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Top 5 dive spots in the Maldives
As a hub for scuba diving and snorkelling, the Maldives cater to your every nautical need; the reefs boast over 200 coral species and 300 fish species.
One of the most famous dive spots in the Maldives, Fish Head Reef is a Marine Protected Area which has resulted in a stunningly pristine marine ecosystem. The Thila (coral hill) here sits 40m from the sea floor with caves and overhangs attached to the sides – ideal for spotting anemones and splendid corals. What makes this spot so remarkable is the sheer number of fish that can be seen here, featuring trevally, fusiliers, big snappers, jack fish and barracuda. The stars of the show however are the white tip reef sharks that frequent this area, and if you tread water (or swim) carefully it is quite easy to get a close-up view of these mesmerizing sea creatures.
Located in the North Male Atoll, Banana Reef is especially recommended for those with less diving experience and total novices. The waters here are peppered with breath-taking caves and cliffs, sensationally colourful corals and dramatic overhangs. Watch as large schools of bannerfish (in their thousands!), pufferfish and squirrelfish swim in the waters around you, or admire the fantastic selection of hard and soft corals. Because many people flock to this particular spot, the fish here are relatively tame, allowing for excellent underwater close up shots.
A Marine Protected Area, otherwise known as ‘fish soup’, on account of its amazingly rich and diverse marine ecosystem. The site is a short 30 minute seaplane ride from Male and is one of the most popular dive sites within the Ari Atoll area, offering sights of incredible reef sharks, batfish and triggerfish. This excellent dive spot features an 80 meter thila (large coral structure) as well as stunning whip corals and black corals. Also on offer are mesmerizing underwater caves, overhangs, outcrops and a wealth of vibrant corals and sponges. This dive is recommended only for experienced divers, particularly if there is a fast flowing current.
This spectacular dive site is one of the world’s most famous, and definitely one of the most popular in the Maldives. The visibility here is excellent (up to 40m) – all the better to see the stunning variety of sea creatures. On the list are rare whale sharks, turtles, stonefish, octopus, manta rays and the Giant Napoleon Wrasse. However after hours is when the waters really come to life, with Maaya Thila widely considered as one of the world’s best night diving spots. The glow from your dive light will awaken and reveal the stunning colors of the fish and coral around you – a truly magical experience.
Maldives Victory Wreck
For those who are interested in a little more exploration, the Maldives Victory Wreck is the one of most popular commercial dives in the Maldives area. In 1981 a 35,000 tonne freighter collided with the Island Hulule, and now lies on the sandy floor 35m below the surface. The ship acts as an excellent reef and attracts a variety of colourful and tropical marine life, such as magnificent turtles, tuna and groupers. Because the currents can be quite strong here, only more advanced divers are recommended to attempt this dive.