M/V Manthiri Report -- Maldives Live-Aboard
The following report is provided courtesy of Robert Ricke and
Maria Hults. Recently returned from a trip to the Maldives, and a
cruise aboard the M/V Manthiri, Bob & Maria are full-time professional
photographers, and highly experienced world-travelers.
From: "Robert Ricke"
To: "Kenneth Knezick"
Subject: M/V MANTHIRI -- Maldives Review
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:34:30 -0500
Ken: Please excuse the tardiness of this reply but I'm busy as always. We recently dove again with the Manthiri. By request Manik was our divemaster, and did his usual outstanding job of divemastering. Everyone had an excellent trip and speak of it still. The currents were up, but not as strong as the last time we were there - or we're becoming accustomed to them. I think not though, Manik said we were a bit early for the large full moon tides.
Her recent refit has given the Manthiri a large and gracious air conditioned salon. Half of this salon is organized with couches into cozy islands where small groups of passengers may gather to visit, or seek privacy in their book. The other half of this comfortable salon serves as the dining room with two large round tables giving everyone plenty of elbowroom. Other on-board amenities include an unlimited supply of towels with no "inside/outside" restrictions, and en suite flush toilets American style.
The food was superb and lavish with a European/American/Indian flair. There is a meat and a fish course at every meal. Even our fussy eaters, "I don't like hot food!" fared well. The bunks were comfortable and our older, larger divers slept comfortably.
No report about this fine dive boat would be complete without mentioning the exceptional crew that acts as your host, food service, cabin maintenance, and dive crew. Working in exceptional harmony this crew of eleven will have learned all your habits by the second day. On the dive dhony (boat) the dive crew will have your gear set-up and waiting when you arrive, your backpack positioned just as you like it.
If you are a photographer, by your third dive they will know how you enter the water and how you come up looking for your camera - it will be right in that same place for your hand every dive.
Want to take your tank off in the water? "No problem, glad to help!" In short, they work together with a harmony and pleasure of the job that reflects itself in your comfort on the dive dhony, at meals, or in your cabin.
Sharks, a White marlin in the middle of a dive, a hammerhead close enough to touch, and the excitement of being whooshed down current among schools of fish maintained its level of excitement for the whole ten days. An older couple wants to come back next year -- and I thought they might be our worst travelers and divers.
The Manthiri now has E6. I know, I helped put the act together. Manik bought a great Jobo developer and we spent the ten days showing the fellows how to use it. While in Singapore I stopped in to his supplier and ordered up some Kodak chemistry which I think will make the operation even better, but it is a fine E6 processor and now the guys know how to use it.
Based on all this, we are looking to do another trip on the Manthiri. Now I must get back to work - but will look forward to seeing you at Beneath the Sea...
Bob, for Maria & Bob
PS. One night, much to our pleasure and surprise, we were taken to the island for dinner. The island in this case did not require the credit cards everyone ran to their cabin to get, the island was a spit of sand barely above the tide line, its 150 feet lit with a line of sand candles the crew had put out for the occasion. We were all astounded that they would have spent their afternoon creating such an elaborate evening for us. But that glowing line of sand candles was merely the beginning.
On this thin sand shingle, halfway around the world, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the crew of the Manthiri had dug a sit-down table out of the sand, covered it with a tablecloth, and had a multiple course dinner of meat, fish, pasta, and desert, including wine, hot and ready to be served. As the sand-candles found their end, sputtered, and went out they were replaced by stars, too many to count, and the Southern Cross high in the sky pointing to a Milky Way.
It was an evening we shall carry with us to many places, many conversations, and shall remember warmly forever.
For additional insight read Ken Knezick's Report from the Maldives
Or view these Arhictectural Diagrams of the M/V Madivaru 7
For a selection of additional photographs see the new Maldives Photo Portfolio