MALDIVES DIVING HOLIDAYS

Life beneath the surface in the Maldives is an underwater Disneyland, perfect for dive enthusiasts. The Maldives is renowned as one of the very best diving locations in the world. There’s not only an abundance of reef life here but also spectacular coloured coral and crystal clear water.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

WHY CHOOSE THE MALDIVES FOR YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY?

The Maldives ticks all of the boxes when it comes to diving holidays. This tropical location boasts visibility levels of up to 40 meters, making it a great destination for advanced divers. However diving in the Maldives is not just for the experienced. The shallow lagoons and channels make it the perfect location to try diving for the very first time. Plus what better destination in the world is there to gain your scuba-diving certifications?

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

The Maldives is also home to protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The presence of currents in this island nation means that open water channels are perfect for drift diving and it’s also possible to swim with gentle ocean giants like manta rays and whale sharks. Don’t forget the Maldives has year round water temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR DIVING IN THE MALDIVES

Fortunately, the diving season in the Maldives is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. As the Maldives is located in the tropics, it is susceptible to both wet and dry seasons. June to November is the south-west monsoon season, bringing with it with overcast and wet conditions, especially in June and July. During these months expect slightly less visibility and different currents, although there is still plenty of marine life on offer, as well as sunny spells. Generally reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side from December to April. Reef sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are found in the Maldives year round, along with manta rays and sea turtles, you just need to know where to head at the time of year you plan to dive!

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

DIVING OPTIONS

There are a number of diving options when it comes to Maldives. For example at Secret Paradise, value for money diving holidays and tours will be offered that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy an all-inclusive guesthouse stay and be transferred by boat to incredible nearby dive sites, the same sites that you would dive from a resort but at half the cost! Our diving holidays are an affordable alternative to a resort stay and also allow you the flexibility of island hopping or if your budget is larger, atoll hopping to benefit from the best dive locations during your time of travel.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

Liveaboards are a popular dive holiday option, allowing you to scour the waters for the ultimate dive spot each day. These days most Liveaboards operate a year round schedule offering 7 night, 10 night and 14 night cruises not only in the central atolls but to the deep south and deep north offering opportunities to discover less dived sites and pristine coral.

SECRET PARADISE DIVING HOLIDAYS

 Secret Paradise, offers six diverse one island based diving packages, all in different atolls allowing you access to what are some of the best dive sites in the world. Our packages include Dharavandhoo, perfect if you want to encounter 100s of manta rays in Baa Atoll, Hulhumale if you need to stay close to the capital, Maafushi, South Male Atoll, Dhigurah home of the whale shark in Ari Atoll, Rasdhoo, the ideal location to spot a hammerhead and Gan in Laamu atoll.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Boutique Beach

Our island hopping itineraries in Male Atoll and Ari Atoll allow you to discover a range of dive sites and marine life whilst at the same time experiencing Maldives local life, tradition and culture, with or without a private dive guide.

DIVE TEAMS

All partners of secret Paradise are PADI affiliated dive centers and are operated by both local and European dive professionals. A personal interest is taken in promoting scuba diving in the Maldives, through education and awareness about the underwater environment here. Their objective is to encourage underwater conservation and safe diving practices

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Dives are generally conducted from the beach within an island’s inner reef for beginners or from a local dive boat, a dhoni, for certified divers. Dive sites are chosen daily based on both the weather and current conditions as well as diver ability.

The teams will take you to the best dive spots and willingly introduce you to the characteristics of the underwater world of the Maldives. All offer boat dives, NITROX, night dives and a full range of PADI courses and will always ensure you get the best out of your dive. If you are learning to dive, you can do anything from completing a try dive or just the open water dive section of your PADI Open Water certification to completing the full PADI Open Water certification. Whatever you choose to do you can be assured of fun and safe diving with us and our partners.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Secret Paradise Co-Founder, Ruth Franklin a diver herself with over 1500 dives in the Maldives is always happy to share her own diving experiences and is on hand for honest dive advice.

About Secret Paradise

Since 2012 Secret Paradise has been at the forefront of the Maldives local island tourism industry, promoting and supporting guesthouses, dive centres and activity operators based on locally inhabited islands throughout the Maldives archipelago. Offering group and private tours or independent travel packages, Secret Paradise holidays are designed to allow guests to engage with local people and experience the best from a paradise generally known as a luxury resort destination.

Responsible Tourism plays a very large part in what we do. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and beliefs and through education of both guests and locals we aim to protect the environment and limit where ever possible any negative impact to local life. We partner NGOs such as Save the Beach and marine charity organisations such as Maldives Whaleshark Research Program to provide opportunities for our guests to learn and support local conservation initiatives.

The benefit of travelling with us is that Secret Paradise guarantees you prompt and efficient personal service. We deliver high standards of service and professionalism and you can rely on Secret Paradise to provide expert local knowledge, clear communication and honest advice.

www.secretparadise.mv

Kuredu, Sea Turtles Heaven

Since 4th November 2016, 74 sea turtles have been registered around Kuredu (Kuredu House Reef/Laoon, Kuredu Express, Kuredu Caves and Kuredu Coral Garden). 58 of those individuals are Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The reef around Kuredu houses almost one third of all registered Green sea turtles in the Maldives. Incredible! The island is an important feeding and nesting ground for Green sea turtles.

The Stars:

Audrey (GR459) is a regular in Kuredu Lagoon and often observed enjoying her sea grass meals. This Green turtle is easily identified by its missing left rear flipper. Despite being handicapped, Audrey is in good shape (and has a big appetite)!

Pia (456) is a juvenile Green sea turtle with a shell length of about 40cm. With 20 registered sightings, Pia is the most sighted individual at Kuredu Caves!

Bjoern (GR38) is one of the first identified sea turtles in the Maldives. Also, he is the only male at Kuredu Caves! His impressive size of 70cm in shell length and the long tail gives him away as a male. The length of a sea turtle’s tail tells the sex.

Every sea turtle has a unique scale pattern on the left and right side of its head. This pattern allows for individual identification and population assessments. As part of the “Hurawalhi sea turtle ID project”, every sea turtle sighting is registered. Supporting the project will be rewarded! If you submit right and left side pictures of a newly identified sea turtle, you can name it! Become a sea turtle’s namesake for a kind donation of $50 to the Olive Ridley Project. You will receive a naming certificate and updates whenever your sea turtle gets relighted.

FUN FACT: Green Sea Turtles can hold their breath for over 4 hours.

 

Prodivers is one of the leading dive and watersport operators in the Maldives with currently five 5* PADI dive centres. If you are fancy visiting them please check out their website www.prodivers.com

PADI Pioneers: Generating Ocean Warriors in the Maldives

In a quiet corner of a luxury resort in the Maldives you’ll find an PADI Five Star IDC centre quite unlike any other.

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Teaching Maldivians to scuba dive might seem to some like selling coals to Newcastle. Wherever you stand in the Maldives, you’re always barely a stone’s throw from the ocean, and many Maldivians can swim before they can walk. Diving is in the country’s DNA.

It could come as a surprise to some then, that until the mid-2000s, there were only a handful of places offering PADI Instructor Development Courses in the country, with many aspiring instructors actually having to travel to Thailand to complete their certifications.

Founding an Institution

Luckily, this didn’t go unnoticed by Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed, the Maldives’ first and only PADI Course Director and in 2006, he decided to do something about it. Working at the time as the operations manager of Holiday Island Resort & Spa, part of the Villa conglomerate, Sendi approached the company chairman – the Hon. Qasim Ibrahim – and shared his concerns about the lack of educational opportunities for local dive and water sport professionals.

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The conversation would not only change his own life, but would ultimately change the face of diving education in the Maldives. Convinced by the lack of Maldivian educational facilities for divers, Mr Ibrahim asked Sendi to oversee the development of an institution that would change all that. Like Sendi, he wanted to provide a space for Maldivians to become qualified leaders in the diving field. And with that, The Villa Institute of Water Sports and Hospitality was born the same year.

A Place in the Sun

Purpose-built in a quiet corner of Sun Island Resort & Spa (another Villa Hotel), the institute quickly became a hub for young dive and water sports enthusiasts hoping to make a career in the industry. With spacious student and teacher accommodation and modern classrooms overlooking a lagoon that welcomes whale sharks and manta rays to its outer reef, the establishment is enough to make any Course Director drool.

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But what makes the institute really special is what it aims to achieve. Its objective? To equip a new generation of certified PADI Dive Masters and Instructors with the skills needed to become not only leaders in the field of recreational diving tourism but also trailblazers in ecological advocacy.

Expansion and Diversification

Lofty goals to say the least, but within a few short years it has managed to do just that. After a restructuring to become the founding faculty of Villa College, (now the Maldives’ leading private education provider offering courses in everything from marketing to law) and an expansion to include facilities in the capital, the reigns were handed over to Dr. Sham’aa ‘Anna’ Hameed. Under her leadership and the close involvement of Sendi, the institute is well on track to realise its vision.

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Not only does the faculty run multiple PADI Instructor Development Courses throughout the year, it now offers Certificate Three, foundation and even degree courses in marine studies that offer PADI electives as course credit.

Ocean Warriors

These courses provide students with the tools to become innovators in the field of marine studies. As a result, graduating students go on to enter the Maldivian workforce in a number of roles: as dive and water sports instructors of course, but also as researchers, marine biologists, wildlife rangers, even government environmental officials and legislators.

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What started as an initiative of affirmative action to provide quality education and training for locals has now developed into an educational model that is forward thinking on an international level. As such, they are arming a legion of self-titled ‘Ocean Warriors’ with the skills to be the next generation of environmental guardians and leaders in the Maldivian diving industry.

 

About the author: Adele Verdier-Ali is a freelance travel writer and content marketer who has been living in the Maldives for over six years. She’s a certified PADI rescue diver and when she’s not underwater, she writes about Maldivian culture and tourism. You can read more of her thoughts over on www.littlebirdjournal.com

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Big Business for Prodivers Maldives

Divers who signed up to join the Noon Atoll full-day trip with Kuredu Prodivers hoped to see some ‘big-stuff action’ with the locally renowned shark spot, Orimas Thila, high on their agenda. They got rather more than they bargained for…Blue Whale

On their way back, whilst on their dhoni, crossing the channel between the Noon and Lhaviyani Atolls, something big was spotted in the water – or rather something massive!

Blue Whale

In fact, they witnessed the largest creature ever to have lived on Earth – a Blue Whale! Great excitement ensued and estimates of size range from ‘huge’, 12 metres and 18 metres. Blue whales can grow to over 33 metres in length and have a heart weighing as much as a car. Their huge mouth can fit 100 people inside but, fear not, we are not on their menu; Blue Whales are filter feeders and eat krill – shrimp-like invertebrates.

Blue Whales have been around on Earth for about 54 million years and were once prolific, but in the first half of the 20th century they were almost hunted to extinction. There are now an estimated total of 10.000 – 25,000 individuals left on the planet and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List rates them as ‘endangered’. While whaling is no longer a threat, increased shipping leading to more collisions, oil spills and climate change all threaten the existence of the majestic Blue Whales. Blue Whale

 The ocean is full of surprises and, as well as the usual exciting encounters of sharks and manta rays, as you can see, every now and then something a little more unusual and unexpected turns up.

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Harry Thornton became a PADI Scuba Diver

This story is so amazing that I had to write about it. On the 5th of August 2015 something really special happened in Larnaca, Cyprus.

Harry Thornton and Marco CuciniHarry Thornton became a PADI Scuba Diver. Well – this event is nothing out of the ordinary, what is in fact extraordinary, he is born in 1931 and received his Scuba Diver Certification with the age of 83!

Marco Cucini, the PADI Instructor from Viking Divers in Larnaca, Cyprus, had the honour to teach Harry and to show him the beauty of diving.

 
How often do you hear, when you try to sell Scuba Diving around a pool area “Ooh – Scuba Diving? No thank you, I´m too old for this”. Harry Thornton is proofing the opposite. You are never too old to discover the beauty of the underwater world.

Harry Thornton and Marco Cucini.jpg aHarry truly enjoyed himself and wished he started diving 40 years earlier.

Now, Harry Thornton is able to dive together with his son Steve and Grandson Joe who are diving with Viking Divers in Cyprus for many years. On the 19th of October 2015 – Harry will turn 84 years old!

I´m truly inspired by Harry and I wish him all the best, good health and many years of diving!

The Zenobia Week

PDD-Zenobia-560x200This special wreck event, the Zenobia week, is fast becoming a tradition in Cyprus and this year was no exception. Dive centers from all over the island have been bringing their guests to Larnaca to dive the Top 3rd wreck in the world and to compete in the PADI Selfie competition.

Winner Core Regulator

Winning Selfie!

PADI loves special events, nothing excites them more. This year PADI sponsored the Zenobia week by offering a free pair of sunglasses to every diver who signed up for either the deep diver or wreck diver speciality course. If that wasn’t enough, participants were asked to get creative above the water by taking a cool selfie and  entering  PADI’s selfie competition. The coolest selfie was carefully selected and the winner won an amazingly beautiful Aqualung CORE regulator…thankyou Mercury Divers!

Larnaca was full of the hustle and bustle of busy divers over the weekend, all running around in “cool” yellow PADI shades snapping shots in the bazarest of angles. Dive equipment was lugged, tanks were filled and suncream was applied as truck after truck arrived at Larnaca Marina. Happy smiles and damp hugs were everywhere as dive buddies reunited on one of the best dives of their lives. Instructors and divemasters were practically dancing at the PADI Pavilion,and their divers were all eager to meet Sascha Engeler, the PADI Regional Manager, to hopefully make their selfie the winning one. Nice try guys,.. The positive energy was everywhere and it was such a joy to be part of it.

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Jurg Dahler from Coral Bay Divers with the new Aqualung CORE Regulator

Thanks to everyone who took part of this epic Event. Jurg Dahler from Coral Bay Divers took the winning scuba selfie, so the Aqualung CORE Regulator has gone to a good home. It definitely will get to dive regularly and will be allowed to play with all of its underwater friends!

Deep Blue moved in the new Location

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Deep Blue Fuerteventura and the new Location

Deep Blue Dive Centre has been established since 1982 and has been under the Management from Roland Martensson (Sweden) and Volker Berbig (Germany) since August 1999. Now, Deep Blue moved in the new Location.

 

 

Deep Blue joined the PADI Retail & Resort Association in December 1999 and since August 2009 they are a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort. Because of their engagement and professionalism, Deep Blue became very shortly the biggest PADI certifier in the Canary Islands.

The Base of Deep Blue is situated in the middle of the east coast of Fuerteventura, in the harbour of Caleta de Fuste, which is about 12Km south of the capital Puerto del Rosario.

In the beginning of 2015 – Deep Blue in Fuerteventura moved in the new location

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Now – Deep Blue is situated at the end of the pier from Caleta de Fuste yacht harbour. The New location has everything what beginners and certified divers are looking for:

On more than 600m2 the customers from Deep Blue in Fuerteventura will find a pool for confined water training, a nice theory classroom, direct access to the four big diving boats, toilets, showers and of course access to the Bar.

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The Base is service orientated and family friendly. Due to the ideal new location, no excursion takes more than 1.5 hours, allowing plenty of time for the family and other holiday activities.

Deep Blue brings the standard for Diving Centres in the Canary Islands to a complete new level!

New PADI Dive Centre in Gran Canaria

Blue Water Diving – The NEW PADI Dive Centre in the Canary Islands

IMG_0042In September 2014 Kate McMillan and Chris Drummond decided to sell the PADI Dive Centre One 2 One Diving in Malaga (Spain) and to move to Gran Canaria. The reason to open a New PADI Dive Centre in Gran Canaria is very simple: Kate and Chris were looking for a all year around Diving Destination in Europe. With the Canary Islands – they found their new home. They moved together with their two daughters, age 4 and 8 months, to Gran Canaria in January 2015.

How to find a New PADI Dive Centre in Gran Canaria

If you want to become a PADI Dive Centre owner, you have two options:

Option 1: Look at the PADI Prosite on the Employment Board for some opportunities

Option 2: Start a Dive Centre from scratch and make your dream come true

Blue Water Diving in Gran Canaria

Blue Water Diving in Gran Canaria

They were first looking to buy an existing PADI Dive Centre, but then they decided to start again from scratch and to build a new Dive Centre -The Blue Water Diving Centre. Which is since the 29th of May 2015 an official PADI Retail & Resort Association Member with the PADI Store number S-24879

 Who are Kate and Chris – the owners of the New PADI Dive Centre Blue Water Diving in Gran Canaria

The Staff of Blue Wate Diving

The Staff of Blue Water Diving in Gran Canaria

Kate McMillan – 32 years old. Moved to Malaga when she was 18 to complete her Divemaster. This is where she met Chris…!!!! Chris helped her with the training for the Divemaster. After a successful season Kate then started to work with Chris at the old diving centre (One 2 One Diving). Kate completed in 2005 her PADI Instructor Course.

Chris Drummond – 52 years old. He moved to Malaga 22 years ago and set up a water sports company, where he organised water skiing, jet bikes etc… He soon realised that there was a diving centre on the island and decided to change his career path and started his journey through the PADI system. He soon reached the PADI Instructor rating and slowly built up a small client base and started up One 2 One Diving.

Originally they started working from their house as Individual PADI Instructors, but soon they grew and needed to move to a larger premises. It was time to built their first PADI Dive Centre. After many years of hard work they finally settled the dive centre and obtained their goal and became a PADI 5* IDC Centre.

Welcome to the PADI Retail & Resort Association family in the Canary Islands! We are looking forward to work with you!

If you want to know more about Blue Water Diving – please contact Kate & Chris here

PADI DSD Pool Party

PADI DSD Pool Party

PADI DSD Pool Party

The first ever PADI DSD Pool party was organised and hosted by CY Dive in Pafos, Cyprus. This highly successful event happened on the 8th of June 2015.

What ingredients do you need to host the PADI DSD Pool Party?

  • Pool
  • Discover Scuba Diving Participants
  • PADI Pool Party Marketing Material
  • PADI Regional Manager
  • Enthusiastic Staff Members
  • BBQ
  • Food & Drinks

Bing all these together and you will have a fantastic event!

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TUI Sales Representatives

CY Dive invited 50 Sales Representatives from the Tour operator TUI. The goal of this event was to show and to explain the participants what diving is all about and that they could also do a Discover Scuba Diving session in the Pool. Thanks to the great facility which CY Dive provides to their customers, it was quite easy to attract the guests to try the Discover Scuba Diving program and to sign up for a PADI Open Water Diver Course.

During the event PADI Regional Manager, Sascha Engeler, showed the Participants how to become a certified diver and what they can do following certification.

For some of the participants, the whole PADI DSD Pool party even became a life changing experience!

BBQ at CY Dive

Photos, the owner of CY Dive, behind the BBQ

After all the in-water activities, CY Dive provided a fantastic barbeque for all the attendees. People were dancing around the pool and it became the first real CY Dive Pool party in 2015.It was a great and successful event and I can only highly recommend that you will try this kind of event also in your Dive Centre.

In addition to being a lot of fun, it´s also a great diver acquisition tool as all the staff members are present and able to talk about their experiences of becoming a diver, and  how their lives changed since they became Divers.

Thank you CY Dive for being such an amazing host. I´m sure we will continue with this event in 2016.

Diving AWARDS for Taba Diving Centre

Steve Fox-Kirk with his Staff and the PADI AWARDS

2015 has been a whirlwind of diving AWARDS. This month of May is no exception. Taba diving centre, in Protaras, was the first diving centre in Cyprus – opening it doors in 1985 as PADI Retail & Resort Association Member. It has the tiny 3 digit store number to prove it! Store number 816 has been an inspiration to the diving market for years, with contained growth year upon year.

Steve, the dive centre owner revived not one, but two diving awards this year.

  1. 30 Year Membership Award

  2. Exceptional growth in entry level certifications in 2014

These two awards show Steve´s level of commitment to PADI and the diving world. His passion is infections and his energy seems to be limitless.  He is such a down to earth guy too, it is easy to see why visitors and locals alike choose TABA Diving centre. Keep it up Steve!!