Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

We travelled as a family of five advanced PADI divers for a two week holiday. The island was slightly bigger and busier than we expected, we had been to The Maldives before to a smaller, Italian run island which was more intimate. It is quite a cosmopolitan island with quite a quick turnover of guests (Chinese, Russian, Swiss, British amongst some of the nationalities regularly staying there). In typical Maldives style, we took our shoes off as we walked into the room and only put them back on for the return journey. The dress is very casual and lots of people wore shorts and t-shirts throughout their stay. We were in a beach bungalow right next to the main beach, which is beautiful, and the quieter bar. The room was nice and kept very clean although the outside bathroom took a little getting used to. The hotel provides a mosquito plug which was helpful and we had it on every night as we were all bitten (the island is sprayed daily but they are still everywhere). The food was good and there was always something to keep us all happy and the freshly made salads were very tasty. For the all inclusive there are sandwiches in the main bar available morning and afternoon if you get hungry between meals. The drinks in the AI was more disappointing as it was quite limited and if you wanted to pay for a cocktail they averaged around $12-14 each. Annoyingly, to join in with the main bar evening entertainment also cost extra eg 'buying' crabs for the crab race or buying bingo cards. The wifi was a bit sketchy in certain areas but we were in the middle of the Indian Ocean.... The snorkelling was superb around the island outside the wall and there are many entrance/exit points to facilitate this. Within the wall on the main beach were 7 baby sharks that were not shy swimming around our feet which was quite special. The main reason we were there was for diving and this was the best we have experienced anywhere! The dive centre was both professional and friendly. As with most dive centres we got to know all the staff and there was always someone around to give advice or just have a chat with. I can't pick any of them out individually as they were all fantastic. The house reef can be dived with a buddy but without a guide if you want and the centre is open for you to go out whenever you want. We all did the nitrox course while we were there which helped when we went out on the boat to increase bottom time. We saw sharks on nearly every dive, turtles, rays, morays etc as well as the elusive frog and scorpion fish. One dive also involved a pod of dolphins popping down to 20m to have a look at us, best dive ever for me! Fish Head is spectacular and both the house reef and Maya Thila for a night dive are also highly recommended. The one issue we did have was that my son's brand new prescription face mask was removed from his box, the snorkel put back but the mask stolen. This caused a huge problem as it isn't easy to just go and buy another prescription mask. Eventually we managed to source one via the shop in reception but it took a few days to get. Just be careful if you have specific equipment that you can't hire (perhaps keep these items in your room). Remember to wash your ears out after every dive, two of us ended up with painful ear infections. The Dr was very helpful and sorted us out but it stopped me diving for a couple of days. We had a great holiday and will hopefully be able to return soon. Another island may be more suitable for honeymooners or Non divers but second to none for Divers!! This report was given by a friend of mine, Mrs V Jenkins, and should you need any further tips or advise, please get in touch and I

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