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Emperor Leo

Emperor Leo – a spectacular diving trip in the Maldives

Luxury liveaboard MV Leo is part of Emperor Fleet operating in the Maldives. Leo and sister ships Virgo and Orion travel to the Central Atolls and Southern Maldives. Built in 2009, and renovated in 2012, this fantastic boat has a top speed of 12 knots and cruises at 10 knots. With a length of 35 metres, this modern comfortable liveaboard can accommodate 22 guests in its 11 cabins.

Enjoy a diving holiday that gives you all you dreamt of from the iconic sites of North Male, South Male and Ari Atoll. Awaiting you are channels, drifts and pinnacles of the Maldives.

SCHEDULE

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Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary toiletries, Transfers/pickups from airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Dive master services, All meals, Free Nitrox, Towels Provided

Excluded: Flights (International & Domestic), Diving Equipment, Alcohol, Soft Drinks, Juices, WiFi ($22++), 15L Tanks, Crew Gratuities

Accommodation

MV Leo has three categories of cabins – Standard, Mini-suite and Executive suite. There are 4 double and 4 twin Cabins on the lower deck, 1 double and one double/twin cabin and 1 Executive Suite with Jacuzzi on the upper deck. All cabins have the latest technology with full air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, minibar, TV and DVD, wardrobe and safe box.

Comfort

For comfort and relaxation between dives, relax the beautifully furnished lounge area. Visit the library with its extensive collection of books, videos and music and wallow in the perfect ambience with a book in hand.

The spacious sun deck is ideal for outdoor types. No shortage of sunbeds to work on your tan. Or if you prefer, sit in the shade with a drink in hand from one of 2 fully stocked bars – one outside and one inside. In the evening, sit and watch the sun go down with a drink in hand. There is also a Jacuzzi on the front deck where you can soak after a day of diving.

Catering

The restaurant offers buffet-style Asian and Western cuisine three times a day, prepared by the onboard chef. Snacks are also available throughout the day and there are two fully stocked bars. Once during this liveaboard cruise, the crew organise a barbeque on one of the Maldivian islands.

Diving

The perfect points of entry and exit for your dive, are from the large Dhoni or Zodiac. During the trip, you can also store all your equipment here. You can dive with air, and for certified divers, free Nitrox is available. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

Leo is rebreather friendly, supporting Poseidon Discovery, AP units and Megalodon manual units. There are freshwater showers on the diving deck to rinse yourself off after each dive. Large freshwater buckets are also available to rinse dive equipment such as cameras, dive computers and fins.

Many of the dives are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents can be expected in certain areas. The recommended depth for some dives is below 18m, and advanced or Deep Diver training is advised. Some dives may be too challenging for inexperienced and beginner divers; the Cruise Director may ask them to skip them.

ITINERARIES

These are example itineraries to give you an indication of the liveaboard cruises. The final cruise might be different due to weather, sea conditions and/or guest experience. The final call is always with the boat manager and the captain of the liveaboard. This to ensure your safety as well as to give you a dive holiday never to forget.

Best of Maldives
  • Departure Port: Male
  • Return Port: Male
  • Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights (Approximately 17 dives in total)
  • Experience level: Open Water – No minimum logged dives required.

This is the Best of the Maldives – and it delivers exactly that. This is where you dive the best and most famous dive sites of the Maldives in a week of wonderful liveaboard diving across Male and Ari atolls.

Enjoy a dive holiday that gives you all you could wish for from the iconic sites of North Male, South Male and Ari Atoll. Awaiting you are channels, drifts and pinnacles where you have every chance of meeting mantas, whale sharks and mesmerising marine life of so many varieties. We don’t follow an exact itinerary; flexibility is the word so that no matter what time of the year you visit, this underwater world is yours (and ours) for the exploring.

This itinerary gives you a marine mix of big fish such as shark and manta dives as well as reef dives, reef fish, morays and the abundant macro life. Get up close to the cleaning stations without disturbing the locals! One of the best-known dive sites is Maaya Thila; this pinnacle is approximately 30m in diameter and falls away to reveal sharks and fish aplenty.

A night dive from sheltered moorings here is a must! And the boat will also aim to find whale sharks so you can get in the water and snorkel with them…as long as they stay around long enough!

The first and last night of each trip is spent onboard at the port.

Highlights:

  • Rasdhoo Atoll: Hammerhead Dive, Beautiful Reef with Pelagics
  • North Ari Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, MultipleManta Cleaning Stations
  • South Ari Atoll: Whalesharks, Beautiful Pinnacles
  • South Male Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Beautiful Macro Wreck
  • Vaavu Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving
  • North Male Atoll: Beautiful Pinnacles
  • No minimum number of dives needed but you should be comfortable with drift dives as currents can be strong.
  • Many of the dives on the Best of Maldives, Manta Madness and Pelagic Magic itineraries are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. On some dives, the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • All diving is from dhonis or zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

Complimentary shared airport pick up times are 11 am, 4 pm, & 10.30pm. Pickups can be arranged at other times from €5.

Pelagic Magic
  • Departure Port: Male
  • Return Port: Male
  • Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights (Approximately 21 dives in total)
  • Experience level: Open Water – No minimum logged dives required.

On this route, we take you on a manta and whale shark journey to the North & South Ari Atolls having crossed over from Male. Exact dive sites will vary depending on diver experience levels, local conditions and where the best sightings have been.

Pelagic Magic gets you face to face with the famous whale sharks of Ari Atoll. As this itinerary devotes more time here, you are certain to get your whale shark fix at Maamagili. Iconic dive follows iconic dive as you sail from Male through North Ari and then onto South Ari; your log book will fill with shark and manta sightings as well as outstanding reef dives. Then grab your snorkel and splash in to float only feet away from graceful whale sharks. Pelagics of all shapes and sizes await.

With around 17 dives, as well as opportunities to snorkel with the whale sharks, this is an action-packed week. The pelagic sightings start right from the beginning. Manta Point (otherwise known as Lankan Finolhu) is a cleaning station with reliable manta sightings. Just settle down and watch the manta swoop in. Hafsa Thila and Maya Thila are yet more iconic dive site where sharks are plentiful. Look out for baby white tips under the large table corals. But it is at night that Maya Thila really comes alive. Reef sharks and marble morays hunt dinner out as morays slink between the coral blocks.

As you reach South Ari keep a look out for the whale sharks. Maamagili is the place to find whale sharks at this time as they follow the seasonal currents. Manta chase plankton trails too into the nearby lagoons. Between your pelagic encounters, the reef dives will not disappoint. Discover the lush corals and schooling fish at the likes of Reethi Thila and Kuda Rah.

This is a great itinerary for everyone. No matter what your experience level this is a Maldives itinerary you can enjoy. There can be some drift diving so some experience of diving in currents is advisable. Don’t forget to take your reef hook to make shark watching all the easier. As so many of the best whale shark encounters are snorkelling, everyone can feel the thrill of seeing these graceful creatures in their natural environment. Pelagic Magic runs when the pelagics sightings are at their optimum in North and South Ari. Don’t delay – discover the biggest inhabitants of the Maldives for yourself.

Highlights

  • Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations
  • Whale Sharks, Beautiful Pinnacles
  • No minimum number of dives needed but you should be comfortable with drift dives as currents can be strong.
  • Many of the dives on the Best of Maldives, Manta Madness and Pelagic Magic itineraries are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. On some dives, the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • All diving is from dhonis or zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.
Manta Madness
  • Departure Port: Male
  • Return Port: Male
  • Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights (Approximately 21 dives in total)
  • Experience level: Open Water – No minimum logged dives required.

This itinerary runs around the New Moon phase when tidal ranges are greater resulting in a greater flow of plankton into the world famousHanifaru Bay, where the massive majestic mantas venture in for a feeding frenzy between July and October each year.

We sail from Male to the northern atolls of Lhaviyani and Baa (Hanifaru Bay) and back taking in the renowned sites of Kuredu Express, Kuredu Caves.

As well as mantas, you can get close to turtles, grey reef sharks and whitetip reef sharks. One of the big attractions is the chance to encounter mantas feeding and cleaning.

Thanks to the currents that sweep plankton into the shallow lagoons, mantas follow in vast numbers to feed. Although diving is not permitted in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hanifaru Bay, we are allowed to go in and snorkel with these gentle giants in the lagoon. After a manta has had its feed it needs to get cleaned, so we will take you to known manta cleaning stations in both North Male, Lhaviyani and Baa Atoll. So hopefully these will give you sightings all week long. Of course, sightings can’t be guaranteed but diving at this time means your chances are high.

Dive Area Visited

  • Hanifaru Bay and Nelivaru Thila, Dhiggu Thila and many more
  • Beautiful Pinnacles, Lankan Manta Point
  • Fushivaru Thila, Kuredu Express, and Kuredu Caves
  • No minimum number of dives needed but you should be comfortable with drift dives as currents can be strong.
  • Many of the dives on the Best of Maldives, Manta Madness and Pelagic Magic itineraries are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. On some dives, the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • All diving is from dhonis or zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

Complimentary shared airport pick up times are 11 am, 4 pm, & 10.30pm. Pickups can be arranged at other times from €5.

South Central 7 Atolls
  • Departure Port: Male
  • Return Port: Kadhdhoo
  • Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights (Approximately 17 dives in total)
  • Experience level: Advanced Open Water – 100 minimum logged dives required.

Looking for action? Speedy drift dives, mantas, sharks and diving 7 atolls appeal? Both MV Leo and MV Orion offer this itinerary and our guides and crew make it their business to make sure you see mantas, sharks and even a wreck.

January to March is the time to join us as this is when the current in the Kandus is largely incoming. There’s a good variety of diving from thrilling channel dives to more relaxed diving inside the atolls on Thilas or Giris.

The best thing? There are few, if no, boats as we visit atolls that have very few resorts and lots of uninhabited islands so liveaboard competition is low! The main manta activity is at Ari at this time of year but there’s a good manta cleaning station in Meemu Atoll.

Hammerheads are often found in Thaa as well as whale sharks who visit our boat at night attracted by the lights. When the currents are running well, the channel dives here are outstanding. Abundant with schooling snappers, jacks, barracuda, white tips and greys, grouper, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, eagle rays and more. Fancy a wreck dive? We can fix that for you at the Kuda Giri wreck, famous for its rare black corals and macro life complete with resident frogfish.

This itinerary has a lot of drift diving so it’s best suited to more advanced divers. With visibility being really good in the southern atolls, this is ideal for photographers for normal and macro shots.

Highlights

North Male Atoll: Beautiful Pinnacles.

South Male Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Beautiful Macro Wreck.

Vaavu Atoll: Beautiful channels with magical soft corals and pelagic delights. Action

packed night dive with Nurse Sharks and others.

Vattaru Atoll: Pristine coral reefs.

Meemu Atoll: Beautiful channels with pelagic action, Sailfish, Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle

Rays and beautiful soft coral. Manta cleaning station.

Thaa Atoll: Hammerhead Sharks, Whale Sharks, Dolphins, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving.

Laamu Atoll: Beautiful fish filled channels with great shark encounters.

  • These suit experienced divers with a minimum of 100 dives as there is a strong focus on drift diving.
  • On some dives, the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • Unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. If the Cruise Director feels some dives are too challenging, you may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points.
Deep South & Southern Sharks
  • Departure Port: Gan, Addu
  • Return Port: Khadhoo, Laamu
  • Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights (Approximately 18 dives in total)
  • Experience level: Advanced Open Water – 100 minimum logged dives required.

February to April is the time to sail to the southerly Maldives atolls and dive into the shark action in these out-of-the-way southern dive sites between Huvadhoo and Laamu. Spend a week away from the madding crowds and dive Foammulah and Huvadhoo on the lookout for the Indian Ocean’s larger residents; tiger sharks, silver tips, grey reef sharks and whale sharks.

From Male, we take you to Huvadhoo by plane to join your liveaboard – or from Huvadhoo to Male depending on how you have chosen to dive it – and then it’s off on our adventure. Here you can expect to meet tiger and silver tip sharks around Foamulah. At Huvadhoo, one of the deepest lagoons in the Maldives, the currents are ideal for even more shark sightings including hopefully whale sharks and silkies, hammerheads, tiger and grey sharks spotted most of the time. There are swift channel dives with several kandus; Vilingilli, Nilandhoo, Mareehaa and Kondeey, as well as reef thila dives; Gazeera and Vaadhoo. The night dive on the Hyatt Reef is definitely one to be experienced.

This itinerary suits experienced divers (100+ dives) looking for ‘away from it all and different’ diving with quite a focus on drift diving.

Highlights:

  • Meemu Atoll: Beautiful channels with pelagic action, Sailfish, Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays and beautiful soft coral. Manta cleaning station.
  • Thaa Atoll: Hammerhead Sharks, Whale Sharks, Dolphins, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving.
  • Laamu Atoll: Beautiful fish filled channels with great shark encounters.
  • Huvadhoo Atoll: Whale Sharks, more sharks, fast channel dives in Vilingilli Kandu area

Please note: Due to weather and diving conditions, it’s not always possible to visit each Atoll. Your Cruise Director will decide the best ones to visit at the time of diving.

  • These suit experienced divers with a minimum of 100 dives as there is a strong focus on drift diving.
  • On some dives, the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • Unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. If the Cruise Director feels some dives are too challenging, you may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points.
  • Year built: 2009
  • Year Renovated: 2012
  • Length: 115 feet
  • Beam: 31 feet
  • Top speed: 12 knots
  • Cruising speed: 10 knots
  • Engines: 500 HP
  • Max guests: 20
  • Number of cabins: 10
  • Number of bathrooms: 10
  • Tenders: 1 Dhoni
  • Freshwater maker: 1.2 ton per day
  • Radio VHF/DSC/SSB
  • Emergency Rafts
  • Life Vests
  • Fire Alarm & Fire Extinguishers
  • Oxygen
  • First Aid Kits
  • Satellite & mobile phones
  • Bilge pump alarm
  • Crew trained in first aid
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