MALE, Maldives // We just walked off an 8 day scuba liveaboard on a 100 foot luxury yacht, and I can’t put my finger on it but something was off.
Don’t get me wrong, the dives were great. We went the deepest I’ve ever been at 38 meters that required two decompression stops. We saw over 100 sharks on our 15 dives that came so close they physically ran into us. Mantas did back flips, dolphins played in the boats wake, and I found my first octopus on my own. The visibility was good and I also was able to spot a scorpion fish, lionfish, a left eyed leopard flounder, turtles, spotted sting rays, nudibranches and boxer shrimp. These were definitely some of the best dives of my life.
The scenery was blue in all directions and light turquoise around the islands protected reefs. There were thousands of islands, each one more picturesque then the one we just left. We had some rain and rough seas, but that didn’t really effect our dives since we were underwater. Also, we are about a month out of season, which is why we were able to afford this deeply discounted ship.
The state room was cleaned twice a day, and our beds were turned down each evening. The staff was friendly, and though alcohol, ice cream, and sodas were extra, the mineral water was free. The food was buffet style and though it wasn’t gourmet there was a lot of it available.
After budget backpacking though, the expectations that come with luxury were tough to deal with. People complained about small insignificant details. The people seemed more well to do and deflated at the same time, which is just a reminder that the people really do make all the difference.
Our cruise director had the personality and characteristics of Gru from Despicable Me, which made listening to dive briefings entertaining but not over energetic when it came to other aspects of our daily life on the boat. The Maldives lack the casual laid back aloha spirit you find in other tropical destinations like the Caribbean or Hawaii.
All in all, I learned that I can cross dive master or cruise director off my list of potential career paths. First, I felt seasick half the time, and secondly, after 4 days straight of diving the thought of putting on my tight damp wet suit and heavy suffocating scuba gear made me physically nauseous. I have 50 logged dives since 2008, while some of the other divers had several hundred, and the dive master had over 6,000 under his belt. Scuba is a leisure hobby for me, not a full time job. Sometimes it’s just as important to find out what you don’t want to do in life as it is to find out what you do want to do.