This is part four of our reader’s review of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. It focuses on snorkeling and diving, something we wouldn’t normally cover on HfP. However as the images are stunning we had to include them.
Snorkeling / Diving
This is still my primary reason for visiting the Maldives, we snorkelled every day. Even on our first afternoon at the resort we spotted a stingray within 10 minutes of being in the water.
If you are interested in snorkelling, you can rent a free life vest from the Watersports centre. The Ocean Dive centre will provide free masks, snorkel and fins. They will also show you how to use them, including tips on how to prevent the mask fogging up and how to clear it.
Our Snorkel Route from our Retreat Water Villa, heading south along the entire reef dropoff, at a depth of 10m+. It’s only recommended for experienced snorkelers equipped with a buoyancy aid.
Life on the reef
The El Nino event in 2016 resulted in many reefs in the Maldives being exposed to coral bleaching. These next two photos are of the same coral structure at the edge of the reef drop off. If you compare them you’ll see it highlights the effect of the warmer sea temperatures, especially on table/plate corals.
Whilst the corals have been affected, there still appeared to be lots of interesting sea-life to enjoy. I’m fairly certain that some Rays and Turtles are the identical creatures we saw two years ago.
Here’s some examples of the diverse variety of life on the reef.
School of Blue Striped Snapper.
Black Spotted Eagle Ray.
Turtle – (Video here).
Hunting Octopus – (Video here).
Here’s another Octopus.
The same Octopus in flight moments later.
Stonefish (Venomous – photo taken using camera zoom).
White Tip Reef Shark.
Black Tip Reef Shark.
Giant Moray Eel – (Video here).
SCUBA Diving – Ocean Dive Centre info (pdf)
I didn’t feel the need to dive on my last trip but as soon as I learnt that there had been recent sightings of Manta Rays I made sure I registered with the Ocean Dive centre to try and see them!
Dives are $90++, Equipment is also charged per dive. (BCD $8++, Regulator $8++).
Even though I’d dived recently and my qualifications and experience didn’t require it, they offered a complimentary “shake down” dive in the safety of the lagoon. I was more than happy to go along as it’s also useful to orientate yourself with any equipment you’re hiring.
All went well with a short dive to 6m. The purpose of the dive was basically so we could prove to the instructor that we could confidently control our buoyancy in the water, clear our masks and cope if our regulator got knocked out accidentally. All good sound diving practice.
Approximately 10 of us departed from the Pontoon Bridge on a Dhoni Dive Boat.
As I’m a reasonably experienced diver, I was paired up on my own with an understanding instructor which I really appreciated as she allowed me the freedom to do my own thing and stop to take photos.
First dive was a scenic drift dive at RehiThila which is about a 20 minutes boat ride to the south, where I saw a pretty cool Ghost Pipe Fish.
For the second dive we moved to Rangali Madivaru (Manta Point) which is just south of the Conrad Resort. Where at an approx depth of 15m, I was lucky enough to be treated to 30 minutes with the spaceships of the sea (Video Here).
Conrad staff: Bobby, Alex, Anees, Kurt, Ahmed and the attentive F&B team at Vilu.
The lifeguard Muhusin and the teams at the Watersports and Ocean Dive centres.
NB: Whilst I endeavoured to use my own photos, occasionally I felt some were lacking in sufficient quality, in those instances I linked directly to the Conrad website (Seaplane Lounge, King Beach Villa and Special Dining Opportunities)
If you want to learn more about the resort, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island home page is here.