Diving in the Maldives is an unforgettable experience. The location of atolls in the open ocean translates into an abundance of oceanic fishes. They go here behind the manta rays, silver flocks of all kinds of fish, and, of course, a meeting with a whale shark.

For diving we recommend remote atolls, especially diving safaris.

 

Safety

The following restrictions on diving exist in Maldives:
  • Maximum dive time: 60 minutes;
  • It is forbidden to dive to a depth requiring decompression (more than 30 m);
  • Each diver must have an underwater computer;
  • Mandatory 3-minute safety stops at a depth of 5 meters;
  • The last dive should be at least 24 hours before the flight.
Before diving, you should consult with the local dive center about the features of each dive site that you are going to visit, as well as the depth of dive available to your level.

Capital: Male

Time: + 1h to Moscow time in summer, + 2h in winter

Visa for Russians: not needed

Religion: Islam

National currency: Maldives rupee

Exchange rate to USD: 1 USD = 12.8 MVR

Maldives Dive Dictionary:

  • Kandu are channels (straits) between islands, reefs or atolls. The inextricable connection of kanda with currents provides a favorable environment for the exuberant growth of charming soft corals. Water inside the atoll is ideal for the development of plankton, and where this water leaves through the kanda into the open sea, a large amount of plankton attracts large animals such as manta rays and whale sharks. During the period of the south-western monsoon (May-November), currents tend to go from the atoll through the kanda on the eastern side, and during the northeastern monsoon (December-March) the stream directed to the sea comes out on the west
  • Tila is a type of dive site in the form of a peak (peak). It is a coral formation, sharply rising from the foot of the atoll and not reaching the water surface by 5-15 meters. Most of the tila is like a majestic underwater mountain, around which divers fly like birds. The top of the clay can be rich in reef fish and corals, and in the steep sides there are cracks, caves and protrusions providing shelter for many small fish, behind which , In turn, larger fish come here.
  • Giri is a coral formation that rises almost to the surface of the water. The Jiri has a lot of similarities to the Tyla, but the upper surface may be too shallow for diving.

Tilas and Giris are found inside the kanda, where nutrient-rich currents contribute to the growth of soft corals. They are also in protected waters inside the atoll, where the sea is warmer and less mobile. Solid corals on such tilas and Jiri suffered most from discoloration in 1998 as a result of the rise in water temperature associated with the effect of Hurricane El Niño, and they took the most time to recover.

Seasons

Diving in the Maldives is possible all year round, and all year round you can see the whole spectrum of large and not very marine creatures (by the way, it is in the Maldives that the largest population of reef mantises live all year round). Nevertheless, depending on the season, such factors as weather conditions, currents, visibility change greatly. Based on these factors, yachts change the routes and cost of their dive safari. There are two main seasons: the southwestern monsoon (May-October) and the northeastern monsoon (November-April).

Northeast monsoon (November - April).

This season is formally Maldivian in summer, although in comparison with the «winter» (May-October), the temperature fluctuation is insignificant. The climate at this time is dry, visibility is usually excellent, reef life is abundant and colorful. Currents in some places can be quite strong. Due to the currents flowing into the atolls from the northeast, from the eastern part of the atolls a large cluster of sharks can be observed. During this season, manta rays and whale sharks can be found mainly on the western side of the atolls. A typical route for this season is the central atolls (North and South Male, Ari and Rasdu). This route is very popular with yachts. Also safaris are made to the northern and southern atolls, as well as to the Far South, to the equator. Southern atolls, such as Vaavu and Meemu, offer excellent diving in canals of atolls that abound in life. The currents here are strong, and you need to be an advanced diver to be able to adapt to the constantly changing ascending and descending currents. The far south (Addu) is even more sharks and even stronger currents. Only for experienced divers!

South-western monsoon (May-October)

Excellent diving from the western side of the atolls — good visibility attracts large flocks of pelagic inhabitants — different types of sharks, tuna, bayans, rays and turtles. On the eastern side of the atolls, diving is very different — visibility is worsening due to the breeding of plankton, but this is the best time and place in the Maldives to see mantas and whale sharks that come here for food. It is in these months — the season of eating mantas — the number of mantles near the atolls as much as possible, which undoubtedly covers such a disadvantage as impaired visibility. June and July are the «official» rainy season. Since the Maldives are in the equatorial belt, severe storms and cyclones are very rare here.

Of great interest are, first of all, the Ari Atoll — the habitat of whale sharks, and the northern Baa atoll — here the maximum concentration of mantles.

Atolls

Ari Atoll

— Bathhala Magaa Kahn Thila (gray reef sharks, white-shark sharks, napoleons)
— Maya Thila (stingrays, tortoises, white-shark sharks, moray eels)
— Khazfa Thila (gray reef sharks, tuna, white-shark sharks, fish-bats)
— Degas Thila (fish-bats, fish-leaves, lucians, caruncles)
— Rah Digaa Reef (reef fish)
— Rah Digaa Thila (gray reef sharks, barracudas, fish-bats)
— Maamigili Beiru (whale sharks, mooblets)
— Where Rah Thila (lucians, groupers, fish-bats, turtles)
— Kudimaa Rack (rack)
— Well Gili (turtles, scorpion, snapper)
— Vilamedhoo Thila (white-shark sharks, eagle ray, lucians)

North Male Atoll

— Home reef of Kurumba (reef fish)
— Banana Reef (lucians, reef fish)
— Nasimo Thila (soft corals, reef fish)
— HP Reef (lucians, reef fish)
— Lancan of Manta (Manti)

Vaavu (Felida) Atoll

— Miyaru Kandu (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, napoleons, eaglets)
— Medu Kandu (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, eagle rays)
— Devan Kandu (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, Napoleons, leopard moray eels, stingrays)
— Foteyo Candu (soft corals, white-shark sharks, snapper, nymphs-napoleons)
— Kunavashi Kandu (white-shark sharks, napoleons, lucians)

South Male Atoll

— Where the Weak Rack (Rack)
— Miyaru headlamp (white-shark sharks, napoleons, lucians)
— Coco Corner (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, nymphs-napoleons)
— Guraidhoo Corner (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, moray eels, eagles)
— Embudhoo Express (gray sharks, white sharks, tuna, snapper)
— Honey Faro (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, tuna, nymphs-napoleons)
— Kanduma Thila (gray reef sharks, white-shark sharks, tuna)

Malaku Atoll

— Vanhuravalhi Kandu (white-shark sharks, lucians, eaglets)
— Malaku Kandu (white-shark sharks, eagle rays, stingrays)
— Medhu Faro Kandu (gray sharks, white-shark sharks, snapper, barracuda)

Dive-sites

Paradise Manta Point

This dive site is located to the southeast of the island of Paradise. The main attraction is the mantle that sails here for cleaning both alone and in large groups. This occurs for the most part during the wet (summer) season on the outside of the island. A lot of fish-cleaners provide them with this service. Located on a sandy plateau or on a reef, divers can observe the cleaning process. Do not make sharp movements and try to stroke the mantles — these graceful giants are fearful and can swim away. The top of the reef is at a depth of 12 m and gradually descends to 40 m. Also there are many turtles, various moray eels, beautiful corals, etc. In addition, here you can begin to get acquainted with the classic Maldivian schooling fish — oriental sweets and Kashmiri lucians.
Location: North Male Atoll.

Guraidhoo Kandu

This is one of the top sites of the Maldives offering diving in canals. It is best to dive during the northeast monsoon, when the currents enter the canal from the ocean. With strong currents, the site is suitable only for experienced divers, able to cope with currents and turbulence. The depth is up to 30 m. The rich marine life and fascinating seascapes are guaranteed here. There are sharks, rays and manta rays. On the south side is the corner of Guraidhoo, also a famous dive site, full of fish and coral growth. The outer reef is full of groupers, jambs of banner ads and turtles. Near the corner you can see shoals of anglers, tuna and caranx, closer to 25 m depth, gray reef sharks and snapper hunt for small fish. On both sides of the channel there live local patrons — big Napoleons. Near the large ledge, you can experience the effect of a whirlpool, which pulls divers up and down. In this case, it is better to stay close to the reef. With strong currents flowing out of the channel, it is better to keep inside the channel, and not to dive very deep, especially at the corner, since currents there can take the divers out, making it difficult to return to the reef.

Place: South Male Atoll.

Paradise Reef

Paradise — the outer reef on the island of Paradise. It’s a quiet site with beautiful corals and lots of fish. There is everything from small reef fish to large pelagic species, sharks and turtles, which are easiest to meet during the southwest monsoon, from June to October. The site is known for its second name — Manta Point. It’s easy to dive here — just swim along with the current along shallow water.

Location: North Male Atoll.

Kandooma Thila

The reef of this dive site is 300 meters in length and stretched in the form of a drop. It is one of the most beautiful places on the atoll of South Male and by its picturesqueness, and by the variety of fish. The reef is of interest both in terms of the diversity of the underwater landscape, and in terms of the richness of marine life forms. The western and northern sides of the reef are most interesting for observation, the peaks of which are located 16 meters from the surface of the water. At the north-western extremity (Jack Corner), at a depth of 23 meters, there is a cave. Inside it grow soft corals, but the greatest interest is represented by large flocks of large-eyed caruncles and red perch, tuna and barracuda. At the western extremity from the northern side of the reef, several large rock formations are covered with soft corals of bright colors. On the edge of the reef there are many caves and deepenings in the walls, full of various marine life. Here, eagle rays and reef sharks live, and with luck, you can meet green turtles, sleeping or slowly floating near the top of the reef. At the corner there are caves and overhanging rocky ledges. On the plateau, in addition to different marine organisms, it is possible to meet white-shark sharks.

Place: South Male Atoll.

Nassimo Thila

A few minutes west of the resort of the island of Paradise is Nassimo Tila, one of the best seamounts on the atoll of North Male. The upper reef of this oval til lies at a depth of 10 to 15 m. On the northern side of the tyla there are large boulders that seem to have fallen from the main crest and were thickly overgrown with pink and blue soft corals. On the northern and eastern sides there are cornices at a depth of 15-20 m, where blue-snapped snappers, groupers, squirrel fish live. The ceilings of these cornices are decorated with soft corals. Giant caruncles, blue finches, white reef sharks and bisces are often found here.

Location: North Male Atoll.

Emboodhu Express

This is a dive site that is located in the strait near the southern part of Embudhu Island and is famous for its currents, whose speed can reach 2.5 m / s, which attracts large fish like sharks and rays. The entire water area of ​​the Strait is a marine protected area. At the southern extremity of the wall, large shoals gather. This dive site is ideal for experienced divers, since the probability of meeting sharks is higher at great depths. The immersion begins outside the strait: they descend 15 meters and follow the reef, leaving it on the right hand, to the place where the wall makes a turn, and then sink to the bottom. If the current is strong, you can take your time, but stop about 30 meters and wait: sharks will sail themselves. Most often there are white and gray reef sharks. Sometimes you can see hammerhead fish, eagle rays, tailings, napoleon fish, sea bass and barracudas. After 15-20 minutes, you can return to the reef and, leaving it on your right, proceed to the strait. On the reef there are crevices and small depressions, and between the growing corals there are lobsters and eastern sweet-hats. After sailing about 200 meters along the strait, at 12 meters depth you can see a hole in the reef leading to a large niche in a rock covered with black corals. This is an ideal place to complete the dive: here you can make a stop for decompression without fear of currents.

Place: South Male Atoll.

HP Reef

This exclusive dive site is located south of the island of Girifushi Island in the atoll of North Male and is called the HP reef in honor of Hans-Peter, a dive instructor who discovered this reef many years ago. Large protrusions, filled with soft corals, are located on the western and southern sides of this tyla, and at a depth of 15-28 m there are cornices densely overgrown with soft corals of all colors on the ceiling and even on the floor. Large jambs of large-eyed caruncles, barracudas, dog-toothed tunas, sharks and rays are often observed here. Sometimes the current can be too strong, forcing divers to start diving from another entrance.

Location: North Male Atoll.

Kuda Giri wreck

Specially flooded for the purpose of creating an artificial reef 10 years ago, a fishing trawler lying at a depth of 20 to 34 m abundantly overgrew with table, reindeer and stone corals, not counting the variegated red, orange and yellow sponges growing among the corals, which undoubtedly proved The success of such events. Below the ship on the sandy slope there are a lot of garden eels, between them live several species of bull-calves with partners — shrimp.

The rake is located directly on the seabed, and can be explored from the bow at 18 m (it is right next to the pinnakle) and further down to the stern to a depth of 30 m.

Experienced divers can swim inside the rake, exploring marine life, populating the captain’s cabin, cargo holds and engine room. You can get inside through the engine room, and swim through the stern, or swim in the front hold and swim across the bridge.

Plunging among the wreckage of the rack, divers can see huge shoals of the glassfish and swallow fish, who have chosen a sunken ship as their home. You can also expect to see turtles, nymphs, Napoleon, jackfish, triggerfish, shrimp, lobster, frogfish, bluefin karans, anglers and fish-leaf, and this is not the whole list!
Place: South Male Atoll.

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