Diving in the Maldives is the dream of any diver and that fortunately is already within reach of our fins at a reasonable price. The incorporation of new airlines to our airports allows you to comfortably and cheaply reach these beautiful islands with just one stop, be it in the Middle East or Europe. This, together with the general price reduction of the dive boats resulting from intense competition, has made Maldives a world-class dive destination suitable for almost any diver.
I’m not going to wind up in describing the islands, that if there are many islands, what if population etc when we are interested is to go “to the block” and learn about diving in the area. Just a curiosity, the highest point of the Maldives is lower than Basket playerPau Gasol.
The Maldives are conditioned by two Monsoons, the “humid” that runs from May to November and blows from the Southeast and the “dry” Monsoon that runs from November to May and blows from the Northeast. Depending on the time of year we can dive in one area or another of the Maldives. Although it can rain all year round (usually during the night except in the middle of Monsoon) when it rains most it is from the end of May to the middle of August. Many dive boats take advantage of this time to dry dock and prepare for the next season that usually begins in August to go north. At Baa Atoll a large amount of plankton is concentrated between August and October, attracting a large number of blankets and whale sharks
There are two ways to dive in Maldives, diving from resort or liveaboard. If you have little experience or travel with someone who does not dive, the option of diving from the resort is highly recommended, you have paradisiacal beaches with a more than acceptable diving. For advanced divers who want butt dives the ideal is liveaboard, because it allows us to move to much more remote diving areas that are impossible from resort since the Maldives have many diving areas away from each other.
Liveaboard is usually 7 nights or 10 nights. Depending on the time of year a route is made by navigating more to the North of Male or going down to the South. Although depending on the shipping company the route of 7 nights changes its name, there are those who call it “classic”, the “Best of Maldives”, “Magic Maldives” even “five atolls” the route is the same. He usually toured the North Male atolls for chek dive and first contact dives (formerly the Victory wreck), then moved Northwest to Radhoo to see the schools of hammers, from there go down to the Ari atoll in search of the shark whale and the giant blankets to finally cross again towards the East to go to South Male or Felidhoo where to see the gray sharks, “silkie” etc.
Between the months of March and April it is usually also the South route, where there tend to be more currents than in the “classic” but also more sharks. And speaking of sharks, which are the great attraction of these islands along with the Mobula Manta, here we find more than 24 different types, which include schools of hammers, “silkie”, whale shark and tiger shark among others. Apart from the giant Manta or Mobula, we will also see huge Napoleon fish and 244 species of coral.
The conditions of the water are usually of a temperature of 28º and about 30 or 35 in the outside and depending on the zone and time an excellent visibility. In the areas where plankton is concentrated, visibility is worse but, on the contrary, we will find the great filtering systems such as the whale shark and the giant Manta. This is usually in Baa Atoll between the months of August to October or in the famous Ari Atoll, East or West depending on the time of year.
The dives are usually drifting or “Caribbean”, being carried away by the current, always present in these waters. In the early hours of the morning it is usually done the deepest, which can exceed 40 meters in search of schools of hammers, and although in general all dives can be deep, they are not so much and allows us to enjoy more time between corals and their attractive fauna. As in general the diving areas are deep, it is not usually done more than one night dive by safari, which depending on the route can be in “Maya Thila” (in the Ari Atoll) where we will see a lot of sharks or in the South, in Felidhoo also famous for its night dives with sharks.
One of the star dives of the Maldives is diving in the so-called “Kandus”, which are some coral formations that are close to each other, funneling and where the Indian enters with great force. To the gray sharks, “silkie” and others love to sit in full flow at the entrances of the “Kandus”. The ideal is to zoom down and with the current hook grab you where you can to observe the spectacle of the sharks passing in front of you. Another very famous diving area is in the Ari Atoll, going south until finding the area of the giant blankets, which we can contemplate quietly in relatively shallow areas. It is a unique spectacle because it seems that they are attracted by the bubbles of the regulator and “dance” around us until the computer tells us that it is time to say goodbye. In the Ari Atoll it is also where we usually see the whale shark.
The diving boats in Maldives are extremely comfortable, authentic floating hotels because everything related to diving, equipment, compressors etc are in the Dhoni, an auxiliary boat of about 20 meters in length that accompanies the main ship and which we will use as diving boat. It is very much appreciated that everything is there, especially to avoid compressor noises. Most of Dhonis are spacious, have a bathroom and of course ladder to access from the water once you finish the dive, let a delight compared to the “zigzag” of zodiac that you hit in the Red Sea. In a few years this part has also been introducing the Nitrox. The dive guides were somewhat reluctant at first because of the depth to which they can be lowered but the logic is imposed and this safety bonus is now available on almost all Maldivian dive boats.
In short, Maldives is a diving destination that you can not miss if you like to see “big fish”, but you have to have diving experience in currents and deep diving if you want to enjoy this incredible destination.