Scuba diving in the Maldives
If your idea of scuba diving in paradise is a pristine, tranquil tropical island with swaying palm trees, pure white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons, then the Maldives won't disappoint. It has some of the best scuba diving in the world.
The Maldives consists of a group of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean which features 1190 coral islands and is a major destination for scuba divers who come for the fabulous reefs and the wealth of marine life.
The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometers away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it here.
While shore diving is very good, visibility (and the chance of encountering large pelagics) increases as you head to the outer atolls. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea.
Thank you to Oliver Payne for the photo of the sea plane and to Olivier Schori. See Olivier's photos below and just dream ........
- Banana Reef - a drift dive on the eastern side of the North Male’ Atoll, inside the barrier reef for an unbelievable abundance of fish and many varieties of coral (the result of the virtually incessant currents!)
- Maya Thila - 4kms north of the island resort of Mayafushi, this is one of the best dives in the Maldives. A protected site, a thila (or island) which is about 80 m in diameter, with depths ranging from six to 30 metres, ‘Maya Thila’ has abundant fish life and intricate coral growth. A thrilling dive with sharks everywhere.
- Fotheyo - the longest reef in the Maldives
- Emboodhoo Express - the name of the channel entering South Male' Atoll towards Emboodhoo Island Resort. During the winter monsoon the fast moving current carries divers over unforgettable reef among eagle rays, tuna, Napoleon wrasses and schools of fusiliers. When the current is weak, the soft corals near the mouth of the channel can be explored.
- Maldives Victory wreck - a 110 meter long (360 foot) freighter. The wreck of the Maldive Victory lies on the western side of "Hulhule". The wreck lies upright and parallel to the reef, on the sandy seabed at a depth of thirty five meters (115 feet). In 1981, the freighter ran at full speed onto the southern tip of the island and sand within an hour. Everyone on board were rescued and no one were injured.
- The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort and beware of surcharges; you could be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. However, you'll get a better diving experience by opting for liveaboards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying the high resort fees.
- On the upside, safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc) being the rule rather than the exception.
|Language:||All European languages widely spoken|
|Climate:||Tropical; NE monsoon (Nov-March), SW monsoon (June-Aug)|
|Natural hazards:||Rises in sea levels affect the low lying islands|
|Diving season:||Year round but uk winter and spring are the best|
|Water temperature:||29C/84F (Jan-Mar)|