Maldives - Whales and Dolphins in Paradise
AT A GLANCE
Wildlife Cruise: whales & dolphins, birds, other marine life, snorkelling & photography.
Malé, (Maldives, ) – cruising the Atolls - Male
Tropical whales and dolphins, seabirds, reef fishes, turtles, Mantas etc
Tropical, warm to hot.
16* passenger comfortable liveaboard vessel, all cabins with private facilities and air-conditioning (* 10 passenger vessels on the Explorer itineraries)
WildOceans have offered these tropical cetacean bonanzas for some years now and the word is finally getting around on how good they are, so early booking is strongly advised. Hundreds of Spinner Dolphins are seen during our cruises. These energetic and acrobatic dolphins are always a delight, and are named for their high spinning leaps. We will spend plenty of time with them, even swimming with them if conditions are suitable and they choose to visit us. But Spinners are so abundant in the Maldives that after a few days we will be happy to pass them by as we go in search of an astonishing array of other whales and dolphins.
Diversity is the real attraction of the Maldives. On a typical trip we see anything from 7 to 11 species. In addition to Spinner Dolphins, we commonly see Risso’s Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Indopacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Striped Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Dwarf Sperm Whales, Shortfin Pilot Whales and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales. We also expect to see several of the following species too, Bryde’s Whales, Sperm Whales, Killer Whales, False Killer Whales, Melon-headed Whales, Fraser’s and Rough-toothed Dolphins, as well as occasional sightings of much rarer species such as Longman’s and Blainville’s (Dense-beaked) Beaked Whales. All the voyage’s sightings and numbers will be logged as part of Chas Anderson’s ongoing research into the cetaceans of this area of the Indian Ocean.
If this diversity sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. We have superb close views of whales and dolphins in the Maldives, which makes identification easy. Every evening there will be an entertaining and informative slide show highlighting the key features of all the species we see, so by the end of this trip you will be confidently separating your spinners from your spotteds, bottlenose from striped, and all the rest.
On these trips, we travel through the Maldives to view whales and dolphins plus other marine life on board specially chartered, live aboard safari vessels with local crews and a dedicated passenger cook. The vessels are comfortable rather than luxurious, but all cabins have private facilities and are air-conditioned. Current vessels include Ari Queen, which carries up to 16 passengers (with four upper deck cabins with sea-views available for a supplement) and Hope Cruiser which carries up to 10 passengers. For 2017 the vessel Keana will also be used, her 8 cabins are all on the upper decks. Our voyages will take us past idyllic island and reef scenery, with plenty of sightings of dolphins and whales. Our trips are planned for the calmest times of year, when we hope to have light winds or dead calm.
Our itineraries will be very flexible, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and taking our time to watch dolphins, other whales, flying fish and seabirds. As is normal practice in the Maldives, we will travel by day, and anchor early each evening in a sheltered atoll lagoon. Depending on our location there may be opportunities for a snorkel (dawn and dusk) or island visit at these times.
In addition to the action above the water, the snorkelling is absolutely fantastic and offers a whole new arena of Natural History. Tropical fish abound (over 1000 species, expect to see 200+) and as Chas has spent many of the last years identifying and cataloguing them you will be travelling with the world’s leading authority. If you are very lucky you may encounter dolphins in the water as well as even larger creatures, including the graceful and spaceship like Manta Ray and possibly even Whale Sharks too. A snorkel is usually on offer most mornings and evenings.
Chas will also delight in showing anyone who is interested the world’s only pelagic insect, the Ocean Strider, a distant relative of our pond skater. Birds only average about 20 species per trip, but include a nice selection of tropical terns plus shearwaters, noddies, tropicbirds and frigatebirds but the autumn departures often see a lot more species with migration in progress. There will be lots of surprises but you will have to go yourself to find out.
Chas will also offer ‘Maldives Explorers’, a longer than usual trip, in search of whales, dolphins plus tropical seabirds.
In summary, these are superb trips that promise great cetacean sightings, a delightful tropical cruise, coral reefs, paradise islands, and friendly local people, led by the man on the spot.
Group size is kept small to make the most of our natural history sightings and to have minimal impact on the islands we visit.
Day 1: Arrive Malé and transfer to our live aboard vessel. Set sail around midday for our first afternoon’s whale watching. We may even see our first cetaceans within sight of the airport.
Days 2- 6: Cruising amongst the Central or Eastern Atolls of the Maldives, looking for and watching whales, dolphins and seabirds. Each evening we will anchor in a sheltered lagoon, near a coral reef, uninhabited island or resort.
Day 7: Our final full day whale-watching, overnight at anchor off Male.
Day 8: Disembark Malé after breakfast. Transfer to the airport.
NB Maldives Explorer departures are for 12 days.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Standard trips (8 days)
£1760 per person twin share 25th February – 4th March 2017
£390 Single supplement. Upper deck cabin £290 (per cabin)
£TBC per person twin share 25th February – 4th March 2018
£TBC Single supplement
Explorer trips (12 days)
£2590 per person twin share 19th – 30th November 2017
£490 single supplement. Upper deck cabin £390 (per cabin)
Currency surcharge £150 per person (as of 31/1/17)
We are also expecting April & October 2018 departures.
Group size: 9 – 16, depending on vessel
Price includes: Transfers to/from Malé airport, cruise including all meals, tea and coffee on board, use of snorkelling gear, naturalist guide, tourist tax and atoll permits.
Price excludes: Flights UK - Male (available from £599), vessel fuel surcharges if levied, travel insurance, other drinks, local airport tax (US$12), gratuities and other items of a personal nature. From 1/11/15, The Maldives has introduced a new Green Tax, of US$6pp, payable locally. We can also arrange hotels and resorts in the Maldives, should you wish to extend your visit.
More detailed information can be found in the tab above.
25th February – 4th March 2017
Explorer 19th – 30th November 2017
25th February – 4th March 2018
Explorer April & October 2018