Some of the Top Dive Sites of the Maldives
Editor’s note: The details of the dive sites and the photographs were sent to us by Shafraz Naeem, an enthusiastic and professional diver.
Shafraz Naeem for Maldives Promotion House – The entire archipelago of Maldives is filled with numerous dive sites of high diversity, many of them with distinct features, and corals. Here are just a few of them, considered as the top dive sites of Maldives.
HP Reef / Rainbow Reef – North Malé Atoll
HP Reef or Rainbow Reef is a Protected Marine Area. The site is located near the island of Himmafushi and is in the channel called “Himmafushi Kandu”. Soft corals grow in abundance on the reef outcrops and under the overhangs due to the strong currents coming through the channel. HP Reef has an unusual reef formation in terms of reef outcrops, caves and crevices. Schools of Trevally, Snappers and Dog-toothed Tuna and Eagle Rays can be seen regularly.
Kuda Rah Thila – South Ari Atoll
This is one of the best dive sites in South Ari Atoll. This is also a Protected Marine Area. The coral life is amazing at this site. Seafans can be seen on the northern side of the “Thila”. There is a swim through between the main reef and the separate pinnacle a few feet away. You can see White-tip Reef Sharks, Barracudas, Trevallys, Snappers and Dog-toothed Tunas all throughout the dive depending on the current. Sometimes the currents are really strong here.
This “Thila” is in the middle of “Biyaadhoo Kandu”, between the islands of Cocoa Resort and Kandooma Resort. The top of the reef is full of hard corals. The sides of the “Thila” are covered with different coloured soft corals. The currents are strong here and there is a huge variety of pelagic fish to see. Grey Reef Sharks can be seen regularly depending on the currents.
Hanifaru – Baa Atoll
This is the best place to see Whale Sharks and Mantas together! It’s a small bay on the reef of the Hanifaru Island. The plankton bloom inside the bay from July till November attracts the gentle giants for feeding. Sometimes there are six to eight Whale Sharks together with hundreds of Manta Rays.
“Rakeedhoo Kandu” is the channel on the east side of Rakeedhoo Island and one of most famous channel dives in this atoll. This dive site has a lot of caves, good coral life and massive Seafans. Hammerhead sharks can be seen when you dive early in the morning and Grey Reef Sharks are seen regularly. Napoleon Wrasses, Turtles and schools of Trevallys and other pelagics can be seen here.
Fotteyo – Vaavu Atoll
Fotteyo is regarded as one of the best dive sites of the Maldives by a lot of divers. There are large caves with swim throughs. The caves are covered with thick, long soft corals of different colours. This dive site is a favourite for photographers because of the colourful soft corals. You will see schools of Barracudas, Tuna, Eagle Rays, Trevallys and Grey Reef Sharks. Sting Rays and White-tip Reef Sharks can been seen on the sandy area of the channel. Hammerheads have been seen on early morning dives.
Maalhos Thila also known as Blue Caves is in the channel on the northern side of the island of Maalhos. The caves are covered in various colours of soft corals. The top of the reef has a healthy growth of hard corals. Sting rays can be seen swimming close by the reef and sometimes resting inside the caves. Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles are seen regularly.
Nassimo Thila – North Malé Atoll
This “Thila” is considered to be one of the best “Thilas” of North Malé Atoll. This “Thila” has a number of pinnacles strewn randomly a few feet away from the main reef. The full strength of the currents hit these pinnacles and soft corals are plentiful. Midnight Snappers, Dog-toothed Tunas, Barracudas and White-tip Reef Sharks are seen here. The ceilings of the long overhangs and caves on the main reef are covered with blue and yellow soft corals. Inside the other overhangs are Seafans. The top is reef is covered with hard corals. Schools of Snappers, Oriental Sweetlips, and Eagle Rays can be seen.
This dive site can be dived in one dive depending on the currents. The diversity of marine life here is amazing. You can see dozens of White-tip Sharks, Snappers, Sting Rays, Eagle Rays, Grey Reef Sharks and many other pelagics. This reef has a lot of caves and overhangs. And the reef has scenic soft corals and gorgonians. There are also some coral pinnacles away from the main reef. On the reef top you can see schools of fusiliers and Hawksbill Turtles. A night dive here is a thrilling one. You can see hunting White-tip Reef Sharks, Giant Moray Eels, Sting Rays and Giant Barracudas up close. Maaya Thila is a Protected Marine Area.
Embudhoo Express – South Malé Atoll
Embudhoo Express lies in Embudhoo Channel and is a Marine Protected Area. This site is best dived with an ingoing current. The currents here are considered to be really strong and the site is known to be one of the best drift dive spots. The southern corner of the channel is where the Grey Reef is seen and there are many small caves a few long overhangs. Schools of Eagle Rays, Sting Rays, Dog-tooth Tuna, Trevallys and Barracudas are seen here as well. In the middle of the channel is a small “Thila” with impressive show of hard and soft corals, which covers the reef.
About the Author: Shafraz Naeem is a professional Maldivian Dive Instructor. Shaff has extensive knowledge of the various dive spots in Maldives. We at Maldives Promotion House are fond of his work to promote Maldives. Good luck Shaff and Thank you for you support.