Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea, grouped into 26 atolls and multiple islands from Haa Alif Atoll in the north to the Addu Atoll in the south, comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres. The Maldives has become one of the world's best known scuba diving destinations because of the white sand beaches, coral reefs, clear warm waters, numerous scuba diving sites and the presence of whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and moray eels, as well as many smaller fish.
In the Maldives, each island has its own lagoon, the lagoons usually around 20 meters in depth and are mostly sandy. Those lagoons are protected from the current, making them an ideal spot to offer dive courses. Then there is Kandu, kandu are the diving spots around the border of the atolls, these places are the best for drift dives and the best places to see large pelagic. Finally, there is Thila, a thila is an underwater island, when the thila are within a kandu are usually means the diving can have strongest currents but also the most diverse sea life.
The Maldives comprises mainly open water, with only 1% of the country being land-based, the land is spread over 1,192 islets with less than 300 of the islands are inhabited! There are than hundreds of dive sites await you, you will never get bored in the exploration of its magical waters which are ideal conditions for diving all year round. And Maldives also offering some of the finest dive liveaboard on the globe, a dive holiday in the Maldives will guarantee for an unforgettable experience.
99% of the dive liveaboards in Maldives are accompanied by a spacious diving dhoni (tenders), all dives are carried out from this dhoni. Dive gears, compressors, tanks will always remain on the dhoni which keep the noise away from the main boat when filling the tanks and give more spaces to the main boat.
Maldives Diving Seasons :
The Maldives enjoys tropical warm weather with loads of sunshine year-round with air temperature between 26°C - 31°C throughout the year. Diving is year round in the Maldives, however, there are two distinct diving seasons with the opportunity to see the same creatures but with diferent conditons and interests :
The Dry Season : The Northeast Monsoon | November - April
These months are consider as the peak diving season in the Maldives, with the best time from December to April, offers fair weather with significant currents. There can be a lot of shark actions on the east side of the atolls, while mantas and whale sharks will mostly be found on the west side of the atolls. Diving conditons during these months are usually with very good visibility on the east side of the atolls and can be a litle reduced on the west side but that’s where you’re more likely to find the mantas and whale sharks. Compare to the rainy season, diving in these months will see more species of sharks the further south you go.
During these months, most of the liveaboards will offer itineraries to the Central Maldives and Southern Maldives while some still offering trips to the Northern Maldives. The itineraries that go to the northern Maldives and central Maldives will be more like to the descriptions above. The itineraries that go a little south will likely include Vaavu and/or Meemu where channel diving will be the norm, the currents are defnitely stronger than the central islands. For the deep south trips that start or end in Addu, divers even requires more experience, the deep south trips are very exhilarating, but should only be reserved for divers experienced in diving in strong currents and who love diving with sharks. All in all, the further south you go, the stronger the current due to the amount of channel diving, and the more experience is required.
The Rainy Season : The Southeast Monsoon | May - October
These months are less crowded with more wind and less current, with the best time from June to September. Diving on the west side of the atolls can be very active with large schools of pelagic creatures including different species of sharks, tuna, wrasse, rays and turtles. While the east side of the atolls offering the best chance to encounter with huge schools of manta ray and whale sharks. The visibility will be reduced during these months, especially on the east side of the atolls due to the increased plankton. Compare to the dry season, there are defnitely more mantas hanging out and feeding around Baa Atoll this tme of year.
During these months, liveaboards will offering itineraries to the Central Maldives and Northern Maldives. Itineraries that include Baa atolls (Hanifaru Bay) are often can be offered from June to September, and will feature manta feeding stations.
Liveaboard Diving Regions :
Diving in Central Maldives comprising North Male atoll, South Male atoll, North Ari atoll, South Ari atoll, Vaavu atoll, Rasdhoo atoll. Liveaboard trips will embark and disembark from Male. Guests may not visit each atoll in a regular 8D/7N trip, liveaboards usually will select 4 - 5 atolls to visit per trip according to the conditions and diving options at the time. Central Maldives can be dive year-round and it's suitable for divers at all levels, however, divers should be comfortable with drift dives. Diving involved channel-drift dives, wrecks, reefs, pinnacles, world-famous night dives. Divers will have the opportunity to see the whale sharks and manta rays and take part in the 'famous' nurse shark night dives.
Diving in North Maldives comprising Baa atoll, Raa atoll, Lhaviyani atoll, Noonu atoll, Shaviyani atoll, Haa Dhaalu atoll, Haa Alifu atoll. There are many different itineraries can be offered according to different interests. Some itineraries combine the central atolls with a bit of northern atolls, some will only go further to the far north atolls. The "central + north atolls trips" can be embark and disembark from Male or with one way domestic flight depends on the route, the far north trips are usually involved with two way domestic flights if it's a regular 8D/7N trip.
Trips to the northern atolls (such as Baa atoll, Raa atoll, Lhaviyani atoll, Noonu atoll) usually can be offered during June to November, while the Far North atolls (such as Shaviyani atoll, Haa Dhaalu atoll, Haa Alifu atoll) can be offered year-round. The North Maldives is characterized by beautiful reef formations and abundance of fish life, divers can see dizzying volume of manta rays, whale sharks, plenty of white and black tip reef sharks, nurse shark, leopard sharks, guitar rays, schools of barracuda and much much more.
Diving in South Maldives comprising Meemu atoll, Thaa atoll, Laamu atoll, Gaafu Alifu Atoll + Gaafu Dhaalu atoll (Huvadhoo Atoll), Fuvahmulah atoll, Addu atoll. There are many different itineraries can be offered according to different interests, some itineraries combine the central atolls with a bit of southern atolls, some will only go for the deep southern atolls. The "central + southern atolls trips" can be embark and disembark from Male or with one way domestic flight depends on the route, the deep south trips are usually involved with two way domestic flights if it's a regular 8D/7N trip.
Trips to the South Maldives can be offered from January to April each year. The southern atolls (such as Meemu Atoll, Thaa atoll, Laamu atoll) usually involve going to depth and diving with strong currents. We only recommend divers who have a minimum of 60 logged dives and must be comfortable with strong currents. For the deep south trip (such as Huvadhoo Atoll, Fuvahmulah atoll, Addu atoll), we only recommend divers who have over 100 logged dives and must be comfortable with strong currents and a strong focus on drift diving to join, as currents can be very strong.
Divers can expect to see beautiful channels with exciting pelagic action such as sailfish, grey reef sharks, eagle rays, mantas, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, dolphins, tiger sharks, silver tips shark, oceanic thresher shark and all kind of great things!