When the coral polyps reach the surface of submerged volcanoes, they form a reef around the edges and create beautiful lagoons of turquoise blue water that contrast with the deep blue of the ocean. This is how the Maldives were created millions of years ago! The 1200 coral islands that are now called the Maldives form a prime location for unforgettable scuba diving vacations. The privileged interoceanic location far away from any coast has provided Maldives’ waters with a diversity, cleanliness and clarity attracting more than 1000 species of fish and invertebrates. They constantly receive nutrients from ocean currents that favor the explosion of marine life. Maldives is a natural aquarium where even sharks are friendly!
The underwater typology of the Maldives Atolls offers infinite possibilities of dives that can be grouped according to the three different geological formations of the reef:
As the oceanic currents erode the atolls’ edges they created natural channels that connect the lagoons with the ocean. If you like drift dives and underwater action; you will love those dive sites! Those channels provide some of the most extraordinary dives! The ocean feeds the lagoons with millions and millions of nutrients. This rich soup provides food for many of the small sea critters attracting the bigger pelagics such as grey reef sharks, tunas and mantas!
Example: Guraidhoo Kandu, Fotteyo Kandu, Fushi Kandu
Thila and Giri (pinnacles)
They are submerged pinnacles that can vary in size from one site to another. They are usually covered with hard and soft corals and a rich variety of reef marine life. Thilas are differentiated from Giris by the greater depth of its edges. Thilas usually have an edge submerged between 15 and 30 meters, while Giris are much more superficial, from 5 to 20 m.
The Thilas that are within a Kandu are usually the diving spots with the strongest current but also the ones that have the most interesting sea life and underwater action! Such as grey reef sharks, snappers, eagle rays, jacks, barracudas
Example: Kandooma Thila, Vaadhoo Thila
These are small formations of reefs and corals that surround the atolls. They are also great dives sites regardless of the season and the direction of the currents. Here you can also encounter a wide variety of fish and pelagics, such as sharks, turtles, all kind of rays, and red tooth triggerfish.
Example: Miyaru Faru
Those manta cleaning stations are not official reef formations, however we thought to mention them here as they are a great point of interest in the Maldives! They provide another great opportunity to dive with mantas. Usually found in Farus or Kandus, the manta rays visits those small rock or coral formations to let cleaner wrasses consume the algae and parasites that have gathered on their bodies and within their gills. There are many sites where you can book a front row seat and you can kick back on the sandy bottom and just relax as you watch these mantas rays being cleaned. Diving from a liveaboard will give you the advantage of avoiding the crowds while you observe these majestic creatures.
Example: Lankan Manta Point
Discover all different Maldives dive sites with our newest yacht: the Maldives Master. Previously plying the oceans as the M/Y blue Voyager, she has been operating in the Maldives since November 2015 with a range of itineraries from 7 nights to an incredible 22 nights. Contact us to book your space!