Maldives is one of the few touristic locations offering such a superb underwater environment. In only one dive you can meet big sharks, colourful corals and little nudibranchs.
The Republic of the Maldives is an archipelago of 1,192 islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. It is located in the Laccadive Sea, south-west off the coasts of Sri Lanka and India, in the Indian Ocean.
Ari Atoll has the most popular scuba diving activity because of its marvellous diving sites and the presence of both pelagic fish and colourful reefs.
Also North and South Male Atoll offer different dive sites and being near the capital Malé and the airport makes it easier to reach the Resort Islands.
Lately more islands are opening in different atolls and divers tend to expand more around; very interesting dives are also in Felidhoo Atoll.
Two seasons dominate Maldives’ weather: The dry season associated with the winter north-eastern monsoon and the rainy season which brings strong winds and tropical thunderstorms.
The best period to dive in the Maldives is during the “dry season” between February and April, the sea is flat and rain is very rare. This is when there are more chances to see mantas and whale sharks, the sun shines, the sea is flat and the temperature is always around 30 degrees.
November and May are possibly the two less enjoyable months because of the change of monsoon, it may rain for days with medium to strong winds. Even if the underwater world is still great!!
Although from June to October is the “rainy season”- prices are lower because of the higher chances to find rain and rough sea and you may find a cheap holiday package. In the last years these months resulted to be good diving moments.
Maldivian dives are characterized by numerous currents.
Depending on the location, the period of the month and the hour of the day you can have from modest to dynamic current. This is why you drift dive almost all the sites and very seldom you have to come back to the entry point.
One of the best way to enjoy Maldives is on a liveaboard boat that allows you to see a whole Atoll in a few days.
The Dhoni is the local type of boats that take you diving. Resembling a dhow, the traditional arab sailing vessel, traditionally built with coconut wood. A slow but very comfortable vessel where preparing your equipment and sunbathing during the navigation to your dive site.
There are more and more Diving Centers using speedboats to reach distant dive sites, even thought is not as comfy as the dhoni; you may appreciated the speedboat when it takes you to studding diving sites too far for the dhoni capacity. But diving off a Dhoni is the original Maldivian Diving!!
It is an “underwater island”, or pinnacle, that emerges from the bottom of the atoll, which usually isn’t deeper than 35/40 meters. The top of this pinnacle can average between 8 to 20 meters in depth.
Depending on the location and shape of the thila, modest to significant current can be found. For example thilas that are situated in the middle of a Kandu are usually marvellous places to dive because of the constancy and grade of current present and they are perfect places to find big pelagic fish. Lots of current means lots of water moving by, lots of water brings lots of food, lots of food, means…lots of life!
Thilas that are in the inside of the atoll are usually quieter places, with little current, perfect places to search for nudibranches, frog fish, leaf fish and other critters and small marine life. Amazing spots for hard coral.
Are channels that connect the inner atoll to the open ocean, all on the edge of the atolls and are locations where the water, depending on the tide, flow in or out of the atoll. Where the current is so called “incoming” (with high tide) and “outgoing” (with low tide). This is where you can usually find strong currents and big pelagic fish, the best locations to find sharks, mantas, eagle rays, barracudas and trevallies.
The lagoon of the islands and the house reefs are usually used for check dives and for conducting diving courses. Lagoons are characterized by sand and coral pinnacles, depending on the island location, house reefs can be quite rich of life and nice diving sites. Some are actually quite amazing!
So where should you go diving? If your chosen destination is the Ari Atoll then you should definitely dive the following sites:
As you may have read at the beginning of the article, Maldives is such a great location to dive because of its biodiversity. In the same dive you can meet big grey reef sharks and small colourful reef fish. If you want a taste of interesting creatures that you may find during your dives, here you are!
Grey reef sharks, whitetip sharks, nurse sharks, leopard sharks, mantas, eagle rays, devil rays, sting rays, swarms of trevally and barracuda, frog fish, leaf fish, schools of snappers, batfish and doctor fish, crabs, nudibranchs and sea worms and many different types of colourful soft and hard corals and sponges.
Have you already been in Maldives or are you planning to go there? Write here below in the comments and tell us about your experience!