The Maldives is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean that stretches across the equator from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south. The island country has 26 paradisiacal atolls that promise dreamy white sand beaches, while its nutrient-rich waters are home to about three percent of the planet’s coral reefs.
Join us as we bring you through different dive destinations around Maldives and be fascinated by the marine life and diving experiences that the dive spots have to offer!
Noonu Atoll offers a variety of diving ventures suitable for different levels of experience, including some exciting drift dives and unique shark encounters. Christmas Rock, a submerged island with a top at 15 metres, is home to whitetip reef sharks and stingrays, while the occasional nurse shark can be spotted snoozing in the cracks of the reefs.
The more-advanced Orimas Thila drops to 30 metres and divers can witness large groups of grey reef sharks, as well as leopard and guitar sharks, and rays. Other unique sightings include red-toothed triggerfish, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, barracuda, jacks, morays, schooling blue-striped snapper and turtles. Around the substantial table corals, you can also find oriental sweetlips and pufferfish. Iridescent mantis shrimps shyly emerge from holes, and nudibranchs spatter the reefs with vibrant colours.
How to get there: From Velana International Airport, you have the option of hopping on a plane to Hanimaadhoo before taking a ferry to Manadhoo, the capital of Noonu Atoll. You can also fly directly to your resort via seaplane. Either way, resorts can organise everything for you.
Diving in Addu Atoll is superb and diverse. With incredible visibility, and dive sites with weaker currents that are appropriate for beginner divers, Addu is an ideal dive destination for any diver. A whole range of memorable dive experiences are on offer, from stumbling into 20 grey reef sharks at Shark Point to getting up close and personal with rays, turtles, jacks, trevallies and and barracuda at the far-flung Gan Inside.
For the more advanced divers, Addu Atoll offers the opportunity to explore the largest wreck in the Maldives — the British Loyalty oil tanker. At 134 metres long and weighing almost 6,000 tonnes, the wreck lies between 15 and 35 metres and offers several large entries that provide the “explorer at heart” with a glimpse of the vessel’s World War II history while enjoying the breathtaking diversity of marine species that surround the table corals, soft corals and gorgonian fans.
How to get there: From Malé Velana International Airport, take a domestic flight to Gan International Airport on Addu Atoll’s Gan Island. There are regular flights from Malé as well as direct flights from Colombo airport in Sri Lanka.
Both Noonu Atoll and Addu Atoll have so much to offer for all divers! With a wide diversity of marine life and scenic beaches at these atolls, your diving experience at the Maldives is certainly going to be a fun-filled and satisfying one! If you are interested in embarking on a dive expedition in the Maldives, be sure to consider joining ADEX Maldives Retreat taking place on 18-23 October 2022! For more information, visit www.adex.asia/adex-back2blue-maldives-retreat/. To read up more about Maldives as a dive destination, do head over to shop.asiangeo.com/product/asian-diver-issue-04-2021-no-159/ to get a copy of Asian Diver No.159!