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The Maldives - Desert Island Diving

by Brian Humphreys

Reproduced from in focus 9 (April 1985)

Well that was it, myself and John Jones had made the decision to go, especially after talking over a beer at the Thursday meeting of BScUP with Jimmy Wilmot and Phil. They reckoned it was the bee's knees.

I had been to most of the good places, including the Red Sea, so perhaps the Maldives would be the icing on the cake.

And now, after three weeks plus, I've been there and back to home sweet home. Looking back, I can guarantee three things?

You're going to spend a lot of money if you go. The flight and half board on the island of Bandos for two weeks is £800. The extras such as drinks from the only bar are expensive? Swan lager £1.50 a can. Spirits £2.00 a shot. Mixers such as Coke and lemonade £1.00. And if you're thinking of taking your own, forget it, no import is allowed. Sun tan oil £4.50. Aspro 25p per tablet, cigarettes £1.20. Kodak negative film, get ready for it, £8.00 a roll. And now the diving, you've guessed, from the only dive centre. Single tank and weight belt £17.00 per fill. Boat dives, from the only boat, £6.00 per dive. A bit heavy maybe, but its the same price for a complete set of diving gear e.g. suit, lifejacket, fine, mask, snorkel, tank, D.V. (and very good stuff), so its not worth lugging your own that far, as there is no discount. So Herr Voigtman is going to be a rich man, but he's been at it for 15 years, so I wish him luck.

The sun, one word, fantastict. From the first light of day to the marvellous sunset. So watch the sunburn -A little at a time. The beaches, the palms - there are nine coconuts for the taking ? the only free drink on the island. One person per beach if you want.

Lastly, the sea. As blue as blue, just like Ektachrome. Vis. up to 200ft. The coral reefs are very good, but maybe not as varied as the Red Sea, but plenty of them. Its real winner by a mile has got to be the fish life, so many varieties, and they don't seem shy. You actually have to push them away sometimes to take your pictures. Small ones and big ones, including, compliments of Herr Voightman, who runs a Shark feeding display every other day, the sharks. If you can keep from shaking, you're guaranteed good shots. Even with a Nikonos 35 mm lens they can be as good as any I've seen. So whatever the cost and gripes, its got to be worth those half dozen or so shark pics, which, by the way, have just been developed -and boy I'm happy. So if like me, the wife lets you, go and enjoy it and good luck.

N. B. If the Pound stays low take US Dollars. Take good shampoo, no hot water is available. Don't take more than your travel clothes, except shorts and flip flops. Do take bits and bobs for repairing your camera equipment.


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