Diving with mantas and whale sharks in the Maldives

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Diving with mantas and whale sharks in the Maldives

The Maldives is a great destination for dive holidays year round and whale sharks and mantas can be seen throughout the year in the archipelago, however, there are some things you should know in order to really get the most out of this one a kind experience.

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Where to see whale sharks and mantas

The best places to see whale sharks are in the South Ari and Baa Atoll. Hanifaru Bay is located at the core of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of the Baa Atoll, and it is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks and manta rays.  

The best time of year to see mantas and whale sharks

For the best sightings of mantas and whale sharks, you should visit Hanifaru Bay between May and November when they come to the area to feed due to the build up of plankton in the bay caused by the south west monsoon. Observing the feeding frenzy of mantas, where upwards of 50 individuals can often be sighted at one time, really is a sight to behold and should be at the top of anybody’s bucket list. 

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This is also the wet, and thus low, season in the Maldives and many of the islands and hotels in the area offer great special deals over this time. In the southernmost atoll in the Maldives, Addu Atoll, one can find mantas all year round.

In the southernmost atoll in the Maldives, Addu Atoll, one can find mantas all year round.

What to expect when diving with whale sharks and manta rays

At Hanifaru Bay, a limit has been set to a maximum of 5 boats and 80 snorkellers at any given time. Scuba diving is actually not permitted here but the other northern atoll dive sites still provide great sightings and many of the Maldives liveaboards still include Hanifaru Bay in their itineraries, providing snorkelling equipment to guests for this once in a lifetime experience.

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Some of the top dive resorts in the Maldives also have resident marine biologists who can teach you all about the work going on in the archipelago to protect and preserve the reefs and the majestic pelagic species that can be found here. With the growth of mass tourism in the Maldives, it really is something special to dive at a resort where conservation and the marine life is at the heart of the establishment.

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When diving or snorkelling with mantas and whale sharks the first thing to remember is that they are rather a lot larger than you. This can make it a little daunting to be alongside them. However, the magic of the mantas and whale sharks is that no matter how big they are, there is nothing scary about them. As they glide past you in the water you will notice how serene they are. Take your time to watch them and it should also go without saying that you should never try to touch, approach, or swim into the path of these majestic creatures of the deep. 

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To experience the magic of manta rays and whale sharks in the Maldives contact us and speak to one of our dive experts who will assist you in planning your holiday.