Diving the Maldivian Waters with Atoll Explorer

Maldives Promotion House – Specifically designed for Maldives live aboard diving cruises, Atoll Explorer is the first ship to offer first class cruising in the Maldives. First introduced in 1996, the atmosphere on board is that of an exclusive, well-run, floating family hotel. Expect no pretension but only dedication to seeing that guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves.

Atoll Explorer (www.atollexplorer.com) welcomes new initiatives that will improve the experience of Scuba Divers wishing to explore the Maldives. Additional dive sites have been located and made available for dive enthusiasts. This allows up to 15 dives in a week including up to two night dives.

Atoll Explorer offers two cruise itineraries to choose from. Dive sites are located in either the North or South Ari Atolls depending on which itinerary you choose. The first itinerary features shallower style reef dives with generally more relaxed currents, while the second itinerary offers more chances in witnessing whale sharks and manta rays which is simply an amazing experience for divers wishing to see the best of the Maldives.

As a scuba diving destination, Maldives is one of the top dive destinations in the world offering warm waters year round, unparalleled biodiversity and a seascape that is world renowned.

Atoll Explorer completes 7-day cruises throughout the Maldives, catering for divers, snorkelers and holiday makers alike. It is the only liveaboard vessel offering Nitrox facilities and is operated by Euro Divers. Recently, Atoll Explorer reduced the price of its diving packages and courses and removed all additional Dhoni charges to make diving in the Maldives a better value experience.

The two specific dive seasons in the Maldives are the Northeast (November- May) or Southwest (June – September) Monsoons. A factor of the Northeast monsoon is that the currents tend to be a little slower and the water temperature is 2-3 degrees lower than in the Southwest monsoon.

Hence, this will mean water temperatures of around 24-26 degrees rather than the normal 28 degrees Celsius. The diving in the Northeast monsoon depends on which side of the Atoll you dive. On the western side, there are regular encounters with schools of tuna, jacks and other pelagics generally in quite big schools. Also hammerheads and grey reef sharks tend to congregate in shallow water.

If we are on the East side of the atoll, there is generally more plankton in the water and the visibility can be quite a bit lower till about 10-15 meters. However, this does increase your chances of seeing manta rays and whale sharks.

In the Southwest monsoon or the Maldivian dry season, currents can be particularly strong especially around the full moon in January but start to relax in February. March to May generally has good visibility and low currents, which makes for a relaxing diving experience. The key factors of diving in the Southwest monsoon are warmer waters and higher visibility.

With these higher currents in January and February, there is a lot of action to see in the channels as well as on the Thilas on the Eastern side of the Atoll with plenty of pelagics, sharks and other predators. There is also a plethora of marine life on the reefs. Mantas and whale sharks will only be found on the western side of the Atoll.

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