plankton.

Strongly recommended for your own safety:

-(Tropical) gloves (see our story on our news page on gloves News >)
-Strobe-light (in your jacket)
-A mirror (old cdrom in your jacket)
-Whistle
-Dive Torch

We don't have a lot of spare diving equipment on the boat, mainly the most subject to wear materials such as o-rings and mouth pieces. We have a couple of spare computers, a couple of spare fins and masks and a couple of high and low pressure hoses. We have no spare regulators or jackets ! Torches and other electrical devices can be charged (220 volts), Dutch outlet.

Earinfections (Otitis Externa)

It is very common divers get outer ear infections after a week of diving in the Maldives. The cause of this is the washing away of the protective ear wax and the ear canal being continuously moist, this combination is an ideal environment for bacteria. Our experience with the care of the ears is as follows: after the dive flush your ears with fresh water (see our story on our news page on the spray bottle News >) and if possible dry them, afterwards use sour drops to help the ear wax and to give remaining bacteria no chance. Use a beany or cap on the Dhoni with respect to the wind. If you do get an infection, use antibiotics and don't wait for it to go away by itself, it will not go away by itself! In the pharmacy on Male airport antibiotics can be bought very cheap and without recipe (Otosporin & Amoxicilline). Try not to sleep on your ear because you close the ear canal and this can scald so next morning you still will wake up with an ear infection.

Dive insurance

We strongly recommended you to check your medical insurance or dive insurance if dive accidents are insured. A lot of travel insurances exclude diving as a sport or limit the depth of which you can go to. An insurance who does not do this is DAN >. Beware: there is a big difference between the insurance policies of DAN Europe and DAN South East Asia Pacific (for divers from Asia and Australia).

Tipping

Good use is to give the crew a tip at the end of the safari, they are working 24-7 and this tip is an essential part of their income. $ 35 per guest per week is an avarage. This is equally divided among the crew by the captain.