Public Service Announcement
The Baani Explorer is one of a fleet of liveaboard diveboats under maldives-liveaboards.com (the others include Baani Adventurer, Black Pearl, and Stingray).
We went on the Explorer in March-April 2008 and had a smooth trip. These webpages are based on our experience then. However, you should also know that in May 2008, a Russian diver staying on board the Baani Adventurer, died. His tank was found to contain 10 times the safe level of carbon monoxide. Eight fellow divers had to be treated and the two dive guides on board were hospitalised. Key in "Baani Adventurer death" in Google, and you can read the reports. Here's one of them.
I'll still leave my review here, because the intention of this site is simply to tell the facts and my impressions, and hopefully give a few tips to my tiny group of supporters about life on a Maldives liveaboard. OK?
|Bring an inflatable pillow. Great with a good book.|
|If you need air-conditioning for a good night's sleep, and if you're not sure how good the a/c is in a liveaboard, pay for the suites, or whatever they call the rooms on the upper decks. These are cooler than the cabins which are below deck.|
|If the cabins are really too hot, grab your pillows and a sunbathing mattress and sleep on the rooftop. Bring a shawl, windbreaker or sweater because it will get chilly around 4am.|
|If you really abhor cigarette smoke, and if you have time for additional pre-trip work, try to get like-minded individuals to join you on your liveaboard. Your group should form at least half the maximum occupancy of the liveaboard to form a critical mass of non-smokers.|
|Check out forums like scubaboard for good honest feedback.|
If you're booking through the internet, you'll probably do it directly with maldives-liveaboards.com, whose office is based in Austria (the former Bavaria as some Germans really want us to note). And it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Austria is very far from Maldives, and hence, the person you deal with in Austria has not been to ALL the things his/her company markets. (In other words, they're not divewithsus.com!)
The day-to-day running of the boat is therefore left to the team based in Maldives. Chaali the main man gives dive briefings, is also a dive guide, processes emails from the Austria office, chats with guests, and counsels his staff. Moosa and Malaq, the other 2 dive guides, are also tour guides for your day trip to Male.The dhoni crew start their day long before we awake. We got a glimpse of the boss Hussein when he boarded on checkout day, but he didn't speak to any of the guests, so his role may have been purely administrative. He may also have just ended a week's trip with another boat from the fleet.
Actually if the boat is stationary and there's no breeze, especially on the 1st and last days when you're in Male, there is no cool spot. The coolest spot is in the water! But here are some of the other spots that won't tax your under-arm deodorant.
Although most aren't designated non-smoking areas, their openness means that cigarette smoke from smokers shouldn't affect you.
A wall fan if you're lucky
Plenty of clothes hooks
Good working shower
Fluffy white towels
Indoor saloon (non-smoking)
Shaded area with deckchairs
Well-stocked bar (in the saloon)
Library + 'charging' station
Dunk bin and shower (fresh and salt water)
Shaded deck with free flow of water
Clothesline (with pegs) on the rooftop