The dive leader on board is Russ, for the UK. He is a calm and mature person that took it on him to do all the briefings and . . . does them very well. Knowing first hand that it is an art to find the right tune for some of the demanding dives, he nails it again and again. Giving just that information that warns you what not to do and where to put your attention during the dive, without letting people unnecessary worry. Also very nice to see the small info speech during dinner, reflecting a bit on the dive day and informing the plan for the next day. I think everyone felt taken care of, well informed and involved. A treat to have been with him!
The crew of the Orion seems to be working together as a well oiled machine. Everyone does their job and where possible helps out others. Of course this is the only way to work on a boat as staff places are limited and some jobs are just not justifying a dedicated person. We know there is a lot to do on board and still hardly were confronted with it, a sign that it is all a smooth operation.
We dived with Enrico, Italian, and for me it is always a pleasure to see very experienced guides that still have so much enthusiasm. Every dive he put a lot of effort to bring you the best possible experiences and even though some were challenging, he did all he could to make it as comfortable as possible. Always scanning for the best place to hook in for seeing the pelagic, but also finding a nudibranch the size of two sand grains in a drift dive and never short of a joke. What an enthusiasm.
As every experienced diver knows it is most important in dives with current to enter the water on the correct spot, which allows you to descend calmly before you reach the place to see the spectacle. Shakyl, the Maldivian guide, was checking the current and without exception coordinated perfectly this with the captain for the exact jumping spot.
In all these years in Maldives I have seen many dhoni (local dive boat) captains, and believe I can spot a good one easily now. Hassan Bey was definitely one of the best one I have met so far. We were always brought to the correct jumping point, he manoeuvred the boat with utmost precision when picking us up again and was continuously sharp about the well being of the divers. We cancelled one dive for equipment reasons and spend an hour on the boat with him when the others were down. Never he relaxed, was always scanning the ocean for divers or bubbles and made sure to be in the area where the divers were located at any point. Bravo!
The next posting will be the last one and give the final thoughts, combined with some pics or video. Due to logistical arrangement it might not come immediately the next day. But . . . it will come!
See you soon
Be safe, but ... dive!