We had the best weather I have ever experienced on a liveaboard: mirror flat seas giving perfect reflections of the bright white fluffy clouds - very picturesque. Coral reefs were outstanding and unspoilt. The best I’ve seen for 40 years. There were sometimes other dive boats in our locations and it was irritating to come across other groups underwater but this was not unduly disruptive. There were currents but not outrageous ones and the dive guides always let us go with them, even when we had to turn 180 degrees. No risk of currents dragging you into open water, unlike some Pacific locations I’ve dived. Good visibility. Amazing marine life and on the final dive we saw a whale shark which was a first for me. Very exciting.
The Cruise Directors were outstanding (husband and wife team). Extremely knowledgeable about marine life and the sites we visited. Dive briefings were excellent and instructive without being too dry/academic. Dive guides were all knowledgeable. You have to take responsibility for your own diving though as each guide typically looked after 6 divers who tended to go at different speeds. The guides keep check as much as possible but you must be capable of staying with your buddy and looking after yourself. The excellent visibility helps.
The boatmen were outstanding. We never had problems being picked up and never waited long.
Food on board was tasty and the chef very good. Cabins were spacious and comfy.
Even though our location was remote, three mini excursions were provided - a whizz round the sailing boat with her sails up in an inflatable for photographs, a trip to a protected bird nesting island (adhering to strict conservation rules) and a visit to the Marine Ranger station.
A huge amount of organising goes into running a liveaboard – liaising with the captain to agree safe locations, getting there, filling tanks, Nitrox management, getting divers in and out of the water, washing & drying suits, providing safe place for huge cameras, cleaning cabins, laundry, providing fresh towels/drinks after every dive and doing all this to a very tight timetable. I never once felt aware of the amount of work and organising going on in the background. Every dive lasted a minimum of 60 minutes – we were never pressurised to come up sooner – and the staff were always cheerful, helpful and fun. This was a good trip. The weather of course was just luck but the rest was down to superlative management and experienced well-drilled staff. I would recommend this trip hugely.