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Jim & Cary Yanny’s Guide to Diving in the Maldives: Part 2

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Part 2: Kuredu Island Resort 

Jim and Cary report on their trip to visit various resorts and liveaboards in the Maldives. In Part 2, they visit Kuredu Island Resort…

After seeing Komandoo, we boarded the speedboat and made the short crossing to the next island and its sister-resort, Kuredu Island Resort. We were told to expect that Kuredu Island was significantly larger, which was instantly confirmed as we approached it from the sea by the sight of the very long – and gorgeous – beach on both sides of the large jetty. We’d also been informed that Kuredu Island Resort catered to several different types of guest i.e. serious divers, (honeymoon) couples, families and even groups, with a total of 388 rooms in six different categories.

I’m guessing that the obvious thoughts you’ve just had in reading that is “too big, crowded, impersonal” etc., because that’s also what we assumed, however we had to maintain an open mind till we’d experienced a stay there first-hand. I’m glad we did because, trust me, we could not have been more wrong in our preconception: Kuredu is an absolutely great resort and actually the opposite is true – at no point throughout out stay did this place feel like so many of the other large resorts we’ve experienced over the years. In fact, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable place to be, with an unhurried atmosphere, where you’re not just a number and everyone has time and a genuine smile for you. I can put it best this way: unless you know it, you’d never know from the atmosphere and service that you were in such a large property. We were most impressed by how the management and staff of Kuredu have achieved this surprising feat.

The key is that Kuredu runs like it’s several different resorts, insofar as the various room categories do not all share just one reception, restaurant and beach – there are three different ones located around the island, so all guests are fully catered to right next to their room and don’t need to go for for anything they seek.

Each of the four main restaurants features “eat all you want” buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner*. As well as these, there are also three a la carte restaurants: Italian, Japanese and a grill. There are seven atmospheric bars (we saw them all but didn’t drink at all of them, honest) and there’s even a lovely tea house right at the end of the main jetty, where after dinner one can go, choose from an enormous range of teas, select your comfy seat, then just sip away whilst watching the nightly show of resident nurse sharks and stingrays playing in the lights below the jetty. Magic.

*We were lucky enough to stay in a middle-category Sangu Water Villa and were therefore able to eat at the two lower-category restaurants, which we did and, just as with “our” restaurant, found the food, service and setting to all be excellent. We would have no problem whatsoever staying in one of the lower category rooms, nor hesitate in recommending them to divers, who often wish to spend more on diving and a bit less on accommodation.

During our two-night stay Cary was “forced” to test out the Duniye Spa, upgrading her complimentary 15-minute welcome massage (for an extra charge) to a 30-minute back and shoulder massage. Having lived in Indonesia, Cary is a bit like Alex Pelozzi-like (TV’s “Hotel Inspector”) when it comes to spa treatments……she knows when it’s good and when it’s not. I am happy to be able to report that after her rigorous test, Cary gave their spa two big diver “ok” signs and that she also made all appropriate “ooh” and “ah” noises that usually indicate that a state of blissful wellness had been arrived at.

As it was a necessarily short stay before moving on to the next resort, we did just two dives , the first being named “Kuredu Express”, an exciting “channel” site that even the liveaboards like to visit, where we were lucky enough to dive with several grey reef sharks and also spotted seven passing eagle rays, not to mention schooling and reef fish; it was an excellent dive. The other dive was on Kuredu’s House Reef and we have to say that this was also a superb dive. It was absolutely teeming with fish (not all of which were small), there was almost no current and, oh, we shouldn’t forget to mention a very lovely little artificial wreck perfectly positioned in diveable depth on the reef slope! To call this “house reef” really doesn’t do this site justice – it’s a great dive in its own right.

However, please note that there are almost fifty dive sites on offer from Kuredu, from calm and relaxed shallow dives to adrenalin-fuelled drift and channel-crossing dives, not to mention the only dive site in the Maldives that has two wrecks on it.

We dived with Kuredu’s concession dive operation, Pro Divers. In short, they ticked all the boxes: highly organised, serious about their guests’ safety and comfort and always very friendly and welcoming. Their Dhoni dive boats are extremely spacious and well-equipped, guest-to-guide ratios are kept happily low, their guides’ experience unpatronizing (i.e. they did everything they needed to do in terms of safety, but were also able to appreciate our own experience and so didn’t overdo things.)

Another point worth mentioning about Kuredu Island is that it is home to a recompression chamber, in fact the only chamber for many miles, with resident hyperbaric doctor, nurse and technicians.

Accommodation at Kuredu is in 388 Rooms, include 10 Sultan Pool Villas including 1 2-Villa Family Suite, 50 Sangu Water Villas including 1 Honeymoon Suite, 100 Jacuzzi Beach Villas, 93 Beach Villas, 90 Beach Bungalows, 45 Garden Bungalows.

Kuredu has 3.5 kilometres of beautiful white sand beach, a lagoon for snorkeling, three fresh water swimming pools overlooking the beach, including the Pool Bar Pool with a children’s wading Pool, the “O” Pool for guests of age 12 years and older, and the Sangu Infinity Pool for guests of age 18 and older; floodlit tennis court and golf Driving Range, putting Green, six-hole pitch & putt golf course, beach volleyball, badminton, bicycles, football grounds and a fitness centre.

Children are welcome in the Garden Bungalows, the Beach Bungalows, the Beach Villas, the Jacuzzi Beach Villas and the Sultan Pool Villas. Only guests of 18 years and older can be accommodated in the Sangu Water Villas and the Sangu Honeymoon Suite and may use the “Sangu” Resort swimming pool and dine in the Sangu Restaurant. Only guests of 12 years and older may use the “O” Resort swimming pool, dine at the “O” Resort restaurant, and “O” Bar.

In summary, we were extremely satisfied with our experience at Kuredu/Pro Divers and we feel that it’s a great Maldivian resort option for experienced divers, be you single, a couple, a family or a group – this resort really has got you covered. They have succeeded in achieving that sought-after, but oh-so-often elusive, fine balance between delivering an efficient service whilst maintaining a relaxing and welcoming ambiance that one hopes to find in an exotic setting such as the Maldives. Full marks, Kuredu!

Jim and Cary own and run UK-based tour operator Diverse Travel. To find out more about the Maldivian itineraries that Diverse Travel offer, visit www.diversetravel.co.uk/maldives.

 

A few moons ago, Jim was General Manager of Emperor Divers Red Sea, where Cary was Senior Instructor. Later they moved to Indonesia to establish and run award-winning dive centre and resort, Eco Divers, before returning to the UK to launch Diverse Travel. Cary also runs a photographic business and is the Photo Pro, often leading photographic trips to exotic destinations, most recently to South Africa and Mozambique. Jim and Cary’s driving passion is to deliver the best personalised travel service available. That same philosophy shines through Diverse Travel and sees clients return again and again to book their next holiday.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Western Ecology Tour: Notes from the Field – Scotland

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Scubaverse blogger, Donovan Lewis, is currently on the Western Ecology Tour. The aim of the expedition is to travel to the northern reaches of Scotland, along the West Coast to the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, and finally onto Pembrokeshire, diving the best the west has to offer. The expedition is looking to live life in a minimalist way, camping and cooking out in the open air.

The teams aim is not just to dive sites, but to tackle conservation issues and shed light on projects up and down the UK, they have three projects which the trip will be focusing on. These projects include the Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland, Project Seagrass, and Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC). The team will be accompanied with a Biologist or expert that works on each of the 3 projects to aid and guide the team, but also help shed extra light on the critical conservation work being carried out.


Here are Donovan’s notes from the first leg of the trip:

The time has come for the Western Ecology Tour, I’m going to be giving you updates throughout the expedition. It’s been an amazing first two days up here in the Highlands of Scotland. The first day we dived Loch Duich, where we did 3 dives. We dived on local dive sites lead by members of Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland. Our first site,next to the Ratagan Youth Hostel, was a slope with a muddy bottom absolutely covered in life, including squat lobsters, brittlestars and anemones.

Our second dive was at a site unfortunately known as the Rubbish Dump, an area that was littered with trash such as bottles, plates, fishing line and quite literally bags of bones. The third dive was at School Bay, a bay with a school in it, this was a thick muddy bottomed dive site that was covered with sea pens, fireworks anemones, and scorpionfish.

The second day we dived in Loch Carron, where we dived Conservation Bay it was a light drift dive on a wall covered in dead man’s fingers and kelp. The second dive was in Castle Bay which started in a Bay with a castle at the top of a cliff, this was again another draft dive with walls covered in Dead Man’s Fingers that ended at the end of a slipway and a flat sandy seabed, which littered with flatfish, crabs, gobies and decorator crabs.

This is a quick blog on what we’ve seen, however at the end of our trip keep your eyes out for an Expedition Report about what we saw and experienced.


If you’d like any further information and to keep up to date with Expedition Western Ecology Tour check out the webpage https://andythenortherndiver.com/expedition-wet/

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Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK clean up at the Plastic Free Awards

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The ocean conservation charity Ghost Fishing UK has netted the ‘Best Plastic Campaign’ prize at the ‘Plastic free Awards 2021’ for their voluntary work cleaning up our oceans of lost fishing gear.

It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes of lost fishing gear or ‘ghost gear’ is lost into our oceans each year. Modern fishing gear is primarily made of plastics and not only continues catching and killing wildlife once it has been lost, but leaves a legacy issue of broken down plastic circulating in our oceans. These fragments known as microplastics can be ingested by animals and ultimately end up in our food chain.

The Plastic Free Awards returned for their second year to celebrate those making the biggest waves in the fight against plastic pollution. The awards are a unique opportunity to recognise the achievements of campaigners, innovators, small businesses and communities across the UK leading the charge on plastic.

Partnering with Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, the awards are designed to bring together environmental champions and leaders of the plastic free movement. With 12 award categories covering all areas from Best Plastic Campaign to Youth Activist Award, anyone can be nominated; yourself, a friend, family member, school, community, or business – anyone you think is a plastic free hero. Shortlisted nominees are chosen by a panel of expert judges.

Volunteer divers from the charity Ghost Fishing UK are carefully selected to survey and recover lost fishing gear which is reported through their website. Both divers and fishermen are invited to report fishing gear losses so the team can recover them, stopping the cycle of death and pollution in its tracks.

The materials are then stored until they reach sufficient quantities to be recycled into various items, including plant pots.

Operations Officer and trustee for the charity Fred Nunn is based in Cornwall and said: “It’s so humbling to be recognised by the community when there are so, so many others all doing truly amazing things all towards a common goal.”

Scuba divers who make the grade are put through an intensive training course over three days to prepare them for dealing with ghost nets. The job underwater can be dangerous, often with poor visibility, hard physical work and the ever present risk of the divers becoming entangled in the nets themselves.

On the day of the awards ceremony, many of the divers missed the event as they were finishing up a project in Brighton to remove a huge net form the wreck of the Cairndhu, operating from Channel Diver. They were assisted by a trawling vessel who heard the team were in the area and offered to help, using his fishing boat to haul the net on board. The fishermen are hoping to be able to repair and re-use the net depending on how badly it has been damaged whilst entangled in the wreck. If not, the net will be sent for recycling.

Trustee Christine Grosart said: “Today was a fantastic day! It was brilliant to have a trawling vessel offer assistance to our mission to get the net off the Cairndhu but to go on and win this award in the evening was the cherry on the cake.

Many people think we do this for a living but we don’t – we all have day jobs, families and normal lives to work around. It takes special individuals to give up what free time and cash they have spare to this cause and that is why they are so deserving of this award.

I was watching the awards from the middle of the Danish north sea on board a sat diving vessel and they could hear me shrieking from the Bridge!”

Chair Dr Richard Walker was also out on Channel Diver, photographing the day’s mission as it unfolded. He was travelling home when the winners were announced: “To actually win this award means more to me than you can imagine. It means that I can publicly thank all of our dedicated volunteers, who scuba dive to recover lost fishing nets from the reefs and shipwrecks around the United Kingdom and the huge contribution that our divers make in keeping the projects happening.

I can praise our instructors who teach our divers how to be safe and effective on our projects and show my appreciation to our committee who look after our administration, who send our message to the public, who make links with the fishing community and other groups.”

 Ghost Fishing UK this weekend is rolling out a new reporting system dedicated to fishermen and fishing vessels to be able to report lost fishing gear anonymously. The charity is very keen to work with the fishing community in harmony to help solve the problem of ghost fishing by getting accidentally lost gear out of the sea as soon as possible.

To report lost fishing gear, please head to the charity’s website: www.ghostfishing.co.uk/report

If you are a fisherman and know of any lost fishing gear, please report it anonymously here:

Ghost Fishing UK – Fishing Community Reporting Form

Richard Walker said “I want to thank each and every one of the Ghost Fishing UK team, and all of our supporters. They are all a key part of the job to reduce our dependence on plastics and preventing it from getting into our beautiful oceans.

And finally, a big thank you to the Surfers Against Sewage and the Plastic Free Awards for this prestigious award.”

For more information about Ghost Fishing UK visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Richard Walker

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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