Covid-19 Information

Last Covid 19 Information

Stay INFORMED

Latest news from Maldives:

The Maldives is opening its border and lifting the travel restrictions starting from July 15, 2020,

All inbound travelers are obliged to produce a PCR negative result of a sample taken within 96 hours prior to their departure to the Maldives, even if vaccinated.

Check the imuga website for more information

Latest news from Egypt:

Egypt announced in July 2020 it will reopen its borders for tourism.

All travelers (nationals and foreigners) arriving in Egypt are required to provide a negative PCR Test certificate for COVID-19.

Travelers coming back to their countries must know their local regulations on their arrivals and arrange everything in advance before boarding the back flights.

Travelers arriving from these countries must have a medical certificate with a negative test result taken at most within 96-hours before the departure of the last direct flight to Egypt:

Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China (People’s Rep.), Colombia, Ecuador, France (Paris only), Germany (Frankfurt only), Guyana, Italy (Rome only), Japan, Korea (Rep.), Mexico, New-Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Thailand, USA, United Kingdom (London Heathrow only), Uruguay or Venezuela.

Travelers arriving from any other country must have a medical certificate with a negative taken at most 72-hours before departure of the last direct flight to Egypt.

Latest news from Sudan:

Access to the country for non-exceptional reasons remains closed. There are companies operating flights to reach the country.


Book Blue Force Fleet with CONFIDENCE AND FLEXIBILITY

Given the uncertainty for world tourism and diving trips, we would like to offer you a trustworthy product and very flexible conditions for when travel is possible.

For this, we propose special contracting and cancellation conditions for those passengers who may be affected by COVID-19 for Blue Force cruises in the Maldives and Egypt in 2021.

From Blue Force, we are following the news minute by minute and applying the recommendations of the WHO (World Health Organization) and local health authorities regarding the evolution of the coronavirus. The authorities of each country in the world began by establishing recommendations, then restrictions and finally prohibitions. They try to stop the spread of the pandemic, closing its borders, establishing quarantines, alert states, or the like, which has forced us to stop our ships and wait for the situation to normalize.

From Blue Force we would like to convey our gratitude for your trust, for your support and now, for your effort and solidarity, staying at home.

When this situation happens, from Blue Force we will continue to contribute to making dreams come true and that is why we hope to continue counting on you, asking you, please, don’t stop dreaming, together we will make it.

We hope to write to you soon announcing that we are back to normal.

We wish you the best, you, your family and friends and we invite you to stay informed by visiting this page, following our social networks or subscribing to our mailing list for this purpose:

Thank you

The Blue Force Team

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Diving in Maldives - tiger shark

Shark Diving

Shark Diving
Danger or misunderstanding

by Gádor Muntaner

Mysterious animals

Anyone who is in love with the underwater world is fascinated by its great biodiversity, its explosion of colors and its mysteries. As scuba divers, we always have the desire to know more about the great and unknown Ocean. And it is common that, at some point, an animal that generates controversial feelings within us catches our attention: the shark.

Shark Diving. Danger or misunderstanding?

We were all impressed by Spielberg’s Jaws movies a few decades ago. And today, we live in the age of visual technology, of multi-dimensional images, of movies that look like reality. It is common for sharks to be the subject of science fiction, fear and horror stories, as it’s a large marine predator. However, the reality is very far from that concept.

A freediver diving with a whaleshark by night

Diving with sharks. The Species

Sharks are cartilaginous fish (they have a cartilage skeleton instead of bones) that are more than 400 million years old, which means that they have outlived many other life forms on Earth. There are around 400 different shark species in the world.

All pictures has been taken at the Maldives and the Red Sea

Is it dangerous to dive with them?

Sharks are apex predators. However, this is only true in the marine environment. Everything that does not naturally belong to the ocean doesn’t belong to shark’s menu either. That is why human is not part of the diet of any shark species. The few and unlikely accidents that do happen are due to confusion or exploratory bites made by sharks. Despite this, many more people die from other animals such as cows, horses, jellyfish, mosquitoes … and even from taking selfies! You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bitten by a shark!
Underwater photographer diving with longimanus

The coexistence between humans and them is possible and, of course, diving with sharks too! Nobody forgets their first shark dive. It is one of the most exciting and fascinating dives in the life of a diver. It is in that first contact, when we realize that we have been mistaken until then: sharks are as fascinating as they are misunderstood. What we feel when diving with them is not fear or terror, but rather admiration and a lot of peace, along with a small and pleasant dose of adrenaline, for witnessing such a masterpiece of nature.

Diving with sharks is safe. Nurse sharks in shallow water
Respect, admiration and knowledge
Divulgation and education the new generations about sharks
Divulgation is the key for the new generations

Shark diving destinations

There are various destinations in the world to dive with sharks. Undoubtedly, two of the best places to enjoy these special encounters are the Maldives and the Red Sea. Both destinations are very complete, since they offer much more diversity of marine life in addition to sharks.

In the Maldives, it is almost impossible to finish a dive without having seen a shark! White-tipped, black-tipped, gray, leopard, whale sharks… these are just some of the species that we can find diving around the islands. And if what we want is a trip focused on sharks, the South route will give us lots of them!

Last February, on one of the trips on the Blue Force One, we had a week full of shark surprises: a night with 11 whale sharks, several dives in channels full of reef sharks, and an exceptional day in Alimatha, where the nurse sharks formed a huge group, with hundreds of them flying over our heads!

The Red Sea is also home to a great diversity of sharks, being the southern routes like BDE or EBS the ones that offer more possibilities to dive with them. The big star, in this case, is the well-known oceanic whitetip shark, also called Longimanus. The South of the Egyptian Red Sea and Sudan are, without a doubt, the best place in the world to dive with this peculiar species. It is a very active and curious shark, that will bring unforgettable encounters in the most crystalline and blue water we can imagine!

Recommendations for diving with sharks

To be comfortable when diving with sharks, it is recommended to have good control of our underwater skills, in order to dedicate ourselves to enjoying the encounter. As with any predator, we have to show respect and delicacy in the interaction. Also, it is important to respect the diving partner system and the union of the entire group, in order to avoid accidents. Keeping eye contact with the most active sharks is also a good recommendation to avoid unexpected approaches of species such as the longimanus shark. In general, any certified diver can enjoy shark diving. Destinations like the Maldives and the Red Sea offer us options for all levels and requirements.

If you have been lucky to dive with these wonderful animals, for sure you will have fallen in love with them for life, and you will want to see them again and again.

Have you already lived the experience? Come dive with us among sharks!

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Bahía de Hanifaru desde el aire

Hanifaru Bay. The Manta’s Kingdom

Hanifaru Bay
The Manta's Kingdom

One manta ray, two manta rays, three manta rays, … and so and so counting up to six, seven, or eight together in a single dive site is common on a trip to the Maldives. But when the count starts to hit forty or fifty and it’s literally impossible to keep calculating the exact number of manta rays swimming in all directions, you can only be in one place: Hanifaru Bay.

What secret does Hanifaru Bay hide?

Bahía de Hanifaru desde el aire

Hanifaru Bay, in the Maldives, is a unique place in the world, the shape of the bay and certain ocean currents that converge for a short period of time, favor the concentration of huge amounts of plankton and this allows us to contemplate one of the largest agglomerations of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) with an average size of 2-3 m. only surpassed by the giant oceanic manta (Mobula birostris) that can reach more than 5m. of wingspan

Logically, after the discovery of the place by a scientific team, in a few years, Hanifaru Bay became one of the main attractions of the north of Maldives, not only because of the huge amount of mantas that at some times can be observed but also by a growing number of whale sharks that also take advantage of the large amounts of food in the form of plankton found here. To avoid a more than likely overcrowding, in 2011 UNESCO declared Baa Atoll, and especially Hanifaru Bay, a Biosphere Reserve.

Subsequently, the government of the archipelago established strict regulations and supported scientific projects that are still being developed here and in other areas of the Maldives related to this species. Time has shown the success of such measures with the progressive increase in the number of specimens sighted.

Mantas comiendo plancton desde el aire en Hanifaru

Diving in Hanifaru Bay?

Only snorkeling is allowed to swim with these giants in the famous bay. Divers and bubbles would clearly affect the behavior and feeding in a continuous movement of the mantas. Not forgetting that after a few minutes in the water one realizes that scuba diving would not be the best option to enjoy the spectacle that takes place so close to the surface.

From the beginning, the liveaboard cruises do not freely access the area of the atoll where the mantas feed, trying to avoid disturbing the animals and avoid the decrease of specimens in the area, in addition to paying a fee to contribute to the maintenance of the reserve. Visitors, before accessing the water, must attend to the detailed instructions provided by the Manta Trust team and the reserve rangers on how to act at all times, in limited groups, and under the supervision of a certified local guide. Although it may seem somewhat restrictive, shortly thereafter and without any effort, the mantas always end up swimming close, even very close, to anyone who respects their space and their way of eating, either collectively “in a row” or individually performing loopings incessantly.

Swim with Mantas logo

We are happy to be a “Manta Trust Responsible Tourism Operator” working with the Manta Trust Organization with their program “Swim with Mantas

How should I behave?

You have to be calm and observe the route that the mantas make uninterruptedly along the canal. The comings and goings are constant, so even in a short time, you can come to recognize some individuals with unmistakable marks such as spots or even bites, some of them healed but others also recent.

Some tips to enjoy the experience:
Do not chase the mantas and let them get used / close
Flashes and video lights are not allowed, but their use would not be useful either.
Always stay close to the surface and enjoy such a wonderful spectacle as one more spectator.

Mantas comiendo frente a los buceadores

And scuba diving in Baa Atoll?

Although the main restrictions are established for Hanifaru Bay, in the other areas of Baa Atoll diving is allowed. So many congregations of individuals feeding in the bay explain a large number of sightings by divers outside the atoll, not only of mantas but also, with a bit of luck, of whale sharks. In the area there are no great diving spots or those with a special interest, so a day is usually spent in the area to be able to enjoy other atolls.

When and how to travel to Hanifaru?

The “official” season in Hanifaru is from May to November, although the largest congregations of mantas usually occur between the months of July and September. Ideally, choose a route combining the best of the central atolls and a visit to the Baa atoll, further north of the well-known central atolls.

Our recommendation is the Manta Expedition, a route that visits the North Male atolls, visiting the first manta cleaning stations and the famous Fish Factory, Baa Atoll, where we will dive in the Dharavandhoo area, next to the Hanifaru Bay (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), where we will try to enjoy the mantas while snorkeling, to continue with Rasdhoo Atoll, where pelagic fish await us, Ari Atoll where we will dive with mantas at night and some of the most spectacular thilas, and as a final touch the Vaavu Atoll with its famous and unique dive with the nurse sharks on the island of Alimathaa.

Would you like to be there?
Visit our Maldives website
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Manta Rays. Dancers of the Sea

Manta Rays
Dancers of the Sea

by Gádor Muntaner

Who said there were no dances under the sea?

When we cross the surface of the Ocean, we enter a new world, with its own rules, its own rhythms, but very similar to our terrestrial world! Reefs are large underwater cities, around which a life system of thousands of living beings is created, each one with its work and its function. And like in every city … there are also night shows! And one of the most impressive, it is without a doubt the majestic dance of the Manta Rays!

Manta Rays swimming

Are manta rays dangerous?

The manta rays (Mobula Alfredi) is one of the largest and most iconic marine species in the Maldives. Like sharks, they belong to the group of cartilaginous fish or Elasmobranchs, but they are not dangerous. The manta rays size can be huge, they can measure up to 4.5m in wingspan, weigh 700 kg, and live 40 years! Because they frequent relatively shallow waters along the coastal reefs of the continents and oceanic islands, encounters with this species are more frequent than with its cousins, the oceanic manta (Mobula birostris).

Can manta rays sting?

Manta rays have long tails like other rays. However, mantas do not have a barb. That means that, as impressive as they seem to us, they cannot sting us!

You may wonder … What protection strategy do they use then? Mantas use their size and speed to escape predators. Although, to tell the truth, they have very few!

Where do mantas rays live?

Manta Rays are widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific. However, they are also threatened by targeted fisheries driven by demand for their gills. Therefore, divers, promoting diving ecotourism with these wonderful animals, we help their conservation! And in return, they help us make our dreams come true by being part of the magical night dance that they star in.

Maldives Manta Expedition - Hanifaru bay - Mantas feeding

How much does a manta ray weigh? Feeding behaviors.

At nightfall, the lights on the stern of our boat, the Maldives Blue Force One, attract and concentrate the zooplankton, which is the food of our hosts, the Manta rays. That is why, in a matter of minutes, they can get to feed a few meters from us. As soon as the first manta appears, the Blue Force One crew has everything ready so that we can dive into the spectacle. The dive is easy; It consists only of staying still a few meters deep, and enjoy!

It is such a captivating dance that it does not need more music than the bubbling of our air tanks! And it allows us to contemplate every detail, very closely (and when we say VERY closely… we mean having the Manta rays a few inches from our eyes!). When manta rays open their mouths to feed, they unfold those horn-shaped projections, called cephalic lobes, to channel plankton-rich water through their specially adapted gills. The body and mouth develop into a giant black hole, with the pectoral fins serving as wings that propel the manta rays through the water.

To optimize energy because the big manta size, they have developed many variations in their swimming positions, sometimes including complex group strategies, which require coordination between several individuals to improve feeding efficiency.

To date, expert scientists have described a total of 8 different eating strategies!

Whatever the causes that rule the habits and lives of these mysterious animals, it is a real privilege to be able to enjoy their majestic presence and observe them so closely. Few places in the world allow us to enjoy such close encounters in the best conditions. Those moments will remain in our brain forever and will be the object of our dreams … at least until we return to the Maldives!

Join us to make your dream come true!

Night dive with manta rays. Something unique in the world

It is a real privilege to be able to witness such a unique event that for many it will become one of the most special dives of our lives.

Every week aboard the Maldives Blue Force One, on the Maldives Central Atolls route, we try to turn this dream for many divers into reality.

Do you dare to live it with us? Reserve now!

Swim with Mantas logo

We are happy to be a “Manta Trust Responsible Tourism Operator” working with the Manta Trust Organization with their program “Swim with Mantas

Would you like to be there?
Visit our Maldives web site
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maldives-whaleshark-night-best-maldives

The whale shark. Night of the Giants

Whale Sharks
Nights among Giants

A nightly swim with the biggest fish of the Planet

Those who have been to the wonderful Maldives islands will have been caught in the magic of its unforgettable landscapes, which makes us want to return to paradise again and again. No matter how many times we’ve been there… the Maldives will always have something to surprise us with!

Not even darkness can slow down the incessant rhythm of marine life on the islands. After a whole day enjoying unforgettable dives and beaches with white sand and palm trees, the best is yet to come… As night falls on Gaafu Atoll, the most awaited appointment arrives: the largest fish in the world, having dinner with us!

Tiburón ballena de Maldivas en snorkel de noche con modelo

Whales Shark size

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest of the elasmobranchs, reaching up to 18 meters in length and weighing around 11 tons. It has around 6,000 teeth, which are barely 2 mm long and appear to be vestigial. Whale sharks don’t use their teeth to capture prey, but instead they filter large amounts of water through specialized gills.

How do feed the Rhincodon typus?

maldives-whaleshark-night-best-maldives

Despite being the largest fish in the ocean, it curiously feeds on the smallest food: plankton, made up of thousands of microscopic beings such as protozoa, tiny crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and fish larvae. And that is precisely what draws the whale shark to the stern of our beautiful vessel: the Blue Force One.

A few years ago, the local fishermen revealed their secret! While they used to fish for sardines and other species at night, using a great light as an attraction, they realized that somehow, they were attracting the giants of the ocean! At night, the light attracts plankton, which attracts the whale shark. But why does light attract plankton? Well … at night, zooplankton organisms, such as copepods, migrate vertically into shallow waters to feed on phytoplankton (microscopic algae). Since phytoplankton needs sunlight to grow, it’s concentrated in the first layers of water; and zooplankton organisms take advantage of the night feed they can’t be seen by their predators (small fish, for example). But when human introduces artificial light, Bam! Small fish can see the copepods and begin to eat them. Larger fish can also see these small fish and eat them, and eventually top predators can jump into action and enjoy a good feast. And that’s when our star of the night appears: the magnificent whale shark. Sometimes we can see up to 3 or 4 together.

tiburón ballena comiendo plancton

And how does the whale shark know that all that food is there?

Actually, how they locate the concentrations of prey is still a mystery. However, it’s believed that some type of chemical indicator dissolved in water can be detected by the highly developed olfactory lobes of the species. When zooplankton feeds on phytoplankton, releases a strong-smelling compound called dimethyl sulfide, which works as an indicator of the presence of food for certain species of birds and even sharks, such as the basking shark. So, it’s believed that this substance could also be the clue to get the whale shark to its food.

Another possible explanation would be by locating the movement and noise emitted by schools of small fish that are feeding on plankton. Sharks have been observed to follow these schools and feed behind or among them. But the truth is that they are all theories that have yet to be proven experimentally.

Whatever the causes that rule the habits and lives of these mysterious animals, it is a real privilege to be able to enjoy their majestic presence and observe them so closely. Few places in the world allow us to enjoy such close encounters in the best conditions. Those moments will remain in our brain forever and will be the object of our dreams … at least until we return to the Maldives!

Join us to make your dream come true!

When and how can I live this experience?

Onboard the Maldives Blue Force One, you can enjoy diving surrounded by these spectacular animals. Due to weather conditions, the best diving season in the South Hemisphere is from February till April. All the liveaboard safari routes that Blue Force Fleet, in the Maldives, offer this kind of encounter. Check the schedule of safaris and routes in SCHEDULE BLUE FORCE MALDIVES, all the additional information you need about this destination you will find it on the BLUE FORCE FLEET -MALDIVES website, as well as downloading the Brochure of Maldives Don’t dream about it, live it and book your liveaboard trip in the Maldives with Blue Force now!
Do you like to be there?
Visit our Maldives web site
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