Maldives Orion

Welcome aboard the liveaboard diveboat MV Orion, the Maldives premier luxury safari vessel, as you embark on an excursion to visit the underwater kingdom of the Maldives. Known to many as a tropical paradise, this beautiful archipelago nation is comprised of nearly 1,200 low-lying islands that form 26 atoll formations consisting of outer and inner reefs. The Maldives are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, approximately 250 miles (400 km.) southwest of India and 430 miles (700 km.) southwest of Sri Lanka. This island chain spans the equator as it stretches north to south some 500 miles (805 km.).

With its numerous scuba diving and snorkeling sites, the Maldives is one of the most diverse diving destinations in the world, offering rich, abundant marine life in turquoise blue waters. The islands, covered with fine white sand, also have shallow lagoons teeming with marine life. The warm waters of the Maldives will amaze you with coral reefs sprouting with activity. You will thrill to the schools of colorful fish along the reefs. Playful dolphins welcome you as they draw close to the boat. Great pelagics also populate these waters, including Hammerhead Sharks, Whale Sharks, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, Reef Sharks, and Moray Eels.

An excursion aboard the MV Orion offers something for everyone, from adventure scuba diving to relaxed snorkeling and sun-bathing on the beach, and even surfing. In order to allow all scuba diving passengers to maximize their dive time, the MV Orion dive guides place you in a dive group based upon your level of diving experience. Before your first dive you will be required to provide proof of certification. Diving will be done from a dive boat, or dhoni. In the Maldives the currents inside the channels can be strong at about 1.5 knots, which makes for some amazing dives. You will also experience slower, more relaxing dives along the mountainous pinnacles rising from the depths. With relatively high humidity moderated by a gentle, but steady sea breeze, the air temperatures in the Maldives range between 75° and 91°F (24°-33°C). Water temperatures range from 83° to 90°F (28°-32°C) year round. Because divers will be making 2-4 dives each day, it is recommended that you wear a 3mm. wetsuit.

Departing from Malé, the 8-day/ 7-night scuba diving itinerary can change from one excursion to another; to maximize your dive experience your Cruise Director and Dive Guides will determine the route depending on the prevailing sea and weather conditions. “Manta Madness” excursions run between August and October, and you will visit various dive sites where Manta sightings are best: Baa Atoll, Rasdhoo Atoll, North Ari Atoll, South Malé Atoll, and North Malé Atoll. Between November and May, MV Orion travels its “Best of Maldives” itinerary, stopping at dive sites such as Rasdhoo Atoll, North Ari Atoll, South Ari Atoll, South Malé Atoll, Vaavu Atoll, and North Malé Atoll.

On one or more of your dives you will enjoy visiting a Manta cleaning station. At 12-20 feet (3.5-6 m.) wide, giant Manta Rays approach a large coral block that is populated with tiny Cleaning Wrasses. As the Mantas hover gracefully above this cleaning station, the Cleaning Wrasses swim up to do their job, nibbling away at the debris and unwanted parasites on the Mantas. On occasion you might see up to 20 Mantas being cleaned at one time.

From the floors of the atolls you will also see enormous pinnacles, or thila/giri. These are submerged mountains that rise up from depths of 82-130 feet (25-40 m.) to within 3-50 feet (1-15 m.) of the surface. Pinnacles at depths greater than 12 feet (4 m.) are known as thilas, while shallower pinnacles are called giri. Often presenting sharp inclines, thilas are hotspots for all types of schooling pelagics that come in to hunt for reef fish. Thila dives are exciting, especially when the currents are running—you will thrill to the variety and abundance of Jacks, Eagle Rays, Dog-tooth Tuna, Trevally, Grey Reef Sharks you will encounter. Equally amazing are the thousands of Blue-Stiped Snappers, Red Tooth Tigger Fish, and Fusiliers you will see.

The atolls of North Malé and South Malé provide a variety of dive sites. North Malé is home to the Paradise Manta Point Cleaning Station and some stunningly beautiful pinnacles. Other dive sites you may visit include the beautiful Macro Wreck, Guraidhoo Corner, and Medhu Faru. Along these atolls you will see Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Barracuda, Tuna, Bannerfish, Napoleon Wrasses, Sea Fans, soft corals, and assorted reef fish. Coca Corner dive site presents caves and overhangs where you will see Turtles and Black Snapper. Medhu Faru is a scenic drift dive with impressive features. You will start your dive here on the outer reef where, at 100 feet (30 m.) sweeps around the corner. An abundance of big fish such as Barracudas and Sharks, and Sea Fans and soft corals are seen along the ledge. As you progress, you will encounter a small canyon, caves, and more ledges replete with Sharks, Tuna, Trevally, and Fusiliers.

North and South Ari Atolls are located on the western part of the archipelago. The Rasdhoo dive site presents one of the most spectacular reef formations Ari Atoll has to offer. Some of what you will see here includes Trevally, Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, and schools of Barracuda. The long, narrow pinnacle of Ukulhas Thila is a Manta Ray cleaning station, and you will also spot Moray Eels, Sharks, Fusilier, and Grouper. The Vaavu Atoll offers traditional channel diving. The pelagics you will see on the Best of Maldives liveaboard excursion include Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Hammerhead Sharks, Whale Sharks, and so much more.

The MV Orion strives to provide scuba divers and guests with the highest quality and most memorable, innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the MV Orion will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. This dive boats affords guests both safety and comfort as it travels to the best diving sites the Maldives have to offer.