With clear, calm waters, prolific reefs and a huge diversity of marine life, the Maldives provides all you could ever want in a live-aboard diving experience. With its breathtakingly lovely backdrop of scattered atolls with turquoise lagoons and coconut-palmed, white-sand islands, the picture-postcard cliché definitely applies. The scuba diving is varied and chiefly on the outer walls, in the passes into the lagoons or around thilas — coral bommies — inside the larger lagoons. You’ll see turtles, sharks, huge schools of fish, delicate hard and soft corals, anemones and many species of reef tropicals and invertebrates.
Taking the live-aboard diving life to an entirely new level is the Four Seasons Resorts’ dive vessel, the Explorer. Designed with Four Seasons-style service and luxury in mind — the large staterooms even have the resorts’ signature beds and baths — the 129-foot, triple-decked catamaran provides more than an unsurpassed dive trip: The Explorer offers a complete discovery tour of the Maldives.
In addition to three dives a day, guests can explore remote island villages, relax and snorkel on deserted islets, sail, water ski and more — a daily array of small experiences unfold one after another. Back on board, there’s a full Four Seasons spa, two bars and an acclaimed restaurant serving international cuisine — the lobster-and-champagne evening is a favorite.
The Explorer runs between two Four Seasons resorts: Kuda Huraa on North Malé Atoll and Landaa Giraavaru on Baa Atoll. There are three itineraries: a three-night northward run from Kuda Huraa to Landaa Giraavaru, with a seaplane flight back to the airport at Malé; a four-night southward return run (having reached the vessel by seaplane); and a seven-night circuit departing from Kuda Huraa.
During the cruise, the Explorer dives some of the Maldives’ top spots, including Fish Head Reef, at North Ari Atoll, a large thila that was once a shark-feed area — here you’ll find lots of gray reef sharks and whitecaps, along with tuna and schooling horse-eye jacks. Farther north, there is Kureydu Express, a high-energy dive at Lhaviyani Atoll with deep overhangs, sharks, turtles and eagle rays.
» Four Seasons Explorer
» 22 divers, 24 crew
» PADI Five-Star Dive Resort
» Gear and computer rental included
» Camera rental
» Guided tours
» Max dive 45 minutes
» Nearest airport Malé International (MLE)
» PADI instruction to Divemaster
» Amenities: 10 air-conditioned staterooms and one suite with full baths; library, restaurant, spa, lounge bar and sun deck with outdoor bar; sunrise, wreck and night dives; sailing, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, surfing, massage, cultural tours and shopping
» Contact: fourseasons.com/maldives