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!
Raa Atoll is situated on the northwestern edge of the Maldives. For those looking for a sense of remote, pristine tranquility, the Raa Atoll delivers as it opened up to tourism only in the late 1990s. Home to pristine beaches, authentic Maldivian culture, and exceptional diving, the sandy bays blend effortlessly into turquoise lagoons, where manta rays, dolphins, sharks, and more, thrive among the stunning reefs. Raa Atoll is suitable for divers of all levels too!
One of the most popular sites here is the Labyrinth, an enchanting pinnacle at a depth between 12 and 35 metres that offers large gorgonians and vibrant soft corals smothering canyons, tunnels, and swim-throughs. Batfish, grey and whitetip reef sharks, moray eels and groupers are common sights.
And of course, don’t miss Vaadhoo Island, one of the best places to witness the spectacular “sea of stars” phenomenon, where bioluminescent plankton glow a brilliant blue under the moonlight.
How to get there: From Malé Velana International Airport, take a domestic flight to Raa Atoll’s airport on Ifuru, or opt to take a seaplane. It takes around 40 minutes to an hour, and resorts will be happy to organise your transfer for you.
Renowned as the spot for the world’s largest congregation of manta rays, at the legendary Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll supports some of the Maldives’ most diverse and unique marine life. Declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2011, Baa Atoll is the place to witness jaw-dropping encounters with manta rays and whale sharks. Manta lovers on snorkel may be treated to dozens and sometimes hundreds of manta rays as they swoop and roll through plankton blooms for two to three hours, like graceful synchronised dancers, during high tide between May and November. If you are lucky, whale sharks might even join in the action! Baa Atoll is also suitable for divers of all levels!
At Baa Atoll, the protected marine sanctuary of Dhigala Haa has become a firm favourite for spotting grey reef sharks, and there are several small caves and overhangs that provide shelter to the schools of fish, while snapper, jacks and barracuda can usually be seen in the blue.
How to get there: From Malé Velana International Airport, take a domestic flight to the local airport at Dharavandhoo, which takes around 45 minutes, followed by a boat ride to your resort. You also have the option of getting to your resort directly via seaplane.
Both Raa Atoll and Baa 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!