The Maldives is a popular year-round liveaboard destination offering clear blue water, white sand beaches, and great visibility–a scuba diver’s paradise! Divers can see good coral reefs, whale sharks, manta rays, and other big pelagics.
Diving in the Maldives
Maldives is a remarkable paradise right here on Earth, located in the Indian Ocean. It comprises of 1,190 islands, beautifully spread around more than 20 atolls. This mesmerizing island is absolutely teeming with rich biodiversity, beautiful sandy shores and surrounded by pristine waters.
The beauty and charm of the Maldives islands and the panoramic underwater sceneries has managed to steal many a heart of those who’ve had the opportunity to set foot on this little piece of paradise.
Due to its unique geography, a moderate to strong current may prevail in most of the dive sites. Therefore, diving in Maldives is not really ideal for absolute beginner divers.
Liveaboard diving is the best way to fully explore the captivating islands only found in the Maldives. It’s easier to tour the atolls and discover the best dive spots without being anchored at one particular resort. Most of the liveaboards offer guests a wide range of itineraries designed to get the most out of the popular atolls of the archipelago.
From a 7 night tour to a 14 night tour, Male Atoll to Ari atoll, Rasdhoo, Baa atoll and so many other different atolls can be covered depending on the duration of the tour.
Maldivian coral reefs are home to the richest diversity in the region and are the seventh largest on the globe, accounting for 5% of the world’s reef area. They are world famous for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts and beginners alike, offering countless opportunities to swim with a wide variety of marine life, large and small, in crystal clear waters. Diving in the Maldives is a year-round activity with water temperatures a constant 26-29°C. Sea and sky are clearest from December to May, with plankton more abundant in October and November, making the sea murkier but with bigger fish more active and more easily seen. Mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are found in the Maldives all year round. The maximum depth per dive is limited to 30m; diving with a computer and an alternative air-source is mandatory, and it is prohibited to dive alone or do decompression dives. The use of harpoons or spears is prohibited and it is forbidden to remove corals, dead or alive, or any other sea animals, including fish. In the Maldives, it is illegal to collect any coral, shells or other souvenirs from the ocean.
Please check your certification level. Open water diver is certified to dive down to only 18 meters, advanced open water diver is certified to dive down to 30 meters. Night and deep dives are available only to divers with advanced diver certification. If you wish to upgrade your level, advanced diver course is available on board.
Maldives Liveaboard routes
There are several liveaboard itineraries in the Maldives that are available all year round and there to suit every different budget.
To give divers enough time to revel in the magnificence of the Maldives, most liveaboards offer four diving itineraries ranging from 7 -14 nights. The classic route departs from Male and starts with scouring the big fish, manta rays and then heads on to explore more areas around Ari and Male atolls.
If you take the central & southern route, the itinerary takes you from Male to the atolls of Felidhe, Mulaku, Thaa and Huvadhoo. Deep channels can be found here which offer scuba divers the opportunity to observe large pelagics such as White Tip Sharks and Hammerhead Sharks.
Taking the central route will bring you to Rasdhoo, Ari, Mulaku, Thaa and Laamu atolls. Several scalloped hammerheads, grey reef and white tip sharks are spotted here. Whale sharks, manta and eagle rays are also frequently seen especially in Laamu atoll. Sometimes an occasional blue whale also surprise divers along the way if you’re really lucky!
The Southern route will let you explore the Huvadhoo Atoll in more detail. Reefs found in this atoll are teeming with colourful fish life and interesting marine creatures. Eagle rays are some of the main residents in these atolls.
Or why not head further north? The Northern route provides divers the opportunity to dive around Male, Rasdhoo, Baa, Lahviyani, Noonu and Ari atolls. You will have the chance to snorkel with manta rays at Hanifaru Bay, as well as expect to see a lot of trevallies, jacks, eagle rays and grey reef sharks. Frogfish and the Maldivian sponge snail can also be spotted here. The Baa, Raa and Noonu atolls has become a favorite among underwater photographers since these atolls present a wide array of beautiful marine creatures. Maldives, without a doubt has all the ingredients needed to satisfy even the most adventurous spirits!