I first traveled to the Maldives in the mid-1970s with a series of adventurous operators who offered startlingly rich diving there. Herwarth Voightman had a dive operation he called the Shark Circus, where he had twenty or more gray sharks circling and taking fish bait out of his hand or his daughter's mouth. In those early years, that dived ranked with Action Point out at Marion Reef in Australia's Coral Sea as the two most thrilling I had ever seen.
In those early days, we also used a magnificent show called the Dhandehelu, which had portholes in the cabins that were so close to the water that a boat passing at too high a speed would drop a wave into our beds. You had to be very careful to close your porthole! Those were the days!
In the intervening years, the boats became bigger and more opulent (see the page linked to the word Maldives in the gallery). Divers now enjoy unbelievable levels of comfort--and the fish are both exotic and well-behaved.
The diving in the Maldives was and is sublime. See the YouTube video.
I always told potential clients that it had the tamest firh in the world, that they positively posed for underwater photographers. Add that some of the species are not seen in other tropical destinations, and you have the makings of an adventure like no other.
In our early days (the 1970s), we were able to spend several days in Sri Lanka as well as cruising in the Maldives. Sri Lanka was a wonder--orchids, temples See my YouTube video on the astonishing fortress called Sigiriya, spices (citronella, pepper, vanilla, coffee, tea, etc.) growing everywhere--it was one of my favorite places on the planet. Unfortunately, the civil war there made sending groups of tourists in quite impossible. Someday, perhaps, these amazing places will again be linked and offered. When it happens, I would highly recommend them.