It seems inevitable that a nation comprised of over 1000 islands should offer some of the most spectacular diving in the world, and the Maldives does exactly that. The key to the archipelago’s rich marine life and beautiful coral reefs are the currents that bring a constant stream of nutrient rich water to the islands. Scuba diving in the Maldives offers visitors the chance to experience three distinct types of diving, including high adrenaline drifting between the island channels and along the sheer coral walls that make up the atolls’ outer edges; exploring the more sedate waters in the lagoons; and marveling at the huge number of species that are drawn to the region’s many pinnacles, or thilas.
The waters of the Maldives literally thrive with life, from the microscopic to the massive; from tiny crustaceans to the mantas and whale sharks for which the area is so famous. In the channels between the islands in particular, swiftly moving currents make for a dynamic environment that attracts impressive shoals of large pelagics, giant reef fish and passing sharks. Napoleon wrasse, schools of jacks and snapper, eagle rays and grouper are all common sights in the passes and channels of the Maldives.
Cleaning stations are another highlight of Maldivian diving, where divers can enjoy reliable encounters with one of the ocean’s most graceful, awe-inspiring species, the manta ray. It is possible to see several of these amazing creatures on a single dive, and mantas are present in the islands’ waters all year round. For those seeking encounters with other large marine species, atolls throughout the Maldives offer opportunities to spot whale sharks, thresher sharks, hammerheads and tigers. Due to the sprawling nature of the archipelago’s islands, one of the best ways to experience them is with a Maldives liveaboard charter. In this way, you not only maximize your time in the water but also gain access to some of the country’s most remote, pristine reefs.
Alternatively, Maldives dive resorts are a good option for those keen to take advantage of the atolls’ perfect beaches as well as the underwater treasures found just offshore. The long stretches of fine white sand and arching palm trees are the definition of tropical paradise, and resorts like the Bandos Island Resort on North Male atoll enable you to enjoy the very best of both worlds.
Scuba diving is possible in the Maldives all year round, although many of the liveaboard charters run predominantly between November and May thanks to the rains bought by the southwest monsoon in the summer months. Visibility is typically spectacular in the Maldives, averaging between 65-130 feet, while water temperatures range from 78-84°F. Although strong currents in the island channels can mean that some dive sites are not suitable for inexperienced or nervous divers, there are plenty of sites appropriate for all levels of experience. In fact, thanks to the good conditions and amazing marine life found there, the Maldives is a great place for non-divers to get certified. Whether you’re a first time diver or a seasoned veteran; whether your interests lie with macro critters or giant pelagics; whether you like to dive five times a day or spend your afternoons relaxing on the beach, the Maldives has the potential to make your dive holiday dreams a reality.