In August I had the great pleasure to get a space on the M/Y Sheena of "Diving Centers Werner Lau". After too much work it was time for me to clear my mind again under water with "The big five". And since August is considered off-season in the Maldives because of the rainy season, my wallet was happy to get a bargain. Many people report that the off-season is not so nice for diving. But I like to convince myself of the advantages and disadvantages of the different travel seasons. Only if you gather your own experiences you can really have an opinion and make recommendations or not.
Since my last stay in the Maldives in 2015, I knew that one week's holiday on a liveaboard would be enough for me to relax. Because nothing is more relaxing than living and diving for a week on a
liveaboard. And if I have become one in the last few years, then fit for life on a boat. Diving, eating, sleeping - repeat! Any diver can do that. Ten-hour flight with short transfer times is
I have decided to fly with Qatar Airways from Frankfurt/Main. On Saturday I left at about 6 pm and was in Male at 9 am the next morning (local time). Since the tour with M/Y Sheena started on Sunday from Filitheyo Island, this was a good time, because from Male I had to organize a seat in the seaplane as early as possible. Unfortunately this can only be done on site, even if you have already booked and paid for the flight at home. Whoever comes here first, paints first.
And after a 45 minute flight over the wonderful island landscape of the Maldives you find this paradise here:
Filitheyo is a small island in the North-Nilande Atoll. From here the tour with M/Y Sheena started. I was only there for a few hours before we went on the Sheena, but I used the time after the first briefing to have a look at the diving center and I have to say that this is now the third diving center of Werner Lau I have seen and it more than fully meets the standards.
It is clean, tidy, well maintained equipment everywhere, colourful paintings, simply everything appeals to the diver's heart at first sight and I would decide on the next tour to arrive a few days earlier to do some dives here, because my feeling tells me that you are in good hands here:
The M/Y Sheena is 24 m long and 8.6 m wide. Compared to all other dive boats I have visited so far, it is the smallest!
Built in 1995 and last renovated in July 2017, she is a typical middle class liveaboard boat with room for 14 guests. Each cabin has air conditioning and a private bathroom.
Most of the sleeping cabins are located in the lower deck and have two single beds each. The main deck follows with the saloon (here you can load cameras, drink coffee and tea, or a decorative beer, the meals are served outside on stern and the briefings took place on the front. The galley is also placed here.
The upper deck has many seats, here are also the two upper deck cabins with double beds as also the rudder of the captain. And for those who want to go even higher, there is the sun deck with many sunbathing areas for resting and roasting.
The Sheena is accompanied by a diving dhoni for a total of 18 divers. Nitrox and 15 l tanks are available. For short distances like land visits there is another small dinghy available.
The Sheena is a good and solid safari boat where you have everything you need. A big advantage for me is that a maximum of 14 guests can be taken on board. So the groups in the water are small
and that's the way I like diving best. The rooms are air-conditioned, each room has its own bathroom and also guests who are looking for peace and quiet will find it somewhere on this boat.
Here are a few impressions:
Filitheyo - Faafu Atoll - Meemu Atoll - Felidhe Atoll - Kaafu Atoll South - Malé
I hope you don't get me wrong, but we were only 5 guests on the boat, which is an indescribable luxury for me, as I don't like large groups (except that even if we were fully booked, there would only be a maximum of 14 divers in the water). For movies and photos under water, small groups are just incredibly good.
But the crew was just as strong as when fully booked. And we were - as I hardly expected otherwise - spoiled from the first to the last day and the crew gave everything so that everybody could jump into the water smiling and healthy and happy.
Everybody was friendly, courteous and all our wishes were read from our eyes. The guys don't just do a job, they live it.
All five dive guests went into the water together every day. We went into the water with our guide Ved, because we didn't know the places and the currents were sometimes really strong.
Therefore I would like to mention especially that the Maldives are not suitable for beginners. On the tour the Advanced Open Water with at least 70 dives was recommended. I also recommend Nitrox and definitely a good health condition.
I must say that there is a lot going on in the water even in the off-season. White tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, dolphins, lots of eagle rays, turtles, mantas, shoals of jacks, shoals of all kinds of fish, the most colourful anemones: Whatever the season, rainy season or not, I can really recommend the Maldives at any time. The only thing that is different is the visibility. The water is a bit more turbid in August and the visibility is maximum 20 - 25 m.
The low season has the big advantage that you probably don't have a fully booked boat and therefore have more free space on a boat. The prices are cheaper and the sun does not bang down from the sky permanently, clouds make the heat quite bearable.
Here are some first impressions of the underwater world:
In the channel dives with the strongest currents I've ever felt in my life, you can't hold on without hooking on a solid rock with a reef hook. Sometimes it was not possible to photograph or film
because I could not hold the camera in the current without losing a lot of air and energy. The power of the water is simply indescribable, and for me it was simply incomprehensibly admirable how
sea creatures like eagle rays or sharks can stay motionless in the current.
The end of such a dive was more than fun, when you unhook and fly with the current together with the whole group at the command of the guide. It feels like flying.
I have to mention at this point that hooking onto the reef should be left to the guide if you have no experience, because the reef will be damaged quickly if you don't find a suitable hold.
A dive site already known to me from my holiday in 2015 was the night dive in Alimatha, a dive site full of nurse sharks and partly other reef sharks, big different kinds of rays and beautiful
Unfortunately I could not participate in this dive due to health reasons. But also a snorkeling excursion at the stern of the boat is worthwhile here, because as soon as the boats moor and drop anchor they come on time, the nurse sharks. And so I decided to make a snorkeling excursion and experienced an incredibly beautiful moment with an old nurse shark:
A nice change with so much water is always a shore excursion. So it turned out that we were guests on the island of our captain, the island Dhiggaru. Dhiggaru is an island where locals live. Most of the inhabitants live here from fishing. They catch fish, smoke and dry them. A typical speciality of the country. Many children live on the island and the harbour with a football field is a central meeting point for all inhabitants. We were allowed to experience a wonderful afternoon here with new impressions and wonderful people, see for yourself:
I took far too few pictures of the food and drink. Mostly when the plate was empty, it came to my mind (sorryNOTsorry).
If you arrive at the boat, you will get a bottle of water at the beginning of the trip, which you can fill up permanently for the whole period. Because there is a water dispenser in almost all decks. My recommendation: Bring a big bottle from home so that you drink enough, maybe even two. One for the dhoni and one for the main boat. One of the reasons for my health problems was that I drank far too little, which never happens to me otherwise. Dehydration is the enemy!
Besides breakfast, lunch and dinner there are always many cookies available in the tea kitchen. In the afternoon we were served a cake snack with fruit with our coffee every day.
Alcoholic drinks can be purchased for an additional charge.
As in 2015 I was very enthusiastic about the local curries, fish and fruit and vegetables. For breakfast there was fresh omelette and the best thing is: after a few hours the cook knows which guest likes what and fulfills wishes without you having to say them! Simply great and wonderful.
If you want to plan a week of super relaxed diving holidays in the Maldives, you can do so in the low season as well. And be sure to check out the M/Y Sheena in the price comparison! The big fish
in the water don't care about the season and every sea creature is circling, it's pure luck what you see or what you don't see. And when comparing prices with other boats, the Sheena will please
your wallet. Because the Sheena is a little older, smaller and not a luxury boat, but she has everything you need for a successful diving holiday. And every employee does everything to make every
guest feel comfortable.
I had a wonderful week with unforgettable moments under and above water. My fellow travellers were very pleasant and I always felt comfortable. The beds are very comfortable (almost too comfortable, I slept through an early morning dive) and every staff member was friendly, courteous and helpful.
On our route we dived incredibly beautiful dive sites, of course we wanted to dive especially good sites several times and also here the captain and dive guide responded to our wishes and adapted the route to us.
The food was great and the week went by way too fast. Many thanks for this wonderful time, dear team of Werner Lau
Tour Operator: Diving Centers Werner Lau (www.wernerlau.com)
Flight: Qatar Airways (30 kg Free Baggage allowance & 1 Hand Luggage), Flight time - around 10 hours
Travel time: 18 - 25 August 2019
Nitrox: available / fee
Zahlung vor Ort: Credit Card, US-Dollar or EUR
Language on board: English