The coconut palm and the yellow-fin tuna, symbols of the Maldives, say a great deal about this nation of more than a thousand islands. Grouped into 26 low atolls in the Indian Ocean, less than 300 of the islands are inhabited. The Maldives is flat with white sandy beaches and excellent reefs with an abundance of marine life. Scuba diving is done at a leisurely drift pace as the Indian Monsoon Current sweeps along the island chains, moving nutrients and divers along. This nutrient-rich water flows up along the walls, feeding the sponges and soft corals clinging to the rock sides. Inside the atoll lagoons, rock pinnacles – thila – vault up from the bottom to scratch the water’s surface. In the channels, there are swim-throughs, caverns and overhangs festooned with colorful sponges, invertebrates and gorgonians to explore. At well-known cleaning stations, wrasse and shrimp service manta rays, and other large marine species. With a welcoming culture and some of the finest dive sites on the globe, a dive holiday in the Maldives makes for an unforgettable experience.
Kaafu Atoll - Hulhumale
Kaafu Atoll is the best known and most explored area of the Maldives. It is characterized by beautiful underwater scenery including coral reefs, caves, drop-offs and wrecks. Divers in the northern section of the atoll are able to enjoy some of best coral reefs the Maldives has to offer, whilst in the southern section, cleaning stations allow for close encounters with manta rays and unusual reef residents such as octopus and moray eels are often seen. A shipping route through one of the atoll channels has also left a few wrecks for future generations to enjoy as colorful and thriving artificial reefs. In addition, the North Male dive sites enjoy some of the best coral reefs in the Maldives. The islands are not really known for their pristine coral coverage these days but there are spots in this area as healthy and bright as anywhere in the world. Manta Point is a cleaning station in the south east of the atoll that's great, not just for observing manta rays at close quarters, but also reef residents such as octopus, moray eels and white-tip reef sharks. With a little luck (but not too much) you'll see, not just one or two mantas, but more than your fingers can count of these magnificent graceful rays.
Raa Atoll - Furaveri
Raa Atoll or North Maalhosmadulu Atoll is one of the northern most visited atolls of the Maldives. It is separated from Baa Atoll by the 5km wide Hani Kandu or channel, located only 20km east of South Miladhunmadulu Atoll, a very remote atoll in the upper north of the Maldives. Raa Atoll is almost 70km long and 30km wide, bordered by a chain of islands on its western side. With more than 90 islets Raa Atoll offers many fast flowing channels, an enormous amount of marine life and some of the best beaches in the Maldives. Because of the ever present current, advanced divers will be more comfortable then beginners, but with this many pinnacles, inner lagoon dive sites and colorful fish life it will attract anybody, also non divers.