After nine months of COVID and lockdowns we were going stir crazy in London and the idea of a quarantine free corridor to the Maldives seemed very appealing. We had been four times before, most recently when we stayed on the liveaboard Emperor Virgo for a great week of diving in the atolls to the west and south of Male in 2017. This time our travel agent, Trailfinders, recommended the Constance Moofushi resort. We had dived off it in 2017 when we explored Manta Point and the agent told us that all her guests had raved about the resort. On top of that they were offering great discounts!
Moofushi is a medium sized resort with grass roofed villas on the beach and above the water. We opted for a water villa (very comfortable) and were upgraded to a senior water villa - even more comfortable with outside shower etc. The resort is getting over its own lockdown and facilities are opening as the resort fills. It is five star all inclusive with delicious food and wine. I'm sure I have put on weight over the week despite all the diving! Vicky enjoys the spa and we meet lots of other friendly guests of all ages in the bars and on our dives. This is a 'bare foot luxury' style of resort that we love - very relaxed, casual and super friendly.
Bluetribe, the Moofushi dive centre, regularly dives up to 30 dive sites within 30 minutes of the resort. We return to several sites during our 14 dives - notably Manta Point and Dega Thila. Dives are either on reef walls, sunken pinnacles and blocks, channels or passes. The reefs themselves are largely rubble or old coral with healthy, but quite small, hard and soft corals growing (see below). The reef fish were abundant with big shoals of snapper, fusiliers, butterfly fish and surgeon fish along with plenty of reef sharks and turtles to amuse the tourists!
At Manta Point there was a good drop off where you can watch sharks cruising up and down (above). It was here to my amazement that I saw a whale shark cruising along the edge of the drop off before diving down below us. As you drop onto the feeding station you can be lucky and see mantas too. We only saw one on three dives (below) but our friends watched a group of five the day we arrived. December is quite early in the season so sightings can be much better in January. Unfortunately every liveaboard in the Maldives now knows of the site (including us in 2017) so it can get quite busy down there when the big boats arrive. On one dive we rescued a panicking Italian diver who was dropped there in strong current on her first dive of the trip, became separated from the guide, almost ran out of air and was ignored by two other divers from her boat who were nearby - not a great advertisement for MV Orion!
On the reef walls and channel dives we see a lot of eagle rays and a couple of mobular rays. Also some stunning reef fish including my favourite bicolour anthias, parrot wrasse, sweetlips, some giant groupers and napoleons, and lots of cool smaller fish including three varieties of dartfish. Sadly my flash that triggers my strobes fails after one day so I can't take much macro.
Top marks to the dive shop, Bluetribe. The instructors, Nazim, Jalle and Shambe look after us very well (so does the boss, Miles), the boat guys were great and the kit looked good although we brought our own. They told us they were frequently voted one of the best outfits in the Maldives. And they only tried once to get us to spend more money (PADI = Put Another Dollar In) with a scooter course. In fact although hard to manage with a camera I can see that they would be great in the current when diving the shark passes.
All too soon we are heading back to Europe for more COVID and Brexit crises. I would be very happy to go back to Moofushi and recommend it if you are looking for a very relaxed, friendly resort with great diving. The staff were delightful, the food and wine delicious and the villas comfortable although showing their age a bit - an upgrade program is underway so no doubt they will all soon be sparkling.
Check out the links above for more photos of the trip as well as Vicky's blog.