I was on a liveaboard scuba diving trip at Maldives from 6th to 15th December 2019 on M/V Emperor Voyager. I had self-organized this trip just for myself to get away from the cold and dark winter of Finland for a week. There were some unused vacation days to be spent - moreover I had not been diving in the warm tropical waters for quite some time, so now was the perfect time to do it. On a newsletter from Emperor Divers I got in October 2019, they were advertising discounted cruises, and the “Best of Maldives” cruise on M/V Emperor Voyager starting 7th December 2019 was going for only 1200 Euros. Normal price was 400€ more. Then I checked how much were the flights and found suitable Qatar Airlines flights from Helsinki to Male for 525 Euros. So, then I decided to go ahead with this.
I had been on two Maldives liveaboards before: central atolls 2009 and southern atolls 2016. I also had been on many Emperor Divers liveaboards before, so I knew what to expect.
Of course, I also planned to take a camera with me under water, but unfortunately, I had flooded my trusty Canon 7D DSLR camera earlier this year. I did have an Olympus TG-5 in PT-058 housing that I had used first time on my 2017/18 trip to Philippines. That camera was actually pretty good, but I missed the wide-angle that I could get using a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye on DSLR. Also more light was needed. After flooding the 7D, I started looking into improving the TG-5. I first bought a wide-angle wet lens AOI UWL-04, that attaches directly to the 52 mm filter thread on the Olympus PT-058 housing. With this lens you get 160 degree field of view underwater, which is pretty good. Then, instead of big and bulky strobes, I decided to go with video lights instead. I bought a pair of NaNight 4000 lumen video lights, and this proved to be a very good decision. These lights produce almost as much light as strobes, but now you see what you get, and in the dark waters of Finland the lights are much better than strobes. And you can shoot pretty good video too.
I first tried to hack up a tray and arms system for the lights by adapting the parts from my Canon 7D system, but that was quite heavy. From googling I found out that you could get nice looking light-weight parts from China using the AliExpress web shop. So then I ended up ordering tray and arm parts form “BGNing” web store. Some parts arrived in good time before my trip, so I could test them in Finland. But then we had a long strike of the Finnish Postal Service, and some remaining parts, the floating arms, that I needed got stuck into transit, and in fact I did not get them before the trip to Maldives started. The only option was to build the floats myself. But I did manage to get a complete system together just before the trip, and practice with that in the pool.
As a final touch, I upgraded the camera from TG-5 to the brand-new TG-6, that had just become available. TG-6 fits into the PT-058 housing, so happy days. Things that had improved in the new model included: higher resolution display, many improvements in firmware which make underwater photography and especially video much better and easier.
I took 1600 pictures underwater, and this time quite a lot of video too.
All of the videos and photos from the trip will be uploaded here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives. While I am still working with the videos, all of the underwater diving photos are now available here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives-all-dives
List of all dives:
- dive 1 ,2019-12-08 07:14, Lankan manta point
- dive 2 ,2019-12-08 12:37, Kuramathi kandu
- dive 3 ,2019-12-08 15:52, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 4 ,2019-12-09 06:17, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 5 ,2019-12-09 10:28, Bathala thila
- dive 6 ,2019-12-09 14:30, Maaya Thila
- dive 7 ,2019-12-09 18:47, Maaya Lagoon mantas
- dive 8 ,2019-12-10 07:13, Fish Head (Mushimasmingili)
- dive 9 ,2019-12-10 10:19, Moofushi Kandu
- dive 10 ,2019-12-10 14:39, Kuda Rah Thila
- dive 11 ,2019-12-11 06:48, Seventh Heaven
- dive 12 ,2019-12-11 10:33, Lux Beuru
- dive 13 ,2019-12-11 15:40, Kunavashi Kandu
- surface 2019-12-11 20:32 Whale shark
- dive 14 ,2019-12-12 06:58, Rakeedhoo
- dive 15 ,2019-12-12 11:56, Fotteyo, Hurahu kandu
- dive 16 ,2019-12-12 16:26, Alimathaa circus
- dive 17 ,2019-12-13 08:40, Vilivaru Giri