John Finlays Review of the Emperor Virgo


In early May, I was privileged to be on the first surf charter for World Surfaris by the Emperor Virgo. Emperor Virgo is part of a larger fleet of vessels managed by a UK based company. The Emperor Group are one of the largest dive companies in the world and their boats are beautifully maintained with exceptional attention detail.

The group flew into Male, arriving late at night and, after buying local SIM cards, were whisked by dhoni to Virgo. As there were only 9 of us on the trip, everyone had their own cabin.

Having reviewed the surf conditions in the North Male Atolls early the next morning, our surf guide Giorgio Rollo recommended that we start to motor south towards our ultimate destination of the Central Atolls. Over the next 2 days, we got some small but fun waves along the way, particularly at Mushrooms. In fact, after the initial couple of hours with the group in the water at that break, I was ultimately left alone to enjoy the really pleasant right-hander that seemed to be improving as the morning progressed. They eventually had to drag me out of the water, so we could continue our journey south – I do so just love that “no crowd” factor the Central Atolls provides. 

We spent the bulk of our time in the Central Atolls at Mikados. The conditions were mostly perfect, the swell a fraction on the small side some days, but such a beautiful setting. I had been to Mikados about 5 years ago and not much has changed. If you ignore the tug and cargo boat wrecked on the island opposite Mikados – an absolute disgrace but that’s another story. We didn’t have it totally to ourselves the entire time (we didn’t have it all to ourselves 5 years ago) but the surf guides talked and we shared the waves fairly. Mikados is still one of the most beautiful settings for a user-friendly wave that I know (notwithstanding the take-off at low tide on smaller days – if you are not into it early and quick to your feet, the bottom just drops out from underneath you – unfortunately I am relating that from direct personal experience).

The Emperor Virgo crew were fantastic. Food was great and plentiful and they had both draught beer and Coronas on board. The surf guide Giorgio is a true gentleman and just a delight to chill with. He mostly took photos (I hate seeing surf photos of me – I don’t feel that daggy when I surf but I sure look it in photos). A bit more size in the swell would have been nice, as it would have allowed us to surf Outside Mikados, as well as Inside. But what we experienced was delightful. You get an absolute bucket load of waves in a 4 hour session at Inside Mikados and I am relating that from direct personal experience too.

For any of our clients book on the Emperor Virgo this season, you are all in for a real treat and for those who are thinking about it next season, I highly recommend choosing the Emperor Virgo for your next World Surfaris surf adventure. 

John Finlay


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