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    Can dive gear be rented in Male for use on liveaboard?

    I rented gear through my liveaboard (a few years ago), but found out they actually just went through a shop on Male. That said, compared to the ~dozen+ other times I've rented elsewhere, the BCD was very basic (not many pockets/D-rings) though sufficient. I did see a small shop or two on...
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    single looking for dive/hotel pkg or live aboard

    If you can fit it time/budget-wise, splurging for the extra day or two to go on a liveaboard there is worth it IMO. You'll get to see a much larger variety of locations vs. just diving around one particular island/atoll. FWIW, I went a few years ago on the Eagle Ray (a fairly reasonably priced...
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    Hawaii/Ni'ihau vs Palau?

    Of the places mentioned thus far, I've been to Palau, Hawaii (Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai), and the Maldives. Firstly, I'd cross the Maldives off your list. If you're spending the time and money to fly literally half way around the world to see a bunch of islands (and what's in the water...
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    Best place to do a liveaboard in December?

    While it does take a while to get to the Maldives from the West coast, it's not 48+ hrs, or at least not necessarily. It took me 35 hours from getting through security at SFO to stepping on to the tarmac in Malé, and that's including a few hours in Seoul and an 8.5hr layover in Singapore (tip...
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    Is it Possible to Dive Palau Without Crowds

    I wanna say averaging around 10 + 2 guides? My note taking was a little more sparse back then. Someone who's been there more recently can answer this better. When I was there, sometimes we stuck together (like Blue Corner), and sometimes we split in to two groups (either intentionally or...
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    Is it Possible to Dive Palau Without Crowds

    FWIW, I dove with Sam's in early-mid December a few years ago, and it was rather uncrowded as well. Only shared a site with another boat/group once or twice in my week there.
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    Extended Horizons VS Lahaina Divers, Maui

    Another vote for Lahaina Divers. Bigger, more stable and spacious comfy boat. I've gone with them a few Septembers, and it's never been particularly crowded. Went once with EH, and while the staff was nice, the boat felt a little cramped, being shoulder to shoulder since it was full, and half...
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    Accessories to bring

    (from my limited experience) DSMB's: As others have mentioned, the boat will often have (some) available for rent/loan, though it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy and have your own. On my Maldives trip, the norm seemed to be only deploying them from your safety stop, so around 15'/5m - thus the...
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    If it weren't for the humpbacks, would you go to Tonga?

    I was in Vava'u in mid-late August a few years ago mainly for swimming with the whales, and had a similar diving experience as globalmark - nice clear waters, but not really much in terms of fish life seen while diving. Did see a handful of neat (to me) things over 3 dives, like bubble coral...
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    Tonga in August on Naia: What to do after the trip for 3 days?

    I stayed a full day in Nuku'alofa a few years ago after seeing the whales in Vava'u, and I didn't really find a ton of stuff to do/see in/around town. A few hours tour of half the island with a taxi driver/guide pointing out some nifty things (I thought the blowholes were really cool), and a...
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    recommendations for an overnight in Male?

    There's also some hotels in Hulhumale, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, which has it's pluses and minuses. Loona hotel was nice, quiet, free wifi, literally across the street from the beach (though I didn't go in the water there, so can't comment on that). They included taxi...
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    Is that a guide handling an octopus?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJlgKCZs5kA
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    Best option for Lanai Cathedral trip?

    I've been out with LD a dozen+ times, and EH once - which was based on the number of recommendations I'd read here. I did not enjoy my experience with EH. The EH boat is a lot smaller, and when full (12 divers?), it's very cramped; you're pretty much shoulder to shoulder with the others, and...
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    What is your exotic dream dive?

    I realize it's a bit late, but since it hasn't been mentioned yet, you might want to look in to the Maldives as well, especially if you can time it with the manta and whale shark feedings.
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    Maldives versus Raja Ampat Liveaboard

    I know you've already chosen/booked, but I think another reason you're seeing high availability for December in the Maldives is it's between seasons then, so weather and currents may be a bit more iffy than during a season.
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    Help with swim with whales!

    While it may be interesting, doing this in Quebec is not quite the same as doing this in Tonga
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    Help with swim with whales!

    - I stayed about half the time at Mala Island, which is a bit of a ways from town (~10 minute taxi ride if I recall, then a short boat ride across the channel). Honestly, it's rather rustic, and was most definitely showing its age, and mosquitoes there were pretty vicious (even when using high...
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    Help with swim with whales!

    I spent about 2 weeks there a few years ago, and had a great time with Dive Vava'u. I don't think there were any liveaboards (as far as I noticed) - all the ops I saw were land based. The owner-operators Karen and Paul were both wonderful, along with Isi (one of the guides). You'll...
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    Trip report: Two weeks on the MV Eagle Ray

    Sape (Sappe/Sappey? Saw it spelled differently a few different times) was indeed the DM, along with Buka.
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    Trip report: Two weeks on the MV Eagle Ray

    Ever since seeing pictures a few years ago with whale sharks and dozens of mantas in a single photo (from Hanifaru Bay), the Maldives quickly jumped on my dive destination list. Aside from the long flight(s) literally half way around the globe, it always seemed like a rather pricey destination...
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