Over the years the Maldives has changed greatly. Once there were just a handful of islands converted to self-contained resorts and now there are over 100. Likewise, liveaboards have burgeoned and there are very many vessels to choose from.
Operators have taken note of this and, in the quest for a little isolation, have increased the distances they are willing to travel. After boarding in Malé, you sail off then, depending on the prevailing weather, may find you are diving in two, three or even more different atolls. The central zone was once just Malé and Ari atolls but now includes others like Lhaviyani and Shaviyani atolls – although it's unlikely that boats will head to the far south.
The practice is to monitor sightings of the bigger creatures the country is known for and then try to find them. If the weather is bad or the visibility down as it was on this trip, there is always a mass of colourful tropical fish or a new wreck to explore.