|Location:||Machchafushi, South Ari Atoll, Maldives|
|Time:||3. - 16. February 2000|
|Weather:||Temperature 25-30°C / 77-86°F. Nice and sunny, we only had one short rain shower|
|Water:||Temperature 28°C / 83°F.
Although this sounds like diving in a lukewarm bath tub, you will start getting cold after the first week of non limit diving in a shorty. I prefer to dive in a 3mm wet suit with long arms and legs and even that was getting cold in the second week.
|Visibility varying between 20m (House Reef, Madivaru) and 40m at Orimas Thila.|
A very small island, it takes only 15 minutes to walk once around, but very beautiful and well kept.
The beach on the north and west side is beautiful, especially to the right of the jetty. It has very fine grained white sand, whereas the beach around the east and south side of the island is very small with lots of stones.
You'll find many palm trees and tropical plants, like hibiscus and bougainvillea.
The whole island is one single carefully designed and very well kept garden, there is no island jungle.
Many cute little geckos, lots of big but harmless ants (unfortunately also in our bathrooms), few landlobsters (cockroaches) and not a single one in our bungalow, no rats, no mosquitoes, we didn't see those ugly big brown spiders on Machcha.
Mostly from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, some British and Japanese guests too. 70% divers, few families with kids.
Very casual, no shoes
The bar next to the restaurant is open until the last guest go to bed.
The island disco opened every Thursday night (in February 2000), the music was good and we had lots of fun dancing with the crew of the dive base.
There is a choice of paperbacks in German, English and Italian language at the reception room, but it seems that the previous guests really didn't want to carry those books back home ;-)
The reception offers excursions to neighboured resort islands, a shopping trip to the native island of Dhangeti and night fishing. We didn't try any of that.
Tennis, table tennis, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, a gym, snorkelling and - you probably guessed it - scuba diving.
The is a small shop close to the restaurant. It offers souvenirs, post cards and cigarettes as well as sun cream, toothpaste, batteries, films, peanuts and other things we use to forget at home.
|Hotel:||Machchafushi Island Resort:
The only hotel on this island.
The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a dive base, a water sports center (actually very small), a shop, a pool and a jacuzzi.
Everything is very well kept, but you can see that the buildings and the interior of the bungalows are not new anymore. Anyway, we liked it very much there.
Huge and spacious with lots of room for your luggage, a partly open air bathroom with a tub and a small garden, very good beds and a refrigerator. We liked it a lot but to be honest: they should paint the walls soon and repair the broken bathroom tiles.
New double bungalows located in the middle of the island. No beach view.
They are less expensive but it can get very hot there, because there is no cool breeze from the see.
The best choice. These are also double bungalows, located directly on the beach although some of them have no beach view because of palm trees and bushes that were planted to give them some shade from the sun.
The best location is on the north side between the coffe shop and the restaurant. These bungalows are already renovated and have a beautiful view and the best part of the beach. The bungalows on the west side are also ok (that's where we were). Try to avoid getting a bungalow on the east side, because it is very shady, the beach is small and full of stones and the water smells a bit during low tide.
Each bungalow has a small terrace with a huge swing, a great place to relax between diving and dinner.
Double bungalows built on wooden stilts in the lagoon on the south side of Machchafushi. They were nicknamed leper colony, because they are only accessible over a small footbridge and very far away from the restaurant and the dive base. If you want to go swimming you have to walk back across the footbridge to the beach, which is not really nice there.
We are still wondering why these are the most expensive rooms on the island.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served as all you can eat buffets. The choice depends on the number of guests on the island, i.e. many/few guests = good/poor variety, but we always found something we liked.
They always serve fresh fruit, salads, pasta, vegetables, fish and meat. We really liked the curry buffet at dinner, the curries were very hot but delicious.
After two weeks the buffet starts to get boring, that's why they arrange a special maldivian night one a week.
The coffee shop is serving hot and cold food during it's opening hours and you can order a beach barbecue in the evening. The food here is not included in the full board price, i.e. you have to pay extra for it. We decided to try the lobster barbecue next year, because it smelled delicious.
During it's opening hours (from 7AM to sunset) the coffee shop serves all kinds of beverages, the restaurant offers them at lunch and dinner and the bar is opened when the coffee shop closes.
There is a cocktail of the day and the restaurant has a surprisingly good choice of wines (for a Maldivian island). We never tried one, because it was too hot for us to drink wine.
The prices are OK for the Maldives, 1,5 l water 2,50$, a can of Coke 2$, a can of beer 2,50 $ (in February 2000). Ordering Coke and Rum is cheaper than a Cuba Libre and twice as much ;-)
Very friendly, helpfull and attentively. They remember repeaters and adore children.
The service in the restaurant was ok, please remember that the waiters are Maldivians and very few of them were schooled in their jobs. nevertheless our waiter remembered from the third day on that we liked to drink coffee at breakfast, Coke at lunch and beer in the evening and he also brought a bottle of water for each of us at every meal. His order of service was a bit strange, because women were always the last ones to get their drinks, but that was probably because he was a Muslim ;-)
The room service was good, the bungalow was thoroughly cleaned twice a day, the bed linen was folded in a different style every evening and the bed was always decorated with flowers. We have to admit that it took some days until we figured out that we had to throw our towels to the floor in order to get some new ones ;-)
|How To Pay
Every thing you order or buy at the shop is booked to your room. You simply pay everything on the last evening. The Hotel accepts cash (US $) and credit cards.
You'll only need some small cash to tip the room boy and the boys that carry your luggage. A 10% service charge is automatically added to everything you order in the coffee shop, the restaurant or the bar.
We rented a safe at the reception to safely store our money, credit cards, passport, tickets and other valuables.
The dive base is managed perfectly by Thomas and his girlfriend Zissi. They really care for every single diver and they tried very hard to make us happy. There was no travel guide on the island during our holidays. Zissi jumped in and also managed all the small and not so small problems of all diving and non diving guests.
When you check in, a member of the crew will check your dive log and your medical record. If the latter is too old, you have to visit the doctor. Then they hand out weight belts, weights, a safety buoy and everything you want to rent from them. If you have a voucher you should give it to them now.
The first dive is always a house reef dive. All new guests must do a check dive (the usual procedure) before the guide shows them the house reef, the entrance and exit points and the way to the wreck. Repeaters don't have to do a check dive.
The building is located close to the jetty and to the coffee shop.
There are enough separate fresh water basins to rinse masks and cameras, regulators and the rest of your gear.
The lists for house reef and dhoni dives are pinned to a wall close to the entry of the building. Here you will also find the house reef map as well as drawings and descriptions of the dive sites that are visited on the dhoni trips.
The equipment room is very small. It has some racks with hangers for wetsuits and jackets and a shelf along it's walls where you can stow away your equipment box. If there are many divers on the island, it may be difficult to find some room for your equipment. The door of the equipment room is locked in the evening as soon as the last night divers have returned to the base and reopened around 7 AM. If you want to do an early morning dive you have to store your equipment outside this room (or in your bungalow) and remind the base to prepare your tanks.
In the building you will find a small shelf with reef and fish guides and some scuba diving magazines in German and English language, i.e. you don't have to bring your own. You can also buy (5$) a small booklet with maps and very good descriptions of many dive sites of the area.
We really enjoyed how friendly and professional the dive base and it's staff handled the day to day business and cared for their guests. Although rather small, this is one of the best dive bases we know.
The Maldives have an official depth limit of 30 meters. In case of a diving accident, the computer is checked and any dives deeper than 30 meters may cause problems with your insurance.
There is a time limit of 60 minutes for dhoni dives (because they don't want the divers to drift too far apart) and of 45 minutes for night dives on the house reefs. There is no time limit for house reef dives during day time.
You have to enter the estimated start time and the actual end time of every house reef dive into a list that is hanging on a wall at the dive base. The start time makes sure that your bottle is filled and if you did not return after 2 hours, the dive base will start to search for you.
The lists for the dhoni trips are pinned to the same wall at 4PM every afternoon. You can enter your name in one of the lists until 2 hours before the trip starts (sometimes it is also possible to simply grab a tank and jump aboard) as long as the boat is not full.
You are supposed to wash the sand from your feet before you enter the dive base.
The dive base has several traditional dhonis for 12 to 20 divers. Depending on the number of divers on the island, they offer 2 or 3 different trips each morning and each afternoon. During the manta season they have a dhoni going to Madivaru almost every morning. The driving time varies from 15 minutes (to Kudarah Thila) to 1,5 hours (to Madivaru). Once a week the offer a full day trip to dive sites that are too far away for a half day trip.
Unfortunately the dhonis have few room to safely store your equipment and there are no toilets.
When the sea is rough it can get pretty wet on board.
The crew will carry the tanks between dive base and dhonis, but divers have to carry their own equipment box including weights. It is only a short way along the jetty, but the wooden tiles there are very hot. It is a good idea to walk in your dive boots if you don't want to burn your feet.
Every dhoni trip costs 9$, dhoni trips are NOT included in the dive packages.
The dive base offers 11l aluminium tanks. They charge 1$ if you want to use one of their 15l tanks. The compressed air was OK.
All tanks have DIN/INT valves, i.e. you don't need an adapter.
The dive base did not offer Nitrox in February 2000, but the Sub Aqua catalogue from Summer 2002 states that they offer Nitrox now and that you can also book Nitrox dives in advance.
You can book equipment in advance or rent it on the island. We didn't need anything ourselves but what we saw was well kept and looking OK.
Upon check in every diver gets a safety buoy from the dive base. You are supposed to carry it with you on every dive, because you might ascend far away from the dhoni or drift away and the dhoni crew will be able to spot you as soon as the buoy is inflated. You are supposed to return that buoy when you check out.
|UW Photo / Video
The dive base has two fresh water basins reserved for masks and cameras. Remember that ignoranmuses are everywhere and don't get angry if you find a neoprene booty swimming close to your housing ;-)
There is no fresh water available on the dhonis. We wrapped our housings into wet towels and stored them on a shaded small table reserved for dive lights, computers and cameras. We thoroughly cleaned everything in the bath tub of our bungalow after each dive.
Due to the high humidity in the air Tom's video housing started to fog after some minutes on the first dives. We simply packed 2-3 silica gel packs into the housing (we dried them each evening with our hair dryer). Worked very well.
The crew was skilled and careful when it was possible to hand the cameras down into the water and back on board. Unfortunately we did many dives where we had to jump with the camera because the current was too strong to wait for someone to hand it down.
If you are not used to diving in strong currents and have a huge housing and heavy strobes with long arms, better leave them on the dhoni or on the island.
It is a difficult choice to decide between macro and wide angle because you may see everything from a tiny nudibranch to a whaleshark on each single dive. I'd probably take the wide angle if i had to choose.
The wreck on the house reef is a very good place to shoot some pictures and the current there is usually rather weak.
You can rent a Motormarine MX10 at the dive base. It costs 25$ for one dive/film and you have to bring your own film.
There was Oxygen and a first aid kit on every dhoni and the medical station on the island also has oxygen and can treat smaller inhuries.
In February 2000 we dived with Thomas (the manager) and Zissi (his girlfriend), Willem (from the Netherlands) and his girlfriend Rosanna (from Italy) and with Kuday, the best of all dive guides.
They all knew all the dive sites inside out and their briefings were excellent (they used drawings that the dive base painted and updated during the last years). Before diving, the guide in charge always checked the current. This worked very well except on one dive where the dhoni captain managed to drop us too far away from the reef.
We had lots of fun with all of them during the dhoni trips, enjoyed spectacular dives and spent the evenings talking and dancing in the bar or on the beach.
Kuday is very special, because he is one of the few Maldivian dive guides, he is diving for more than 20 years and he is working on Machchafushi for more than 5 years now. He knows every fish by it's first name, he can show you incredible things under water, he can swim against a current that turns us normal divers into plancton and he is one of the funniest guys we ever met.
We are already looking forward to dive with them next year.
|How To Pay
Paying your dives or dive packages on the island is much more expensive than booking a Sub Aqua dive package in advance. If you plan to go to Machchafushi and you want to do many dives, it will be cheaper if you pay the slightly higher Sub Aqua hotel price (compared with other travel agencies like Kreutzer) because you will save a lot of money with their non limit dive packages.
You have to pay your dhoni trips, full day trips and everything else you didn't pay in advance when you check out from the dive base. In February 2000 they accepted cash in US $ and German Marks as well as Eurocheques but no credit cards.
|Dive Sites:||South Ari Atoll
Most of the dive sites are located in the south-eastern part of the Ari Atoll and around Angaga. During the manta season they also go to Madivaru, which is close to Rangali on the western edge of the atoll.
|Dive Sites (see Map)
You'll find may websites with pictures and descriptions of the dive sites we visited. I added links to some of these sites at the end of this page.
Basically we liked every dive site we visited. Here are some short descriptions of our favourites:
Madivaru (Manta Point):
This place is our favourite dive site in the whole Ari Atoll, even better than Maaya Thila and Fishhead. We made 4 dives there, we saw a total of 8 mantas and several sharks, a school of mobula rays, several napoleons, huge schools of snappers and jacks, moray eels, lobsters, turtles, nudibranchs ... you name it we saw it - except the whaleshark, that we saved us for the next year ;-)
One of the most famous dive sites of the Maldives and still beautiful, although sometimes pretty crowded. The under water scenery is spectacular, the famous huge school of blue lined snappers is still there and the corals are healthy due to strong currents. Be careful not to get into decompression, the reef top is rather deep and you'll have to make your stop in the blue.
A very special place, also not bothered by coral bleaching because it is deep and the current is strong. Here you can dive through a beautiful canyon with lots of gorgonians and soft coral. Please be careful not to damage the corals and don't forget to watch your computer, you'll have to make your stop in the blue again.
An easy drift in a really strong current along the south side of the reef of the island Dhangethi. We saw lots of sharks and eagle rays and many anemones with clownfish at the end of the dive. Make sure to dive around the western corner of the reef or you will drift on to Africa.
Another beautiful drift along the north side of Dhigurah island. We were supposed to see sharks which we didn't, but we drifted through huge schools of fusiliers and there were hunting jacks everywhere out in the blue. The upper part of the reef has many caves (arches) with sandy bottom where you can find sand eels and turtles. The reef top is in 5 meters and it is crowded with fish although the corals are dead, which makes it a perfect place to end the dive.
This is a macro spot with poor visibility but you will find lots of nudis, shrimps, blennies and scorpionfish. The dive site is far away from Machchafushi but is usually visited on full day trips.
Before the last El Niño Machchafushi was supposed to have one of the most beautiful house reefs of the Maldives. Unfortunately this beauty was almost completely destroyed by coral bleaching down to 15 meters. The good news is that the corals started crowing again, you can find small baby hard and soft corals everywhere and below 20 meters the reef is OK and still healthy.
Despite (or maybe because) of the dead corals the reef is populated by many different kinds of fish which makes it a good place to dive and snorkel. We saw black and white tip reef sharks, sting rays, turtles, groupers, snappers, many small fish and some lobsters. There were some baby sharks (20 cm long and absolutely harmless) in the lagoon and the area around the jetties was a veritable fish soup.
Almost every evening a group of dolphins was playing in the lagoon while we enjoyed our sun downer at the coffee shop.
The main attraction of the house reef is the wreck of the 52 m long MV Kudhimaa. She was sunk in May 1999 and in February 2000 the first corals and sponges have started to grow there. All around the wreck you can see lots of fish. There are also some resident batfish and some huge lionfish. The storage area is easy to enter and filled with billions of glass fish swaying like a silver curtain when you dive through them. A very nice wreck and surely good for several dives.
The house reef has four entries and you can dive all around the island (too long for one dive). The most interesting places including the wreck are on the north west side, between the restaurant and the dhoni jetty. When you are diving at the house reef you usually put on your whole equipment at the dive base. Walking with your wet suit on and carrying your tank on your back can get pretty hot sometimes.
Although the corals still have to grow again, you can make some very nice and relaxing dives here. The current around the house reef is usually very weak, which is a nice change after all those drifts and washing machines. The house reef also is a good place for photographers and beginners.
We don't know how the Maldivian Reefs looked before the coral bleaching but we noticed some improvement when compared to last years dives around Ellaidhoo in the North Ari Atoll. We also noticed many anemones and soft corals that were not there last year.
There were many and all different kinds of fish at all the dive sites, but few nudibranchs, shrimps and crabs. We also saw fewer sharks than last year.
Most of the dive sites visited from Machchafushi are either drift dives along the outer reefs or places where the reef top is deeper than 10 meters and the current is very strong, like Broken Rock or Orimas Thila. These places are not affected by coral bleaching but you always have to watch your computer to make sure you are not getting into decompression, which can happen very fast after a week of non limit diving. Don't forget to make your safety stop in 5 meters, even though you'll probably spend it drifting through the blue.
We had extremely strong current on almost every dive, which meant: Careful buddy check on the dhoni, jump together if you want to dive together, dive down immediately and try to get to the reef before the current carries you away or across the reef top. Use a current hook instead of holding on to the reef with your hands if you want to stop. Spend the end of the dive in an area where the reef shades you from the current (sometimes we had only 10 meters of shelter). Watch out when ascending and during the safety stop, there often are washing machines that will pull you up and down for several meters. If you are caught in such an area, keep calm, watch your ears and try to dive to the side to get out of it.
To make a long story short: The South Ari Atoll is still worth visiting, especially during the manta season !
|Flight:||Munich <-> Hulule (Male) with Condor
Condor business as usual. Friendly service, good movies and the food was edible.
Your travel agent can make a reservation for your window or aisle seats and you can book Condor Comfort Class if you want more room and better food.
Our Flight to Male started at 7:30PM, which gave us a chance to do our packing and last minute shopping during the day. You'll eat dinner, watch a movie, try to sleep and when you wake up in the morning you are already half the way across the Indian Ocean. Breakfast is served less 2 hours before landing at Hulule airport.
On the way back our plane left Hulule around noon and due to the different time zones we arrived in Munich on the same evening.
In Munich all our check in baggage was X-rayed. We had our dive lights in our carry on bags but passengers that had them packed in their dive bags had to show them that they had removed the light bulbs.
In Hulule the whole baggage was also X-rayed but they were not interested in dive lights.
|Airport Hulule (Male)
As soon as you walk down the gangway (they still have gangways in Hulule) you will get a first impression of how pleasantly warm and humid the Maldivian air is. Entering the immigration building is a small shock, because it is air conditioned and cooled down below 20°C. Better put on your jacket or sweatshirt again or you will catch a cold.
Immigration is usually easy, your passport needs to be valid for 6 more months and you have to make sure that you line up in one of the queues for tourists (the queues for Maldivians are much shorter but they won't let you pass through there). The forms for immigration and customs are usually handed out in the airplane and you can ask a stewardess if you have problems filling them out.
Once you passed through immigration, try to find a trolley and move on to the baggage claim. The baggage usually starts coming in surprisingly fast.
As soon as you collected all your belongings, move on to one of the customs queues. Here all your luggage will be X-rayed (probably not film proof). It is strictly forbidden to bring in alcoholic beverages and products made from pork meet (like salami). If they see something that is looking suspicious you'll have to open your bag and they will check and confiscate it. You have to fill out another form and your Rum or salami will spend the next weeks in a storage room at the airport. You are supposed to pick it up when you are leaving. It is also strictly forbidden to bring in pornographic stuff so be careful with covers of harmless books or magazines.
Try to catch a trolley as soon as you arrive at the airport, there are only few of them standing around. Go to the check in queue first to get rid of your luggage and then have a drink in one of the cafes outside.
Even though the duty free shop is rather expensive now, it is nice to shop around a bit. There is a store that sells Maldivian food, tea and spices - we always buy some souvenirs there.
The departure area is rather uncomfortable but there is a self service restaurant if you want to eat or drink something. There also is a small room for smokers, which has no windows and an air you could cut with a knife (visibility < 1 meter). Perfect to give up smoking ;-)
|Transfer:||Air Taxi: Hulule (Male) -> Machchafushi
At the exit of the airport you'll find many small booths of travel agencies, tour operators and resort islands. It took us only some seconds to find our Sub Aqua contact, who gave us a warm welcome, wrote down our names and sent us to a mini van at the parking lot.
As soon as the other Sub Aqua guests arrived, we departed to the small waterplane airport at the other side of Hulule island. The last time, we had to drive across the runway (there even was a traffic light), but now they have built a street along the beach, so we got an airport sightseeing tour for free.
Last year our flight to Ellaidhoo was operated by Maldivian Air Taxi, this year it was an airline called Trans Maldivian Airways. We had some problems with excess baggage this time because they wanted to charge us 1$/kg for excess baggage and they accepted only 20 kg for free. We told them that Sub Aqua has a statement in their catalogue where they say that the baggage allowed on the flight to Male would also be transferred in the water plane. After some more arguing, they accepted to get their money from Sub Aqua, so everything was ok for us. Back home we found out that this statement is true for Maldivian Air Taxi only, but nobody ever complained.
We were probably lucky that our Twin Otter had some free seats, because fellow travellers going to other islands were told, that the plane was full and their luggage would arrive with the next flight in the evening.
You'll have to wait at the airport until your own plane is due (between 30 minutes and 2 hours), during this time you can watch waterplanes taking off and landing. You can also see the first Maldivian fish under the jetty.
When you are ready to board, try to get a window seat, the view is really spectacular. I'm always surprised how many people can squeeze into such a small plane, but inside it is not too cramped. Most of the pilots are very friendly and they all fly with bare feet. I once asked one of them, why they don't wear shoes and he answered : "Because we don't have to".
The flight to Machchafushi takes about 30 minutes and you will see the island of Male and many lagoons and resort islands on your way down to South Ari Atoll. Most pilots circle above Machchafushi to give you a chance to shoot some pictures, before they land next to a small wooden platform in the sea, which is the local airport.
You'll have to wait on the platform and hope that your dive bags stay aboard, until the dhoni from Machchafushi has docked. After a enjoyable 10 minute cruise around the southern half of the island, you'll finally arrive at the jetty.
Usually the local travel guide will expect you there, bring you to the reception area and offer you some fruit juice. As soon as you have checked in, some boys will carry your luggage to your bungalow. Get rid of your shoes, unpack your bags and start your vacation.
|Air Taxi: Machchafushi -> Hulule (Male)
On the day before you have to leave, your room number, flight number, breakfast time and dhoni departure time are written on a huge whiteboard standing in the reception area.
The departure time depends on the schedule of the waterplane and your flight back home. We had breakfast at 8 AM and our dhoni left at 9AM. Getting up early was no problem but we really hated to put on our shoes again ;-)
Depending on the time you are leaving, it is probably better to pay the hotel bill on the evening before. The resort accepts cash in US $, Master Card and Visa.
The dhoni will leave as soon as you can hear the waterplane approaching, which usually gives you time to say goodbye to the dive staff and some of your new found friends. Enjoy the last view of Machchafushi, board the Twin Otter and try not to think of the work and rain that is probably expecting you at home now (I was crying the whole way to Hulule because I didn't want to leave ;-)
|Tour Operator:||Sub Aqua
Mrs. Kunkel not only told us to go to Machchafushi because she was sure we would love it, she also booked the flights for our dive buddy Jörn from Hongkong. Perfect service !
|Tips:||Compare prices and try to book the diving in advance. Our German based tour operator Sub Aqua offered dive packages for half of what you pay on the island.|
|During the high season many islands are over booked. We met several people at the airport that told us horror stories about being told that their island was fully booked and that the travel agency had decided to send them to one of the other islands, they represent. Usually these tourist parking islands have lower standards, lots of animation and no house reef. Make sure to have a written guarantee that you will spend your full holidays on the island you booked.|
|The best time to visit the Maldives is from December to April. Few rain, calm seas and good visibility at most dive sites.|
|The manta season at Madivaru goes from January to March, the whaleshark season is a bit earlier.|
|Bring a current hook with you. It is better for your hands and the reef if you hook up instead of trying to hold tight with your hands.|
|Ask your travel agent if you will need shoes on your island (not every island has those perfectly kept sandy roads that allow you to walk on bare feet). If you go to Machchafushi, leave your shoes at home !|
|You won't need many beach towels on Machchafushi, because each guest gets a fresh beach towel every week and they also hand out towels on each dhoni trip.|
|Even though the food is good: Bring some instant cappuccino, cookies, granola bars and Nutella to add to the island diet. Make sure to store everything edible in the fridge to avoid ants and cockroaches in your room.|
|Most of the dive guides are happy if the get some fresh baked bread, cheese and Nutella. You can also give them your leftover sun cream, body lotion, hair conditioner and medicaments before you leave.|
|Usually there is a doctor on Machchafushi who can treat smaller injuries and the typical tourist diseases.
A special Thank You to Doc Andrea from Italy. You are not only a good doctor but also a perfect dive buddy !
|On the Maldives many divers suffer from bacterial infections of the auditory canal after some days of diving. In order to prevent this you should clean your ears with fresh water after every dive and disinfect them with a vinegar lotion. We always carry a small bottle of Dr. Ehm's ear drops (Glycerine 10,0 ml, acetic Acid 2,5 ml, Isopropanol 85% 87,5 ml) with us. This reception will be mixed in every drugstore without prescription.
In case that your ear starts hurting: Stop diving immediately and treat your ears with Panotile drops. Remember that you cannot dive while you take them. After 2 or 3 days your ears should be OK again.
|Tom is fighting his sea sickness with Japanese sushi ginger. It works for him and has no side effects. You can buy it in small packages in almost every Asian food store.|
|Some dive bases, like the one on Machchafuchi offer a short term DAN membership to cover diving accidents during your holidays. This is interesting if you have no other insurance.|
|If the sea is rough it can get really wet on the dhonis. Bring a watertight bag with you to store cameras, books, dive logs and everything else that should stay dry.|
|It is strictly forbidden to bring alcoholic beverages and products made from pork meat to the Maldives. Customs will X-ray all your baggage upon arrival and they usually find everything that is not cleverly camouflaged.|
|Transfer: If you can choose between tranfer by waterplane and by speed dhoni, take the waterplane. You'll enjoy the flight and it is much faster.|
|Transfer: Some waterplane airlines accept only 20 kilo of luggage. You should ask your travel agent at home, if the tour operators can give you a written guarantee that the same amount of luggage that is allowed on the flight to Hulule is also allowed on the waterplane or if you have to pay for excess baggage.|
|The duty free shop at the airport in Hulule is rather expensive, some of the watches and photo equipment were more expensive than in Germany.
If you want to make a good deal, you'll have to make a shopping trip to the city of male, things are supposed to be much cheaper there.
|Conclusion:||We actually wanted to go to Reethi Beach or Mirihi but Mrs Kunkel from Sub Aqua persuaded us to try Machchafushi, because Reethi Beach was completely booked and Mirihi was a bit too expensive.
In the end we were very lucky because Machchafushi was exactly what we were looking for: A small and comfortable island, a professional dive base with an extremely friendly staff and great diving.
We already decided to return next February !
|Literature:||Dive Maldives: A Guide to the Maldives Archipelago
Atoll Editions 1998, 2nd Edition; ISBN 1876410000
|Lonely Planet: Diving & Snorkeling Maldives
Casey Mahaney, Astrid Witte Mahaney
Lonely Planet 2002; ISBN 1864503637
|Indian Ocean Reef Guide
Hollywood Import & Export Inc. 1997; ISBN 3931702677
|Nudibranchs and Sea Snails
Hollywood Import & Export Inc.; ISBN 3931702987
|Crustacea Guide Of The World
Hollywood Import & Export Inc. 1999; ISBN 393170274X
|Corals: A Quick Reference Guide
Ricordea Publishing 1999; ISBN 1883693098
|Island: Sub Aqua: Machchafushi (German only)|
|Island: Visit Maldives: Machchafushi|
|Island: Hello Maldives: Machchafushi|
|Dive Sites: Sub Aqua: Machchafushi Dive Sites (German only)|
|Dive Sites: Dive Center Little Mermaid: South Ari Atoll Dive Sites|
|Maldives: Maldive Resort Island Overview (Visit Maldives)|
|Maldives: Go Maldives|
|Tour Operator: Sub Aqua Tauchreisen (German only)|
|Tour Operator: Kreutzer Touristik (German only)|
|Tour Operator: Stop Over Reisen (English)|
|Photo Gallery: Machchafushi 2000|
© Sabine Noack and Thomas Hebel, March 2000 Last Update: August 2002