Marine Wildlife of the Maldives

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£2,599
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5 / 5 from 4 reviews >
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Trip code: 
WOYA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Marine Wildlife
Min age:
18
Group size:
6–12

Discover the marine wildlife of the Maldives.

Awake to the sun rising over the azure ocean, snorkel areas of stunning beauty and abundant marine life including Manta rays, Whale sharks, Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles as well as Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins, visit unspoiled islands and by night relax on deck gazing at the millions of stars above you. A traditionally crafted luxury Turkish Gulet complete with sails is the perfect way to experience the magic of the Maldives.

Highlights

  • Spend 6 nights on a gulet in the Maldives
  • Discover unspoilt islands, pristine beaches and idyllic atolls
  • Snorkel with Whale sharks, sea turtles and Manta rays (in season)

Key information

  • 6 nights in twin cabins on board the Felicity, all en suite facilities
  • Full day and half day Whale shark safari included

What's included

  • All food included whilst on board
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Male; board our boat, the Felicity; cruise through South Male Atoll.

    Following the arrival of the group flights, we will move to a hotel for the initial briefing before transferring by dhoni from the airport to board the MV Felicity, our home for the next 6 days, arriving in time for a light lunch. Today we cruise south to Guraidhoo in South Male Atoll. During this time you are able to do as you please, relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy and watch the beauty of the Maldives pass you by and maybe catch sight of dolphins. Our crew will try to find an opportunity for you to have your first snorkelling excursion this afternoon. If the islands of the Maldives are beautiful, what lies under the water is a veritable wonder of nature. The reefs that encircle the islands and the Atolls are just as abundant in their variety of coral as the marine creatures that live in and around them. This coupled with the amazingly clear water, make snorkeling and diving in the Maldives a unique experience that you will not forget.
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Turtle snorkelling safari in South Male Atoll; cross into Ari Atoll.

    This morning our first stop will be a reef located on the east side of the atoll which offers the strong possibility of a number of turtle sightings. The reef is shallow but dense with corals which provide turtles with an abundant food source. As with all Maldivian reefs there will also be plenty of fish life to observe including Box fish, Porcupine fish and schools of Banner fish. The remainder of the day we will cross the atoll into Ari Atoll and head south towards the island of Dhigurah. Dependent on the sailing conditions if there is time there will be the opportunity this afternoon to take a further snorkel trip before making a visit to the local island of Dhigurah where we will take a traditional Maldivian afternoon tea. Dhigurah actually means long island and at 3km, it is indeed the longest island in the atoll. It is also one of the most picturesque with a long beach, protected lagoon and a sandbar at its southern end.
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Full Day Whale shark safari with the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP).

    The region of South Ari Atoll is very lucky to have a probable unique year-round population of Whale sharks. Nowhere else in the world boasts Whale sharks every single month of the year and furthermore many of the sharks seen are the same individuals time after time. We spend time with a representative of the Maldives Whale shark Research Team or a local marine biologist to learn about these magnificent creatures and how identification can be made before heading out on our own Whale shark safari. We may see 1 or 2 sharks in half an hour or given that they are wild creatures in their natural habitat we may not encounter one for the whole time we are searching. However the unpredictability all adds to the excitement! When we do spot them we will have the opportunity to snorkel alongside them, a truly magical experience. Whale sharks can, at times, swim very quickly – so you may need to work hard to keep up with them in the water!
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Morning Whale shark safari; afternoon snorkelling in South Ari Atoll.

    Today we go in search of Whale sharks once more and if the time of year is right (December – March) we may also encounter Manta rays. Following lunch we will be taken to one of the best snorkelling sites in this area where we may be fortunate to encounter turtles amongst the colourful corals and fish life. The water conditions and currents play an important role in the choice of snorkel sites however it is likely that fish species such as Dogtooth Tuna, Trevally's, Jacks, Sweetlips, Butterfly fish, Wahoo and Fusiliers will be encountered. When not in the water the day is one for relaxation on board MV Felicity.
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Morning Manta ray snorkelling (in season); afternoon cruise back into South Male Atoll.

    On departures between February and April we will cruise to Madivaru, a marine protected area, where with two cleaning stations we hope to encounter Manta rays. With a radio network between dive and cruising vessels our guide and crew will do their best to encounter Manta rays but should we not be lucky enough further snorkelling opportunities to encounter sharks, turtles, eels, octopus and rays will be offered. Out of season it is still possible to encounter solitary Manta rays and we will also make the most of a final opportunity to encounter Whale sharks. Qualified divers are offered the optional opportunity to dive Kudarah Thila today, a protected marine area and one of the most exciting dive sites in South Ari Atoll (see money section for prices of the optional diving). For those who have not dived before a Discover Scuba Diving Course is offered to learn the basic safety guidelines and skills needed to dive under the direct supervision of a PADI professional.

    This afternoon we will start our cruise northwards.
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cruise back to Male; farewell dinner.

    Today we will continue our cruise north before we anchor in the lagoon off the island of Hulhumale late afternoon. This morning there will be a final chance to snorkel these tropical waters and whilst cruising we can do as we please: relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy, read a book or just watch the beauty of the Maldives pass by. Once anchored in Hulhumale lagoon there will be an optional Male City Walking tour available for those who perhaps would like to stretch their legs! This evening, we will be joined on board by a member of the NGO group Save the Beach who will provide an overview of the Maldives marine environment.
    MV Felicity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Disembark boat and transfer to the airport; fly to London.

    Our adventure ends after a light breakfast. Those on the group flights will be transferred to airport for the flights back to the UK.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Maldives

British nationals can get a tourist visa for up to 30 days on arrival in Maldives, provided you hold a valid onward or return ticket and enough funds to cover your stay. Staying for longer than 30 days without the proper authority is an offence.

Vaccinations

Maldives

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon snacks are fully inclusive whilst on board.
The traditional food of the Maldivians is based around fish, (tuna to be more specific), chilli and coconuts. White rice and “roshi” (a flour based flat-bread) are staple items. Fish is normally smoked, fired, barbequed or roasted. Pork products are strictly prohibited. Typical ingredients used widely in dishes served on board include onion, ginger, garlic, lemon, spices.
Menus include European and Maldivian dishes, freshly prepared on board by our chefs who will do their best to cater for most specific dietary requirements. Please discuss any dietary requirements with your booking advisor at time of booking.
The indoor saloon bar offers a wide choice of soft drinks, wine, beer and spirits to purchase.
Please note that there is absolutely no alcohol allowed on the local islands – it is only permitted in the resorts and on the boats.

Weather

The Maldives has a tropical climate, plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. There can be heavy rain showers pretty much any time of year, but they tend to be short and cannot be accurately predicted seasonally.

Is this trip for you?

This is predominantly a marine adventure. You should be comfortable in the water in order to participate in the ocean excursions, but no certifications such as SCUBA are necessary. We take no risks with health and safety and our expert staff monitor conditions to take appropriate measures for a wonderful time in the area.
The climate in the Maldives is tropical which means it can get very hot and humid and you should be prepared for this.
Whilst the months we offer the trip are not known for poor weather conditions it is always possible that we may encounter the occasional day of rough seas and therefore an ability to swim is highly recommended.
Please note that the itinerary listed is only a guideline and may be changed based on sightings in order to maximzie the wildlife viewing experience.

Accommodation

MV Felicity

A traditionally crafted and built luxury Turkish Gulet complete with sails, the MV Felicity has a length of 28m, a beam of 6.85m and a draft of 2.60m.

With two decks and 7 cabins, the Felicity accommodates 14 passengers comfortably. All cabins are air-conditioned with attached bathroom including shower, small wardrobe, drawer and storage facilities, portholes and a DC wall fan.

There is an outdoor dining area and an indoor area just in case of rain!

The indoor saloon area is furnished with dining table and seating plus banquette seating and is equipped with a TV-DVD-Stereo area and an equipment charging area.

The communal open-air deck space is furnished with sun mats and banquette seating.

Please note: the Felicity only has 7 cabins with a mix of twin and double rooms; we therefore strongly recommend booking early to guarantee availability of the correct room type. A single supplement is available but there is limited availability.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed June 2016
    Larry Meyers

    Leisure at its finest

    If you like small ships, great food and spending time in and on the water than this is a great trip. Keep in mind that this is a snorkeling trip with a lot of leisure time built in. Be prepared to sit back, read and chat with your fellow travelers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There is no doubt that swimming with a variety of sea life in warm waters is why one comes to the Maldives. Throw in some great sunrises and sunsets, remote and not so remote islands and a few storms and you have a nice variety. These islands are unique in of themselves and alone worth the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A good group leader is someone who knows what they are doing, leads and makes sure everyone is enjoying themselves. My fellow travelers summed it up well--Kamey is a genuinely nice person who likes to have fun and wants others to have fun as well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our departure was the inaugural Marine Wildlife of the Maldives excursion. We were fortunate to have an Exodus representative on the trip and the updated trip notes will cover some of my points. To be clear, the focus of this trip is snorkeling and not diving. There was only one day, Thursday, that diving was a true option. I arrived on the island early and did my diving with the local operator for our trip, Secret Paradise. I had some excellent dives and saw some great sea life. Gear--while the gear on the MV Felicity was very good it is always best to bring your own mask and snorkel to insure no surprises. I brought a shorty but didn't need it. There is no need to bring any towels. What you do need is plenty of good waterproof sunscreen--suggest SP 50. A rash vest with a good SP factor is also a must. For those of you with thin hair on top you should bring a swimming hat. The underside of your arms, tops of your feet and the back of your legs should be given special attention. The MV Felicity has teak decks which means no shoes can be worn while on board. Some boats allow for non slip socks which you might inquire about. I also brought my own bar of soap and liquid laundry soap. Reading material is a must for this trip. There is plenty of leisure time on board. I brought binoculars but never used them. Our captain was kind enough to turn on his Wifi for a few of hours in the evening on a couple of nights. Beer cost 3 dollars US and I believe a bottle of wine went for 22 US. You record how much you drank and settle up at the end.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As my fellow travelers stated--it is a great trip in all aspects.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Gillian Wright-Dixon

    Excellent Trip

    The Maldives is known as paradise to some, others probably wouldn't even consider this part of the world. This trip exceeded my expectations in more ways than one and if your looking to do something different, then give this a go. I have previously done walking/hiking trips or discovery trips and didn't think a boat trip would be exciting enough. I was wrong. I never considered the Maldives previously as a must see destination, and had an image in my head that said "it looks like a boring place to visit with not much to do". I decided to book this trip due to my "give it a go" attitude, and it has been one of my favourite trips I have done that I would go back and do it all again. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone that likes wildlife, great food and good company. The corals and reefs were so vividly clear to see and colourful. The amount of marine wildlife was staggering.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I had the privilege to snorkel with some of the most beautiful biodiverse creatures in the world including whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles which were each awe inspiring and magical. I also had the pleasure of scuba diving for the first time in my life which is an experience I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey was a good leader and certainly knew a lot of information about the areas we visited. He enjoyed having fun with the group and worked well with the ships crew to ensure all needs were met. Kamey is a confident swimmer, snorkeler and diver, so you are in safe hands!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Felicity has a generator that runs throughout the day and night, if you are a light sleeper or if noise disrupts your sleep then I would advise ear plugs for this trip. Plugs in the cabins are English (or at least it was in my cabin). Snorkel equipment and fins are provided so you don't necessarily need to purchase your own. Some of the group were cold at night due to the air conditioning/fan, therefore it might be worth packing a blanket. Alternatively you can turn the air con or fan off. Beach towels and bathroom towels are provided. Beware of stormy weather - its tropical and it happens! The sun is very strong in the Maldives, take a t-shirt to swim in. I ended up wearing more clothes swimming than when I was on the boat! Take a spare pair of socks - if your fins start to rub your toes (like mine did) just snorkel with socks on :) Underwater camera is a must if you wish to take unforgettable shots! Factor 50 sun cream is recommended but its up to you. I used 30 and crisped up too much and too easily. You need to be confident in the water. You are not swimming in a milk pond, there are currents and you can spend a couple of hours in the water at a time. The water is warm day and night, even in rain. Evenings are warm and pleasant I was unsure if I would need a wrap in case the temperature dropped. It didn't drop much and was nice after a hot day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Loved the trip, loved the group, loved the food. Will return in the future.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Jane Herve

    A truly wonderful experience

    This trip will stay with me for a long time. To snorkel with whale sharks and manta rays was amazing. The reefs were fantastic with a huge variety of fish to watch and wonder.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkeling with whale sharks. Seeing the manta rays doing somersaults to catch the plankton too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey was so friendly and great fun. He knew so much about the marine life we saw. He really took care of us and made sure we were safe and confident in the marine environment. He made sure I felt welcome right from when he met me at the airport until he took me back. Really great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be a reasonably confident swimmer to really enjoy this trip. Although the crew were great and ensured we were always safe, I feel a love of the water and the life in it certainly made the trip more fantastic.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will want to go back. I am already planning another trip!
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Chantal Nunhuck

    Perfect for those who love the sea & all it's creatures!

    Its not often that I ever write a review for anything. Felt compelled to do so for this holiday! We were the 1st group to do this trip..... This holiday was excellent on every level! Perfect combination of the sea, snorkelling 2-3 times every day in the azure sea, truly unbelievable that I managed to snorkel alongside a giant whale shark (about 6 metres long & 15 tons) within touching distance for about 15minutes!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling alongside a whale shark! Unforgettable & very precious memory which I will never forget! Food was outstanding! (and I say this as a discerning foodie), it defies belief how the chef managed to produce 3 meals a day in a small galley/kitchen!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey, was superb, a genuinely nice/fun, truly sincere guy and keen to help us wherever possible. The captain (Shafi) also looked after us when snorkelling, always keen to point out anything of interest, hung on to our hand if ever we needed a bit of help speeding up to catch up with any sea creatures. I felt in very safe hands!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Can't flush paper down the loo, so based on a previous bot trip, I brought some nappy bags with me (although cabin bins emptied every day). 2. Got a bit cold I the cabin at night with the A/C and fan on, so a very lightweight blanket might be useful as you only get a sheet to cover you. 3. A rash vest may be useful to reduce the risk of sun burn when snorkelling! The sun is very strong, I'm dark skinned but needed factor 30 reapplied several times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just want to do it all again! :-)

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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