Kate Morfoot, leading travel writer from lovetoeattotravel.com made memories in the Maldives with Scubaspa Ying.
Scubaspa ‘Ying’ and her twin sister ‘Yang” are five-star floating resorts based in the Maldives. It’s a clever concept that combines magical scuba diving experiences with indulgent spa treatments during your four or seven night stay on the 50m super boat cruising the Indian Ocean.
And there’s more, it offers fine dining, scuba courses, island excursions and beach fun, snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking, not to mention the attentive and professional staff there to look after you.
There is spacious accommodation with a mixture of 9 suites and 10 cabins all en suite with air conditioning.
My husband took a spa package (eight treatments) while I chose the scuba and spa option of (six dives and four spa treatments).
A professional and detailed brief with the help of a large TV screen was presented by our Dive Master explaining where the dive boat would drop us, potential current, maximum depth, minimum air and safety stops together with the underwater coral and fish species you would be most likely to encounter.
The Rasdhoo Madivaru dive site around the Ari Atoll features a healthy reef full of caverns and overhangs it has a coral ridge that attracts large numbers of hammerhead. My underwater marine experience meant that I was also diving with grey reef sharks and white tipped sharks as well as triggerfish, blue fusiliers and my favourite find of all, a napoleon wrasse!
On my dive at Fish Head I encountered grey reef sharks, moray eels, Hawksbill turtles, shoals of fusiliers, angelfish, clown fish and many checkerboard wrasse.
On board I was able to take a night diving PADI course, I wanted to get close to and meet the nurse sharks at Vaavu Atoll
With our dive team all with our torches turned on we followed our instructions to slowly descend to the bottom at a depth of 12m and wait on the sandy seabed.
No sooner had I got to the bottom when a large sting ray glided slowly over my head followed by a nurse shark that passed me by. Within minutes, nurse sharks where elegantly brushing in and out of our diving group with some circling above our heads. Are they really that friendly?
My air consumption hit an all-time high as of course I was slightly anxious. But yes, they are, stay calm, keep your hands to yourself and just watch as they play, swim in and out and glide very closely past you, they won’t harm you as long as you respect them.
Scubaspa offers many memorable encounters with the underwater world including snorkeling with a whale shark if you are lucky enough to find him.
My Aqualung scuba diving equipment included the compulsory dive computer, mask and snorkel, a Mikron breathing regulator and a 3mm ‘Mahe’ ‘shorty’ wetsuit. My kit also included Phazer Fins with 5mm Ellie Ergo boots and an Outlaw BCD (buoyancy control device) which is perfect for overseas travel. If you don’t have your own kit, you can hire diving gear from Scuabspa*
It’s important to have good travel insurance if you are considering water sports. I was insured by UK travel insurance provider, InsureandGo, and was able to enjoy my scuba diving adventures safe in the knowledge that this activity was included as standard within my policy.
The Scubaspa dive centre is based on a separate 19 metre ‘dhoni’ boat which accompanies the main ship. There is also a dinghy boat to take guests to nearby paradise islands for sunbathing or reef snorkelling. Snorkelling proved to be just as fabulous as diving on occasions, it was also enjoyable to step off the boat and onto some idyllic white sand flats surrounded by the beautiful azure Indian Ocean to take pictures and sunbathe.
The SPA includes 300 square meters of pampering space with five treatment rooms including a couples room and an outside relaxation deck. My husband made the most of the Swedish, Balinese and sports massages while I opted for the specialist Ayurveda massage and reflexology. If you wish you can begin your day on deck with Sunrise Yoga, this includes gentle stretching, mantras and breathing techniques.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your holiday together with a candle lit beach BBQ showcasing the Milky Way and green plankton sparkling in the sea.
The buffet-style meals were of consistently fresh quality and delicious. There was a memorable BBQ steak night, as well as Mexican and Italian nights on board.
Fresh fish, grilled meat and curries were available and complemented by a lovely selection of fruit, puddings, and ice cream which could be enjoyed by choosing an excellent wine from their expansive list.
Party nights were held in the bar where the disco lights attracted the dolphins and nurse sharks to the boat.
On-board everyone relaxed, shared their holiday experiences and talked about their own memories made with Scubaspa of the idyllic ocean paradise in the Maldives.
How to get there:
Direct flights with British Airways to Velana International Airport.