DIVING HOLIDAYS IN THE MALDIVES
The Maldives' 26 atolls stretch north to south for hundreds of miles creating a broken barrier to the Indian Ocean's prevailing currents. It's the flow of these currents and local tides through & around the atolls and islands, and the rich planktonic soup they carry, that gives diving in the Maldives its unique flavour. The Maldivian atolls are divided into 21 administrative regions named in order, north to south, by the letters of the Maldivian alphabet. We use a mix of official, 'popular' and traditional names for five broad geographical regions.
The huge variety and abundance of fish life make a holiday diving the Maldives so exciting. Some species are common throughout the Maldives while pelagics, like mantas and whale sharks, move with the season. The Maldives has diving for everyone. Larger channels (Kandus) and mid-channel coral pinnacles (Thilas & Giris) offer the opportunity of exhilarating drift dives with manta cleaning stations adding to the excitement. Complex formations of inner reefs, lagoons and the atolls' outer walls offer diving at a more leisurely pace.
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DIVING SEASONS IN THE MALDIVES
The following is written in broad terms as forecasting seasonality in the Maldives is not an exact science. Throughout the Maldives there are, broadly speaking, two seasons:
NORTH MALE ATOLL
Despite North Male Atoll having been the first Maldivian Atoll developed for tourism, and also location of the capital Male, in the atoll’s south, the atoll’s north has few developed islands. It retains a remote feel as Male is over 50 minutes away by speedboat, far longer by dive dhoni (local day boat). So the 40 or so named dive sites in northern North Male Atoll are beyond reach of divers from the majority of the atoll’s resorts. The currents flowing through the atolls reverse with the change in season which influences site selection. Across the Maldives there are, broadly speaking, two seasons. Iruvaa, December-April, is the North Eastern monsoon with its winds from the North, North East or East, which bring generally dry weather. During Hulhagu, April-December, the winds reverse carrying with them moister air. Most of the north’s named sites are around the atoll’s western wall with its numerous Kandu’s (channels). There are also a number of great Thila’s and Giris (different forms of coral heads) in the atoll’s interior. Hard coral gardens, reef fish, turtles, schooling barracuda, even the occasional whale shark, its all here. There are sites where you can reliably experience shark diving at its best including at Himiya Kandu, Olhahali Kandu and also at Fishpoint with its Grey Reef Sharks and Eagle Rays. Diving North Male Atoll also includes one of the Maldives’ famous Manta cleaning stations at Boduhiti Thila, best during Iruvaa. During the Hulhagu season the Mantas migrate many moving to the atoll’s eastern wall at Fairy Tail reef."
MARINE LIFE OF THE MALDIVES ISLANDS
The Maldives are blessed with an incredible variety of marine species throughout the year, but the country is probably most famous for its whale sharks and manta rays - which can very often be seen feeding on plankton blooms and at the cleaning stations.
But, thankfully mantas aren’t the only rays found in the Maldives. Whilst on a dive, you may be closer than you think to eagle rays, devil rays, blue spotted rays even the enormous black spotted rays – so keep an eye out into the blue, as you never know what wonderful creatures may be swimming close by.
For the shark loving divers out there, the Maldives has a fantastic array of species that make for the most incredible of diving experiences. Amongst many other types to be seen roaming Maldive waters, there is a great range of black tip, white tip, leopard shark, and hammerheads – all of which can be viewed up close and personal in their natural habitat.
But it's not just the sharks and rays of the Maldives blue that draw in the diving crowds, as more than 2,000 species of fish have been identified in the waters, with approximately 300 reef fish. Some of the more famous and sought-after fish sightings to be found in the Maldives are of course the varieties of tuna fish, which make great viewing as they hunt smaller prey in large schools.
From the macro critters going about their daily business to the ranging variety of eels to have inhabited the great walls - the visuals of everything going on underwater are a magnificent sight and of course the friendly Napoleon & Maori Wrasse that shadow your every move!
Another firm favourite amongst voyaging divers are the characterful turtles, as the age old creatures are a mascot of your safety stops – lazily lounging around in the sun with just the occasional dip for a munch on the coral!
All in all, the spectacular range of marine life on offer in all corners of the Maldives nigh on guarantee an unforgettable time each time you delve into the waters, as the vast quantities of life and in such great variety ensures every one of your dives is as unforgettably unique as the last.
TRAVEL HEALTH FOR THE MALDIVES
Advise changes from time to time however so we ask that you ask your travel health expert (e.g. GP, practice nurse or travel clinic) to provide you with the most up to date information and vaccines to ensure your travels are safe and enjoyable.