Diving with Hammerhead shark must be one of the most common dreams of the avid divers. When its said diving in Maldives it reflects on Pelagic fish. As Maldives is famous for its Manta cleaning stations and Whale shark dive sites, Maldives is also a destination to fulfill the dream of seeing Hammerhead sharks.
The idle season for Hammerhead shark to appear from the deep blue happens when The monsoon weather ends up and start Easterly wind n Easterly ocean currents around late November. The change of season occurs by wind blowing from North East.
This tend to bring lot of nutrients from the global ocean. As a series of event, each result on many changes.
As the ocean current bring Hereby fish life n pelagic gets healthier, recounting schools of fishes. There comes 9 deferent weather changing days season while Easterly blowing. Nevertheless mainly wind blows from North East , East, n South East. Wind gets steady by mid December with moderate to strong blowing. The ocean currents changes accordingly with the wind. A steady Easterly blowing and ocean currents keep bringing enrich nutrient to fish life n corals till end of March.
The water temperature gets warm then monsoon period, which keeps water around 27 degrees centigrade unless by a thermocline, which can drop to 24 or less temp. On Monsoon temp varies 24,25,26,27.. Still it's good enough n convenient to dive 3 to 4 mm wet suit.
With the following change of season, the hammerheads are spotted across many different dive sites in Maldives.
The highlights dive sites to encounter HammerHead sharks in Maldives are;
A) Rasdoo Madivaru channel. At Ari Atoll
B) Fotheyo. Cherry Caves channel. (North east of Fellidhe Atoll. Vaavu)
C) Diyamigili Channel ( Thaa Atoll)
D) Maareha Channel (Gaaf Alif. Suwaadiva )
E) Guraado Channel ( South Male Atoll)
D) Miyaru Kandu. ( Vaavu Atoll)
A)Rasdoo Madivaru Corner
As some called. It's ridge form adjacent to a main reef sloping down towards the channel. The ridge reef top goes 12,14,18,16,22 n 30 35 meters towards the channel entrance. Inner part of the ridge forms a sandy bottom lagoon of 24 meters with pinnacles around. The outer part of the ridge forms a reef drop off down to 70 to 80 meters right down to the deep see. The entire reef is very healthy on coral life, from hard coral to back into soft coral to acropora coral. Reef anemones are packed on the reef. A dive site where photographer can be kept busy with sharks moving around.
To encounter hammerhead shark divers should enter to the water morning sun rise time. According to the dive masters instructions divers hang in free water on a depth of 20 to 30 meters. Depending on strength and direction of the current one could encounter hammer head shark on deeper or Shallow depth. If it's moderate to strong current, it moves above divers when divers on 20 mtrs depth. It have chance of appearing in school or less in numbers.
Apart from hammer head shark Rasdoo Channel is enriched with fish life, shooting snappers. Barracudas dogtooth tunas n grey reef sharks as well white tip. One of the top 15 dive sites of Maldives.
B) Fotheyo channel
An atoll tributary atoll pass. On both side shallow barren reef. Forming the pass on 12 to 14 n 20 meters. Inner part of the pass stretch to a flat pinnacle. Both sides of pinnacle is sandy bottom with patch corals. The pass front facing to the deep see is a drop off wall down to depth of 60 meters’ n then get sloppy to the ocean bed. The drop off walls contain multi level of overhangs n huge caves n run through. Western corner off the pass is jut out forming caves by caves down to 45 meters. All caves covered with hanging Florence beautiful delicate soft corals. A rear dive site which is full of different species of coral formation which can develop a corals n as well a fish book.
Fish life is so rich that cover covers 75 % species of fish life. From parrot fish to barracudas down at sandy bottom nesting Titan trigger fish. Schooling snappers on the reef tops. Front of the pass dowelling tunas, schooling jacks, show offing white tip n gray reef sharks moves up n down. The magnificent Napoleons wrasses curiously moving at the site.
Watching for hammer head shark, divers enter water at sun rise time. Dive to blue and hang at a depth of 20 or less meters. Generally, here at Fotheyo hammer head sharks move on shallow depth close to the surface. It moves in small packs of around 3. Without a doubt one of the remarkable and outstanding dive site of Maldives.
C) Diyamigili channel. Thaa Atoll
An atoll tributary pass. A wide pass deeper on depth facing East side of the atoll. The pass ledge comes on a plateau from 25 to 30 meters. From the ledge a drop off starts down to 65 meters n get sloppy to the ocean bed. Generally, the reef is not very rich in coral life as its formed on a deeper depth. The reef is mainly formed with hard corals. Schooling fishes trevally jacks, barracudas, snappers, patrolling tunas n schooling eagle rays n dwelling grey reef sharks are encounter. As a principal sun rise dive could encounter hammer head shark on a deeper depth below 30 meters. But still it has recorded of encounter after daybreak dive times, As this pass is located in between a major atoll. For this archeological built of the atoll the bottom water of the atoll beds sustained cold for longer hours. As this could be the reason hammer head sharks are encountered still after day break. The sharks are natured to dwell on specific coolness on water temperature. Silver tip sharks have been recorded often on at Diyamigili Kandu. The traditional Maldivian fishermen terms for pass.
D) Maareha Kandu. Pass. Gaaf Alif.
Gaaf Alif atoll is situated down south of Maldives few degrees north of Equator 0 degree. The hugest atoll in the Maldives which meant to be the best fishing grounds around the atolls. The atoll is formed with multiple tributary reef passes n consist of a chain of inhabited n uninhabited island which makes a big % of Maldivian population.
Among the reef passes, especially on the east coast of the atoll are nominated to be enriched with fish life. An exclusive dive destination of Maldives for shark n schooling tuna’s n schooling jack fishes. A well know spots to encounter whale sharks n turtles. Kuhdoo Kandu, Villigili Kandu, Maamendoo Kandu are popular dive passes of the east coast of Gaaf Alif Atoll.
Out of these passes The Maareha Kandu(pass) which is situated in the Middle East of the atoll breaks all the challenges of the dive location. Maareha is formed of a narrow pass on shallow top reef on either side. Mid ledge of the reef form with 20 to 25 meters on depth n submerge sloppy form down to the deep sea to a depth of 60 to 70 meters. The coral growth of the rest is on healthy form specially on the side wall shallow on depth 20-30 meters. Gaaf Alif is reported to be very healthy beautiful coral reefs of the Maldives. Maareha pass became so outstanding for cool main ocean currents flow over its narrow pass lane on moderate to strong on current speed. The narrow pass is about 40 meters on length which is very suitable for divers to cross the pass at a depth of 20 to 25 meters by 25 mnts time. The fish life brings explosively while moving in the moderate current in free water. Apart from the schooling snappers, schooling jacks, schooling rainbow runners are threatened by patrolling n hunting dogtooth tunas. Biggest outstanding highlight of Maareha is frequent seen of Silky Sharks, Grey Reef, Silver Tips are comely seen on every dive. The thrilling moments break when it appears the schooling Hammered Head sharks appears from the deep ocean 20-50, divers have encountered on a depth of 30 mts. This magnificent show happens at Maareha Kandy(pass) Gaaf Alif.
E) Guraado Corner or Kandu ( South Male Atoll)
Guraado Corner is situated on the Mid East coast of South Male Atoll. One of the most popular n outstanding dive site for the live aboard divers as well for the resort divers at south Male. The dive site forms as a wide reef pass Shallow top reef on either side, stretching way inside the atoll. The reef is not very well known for its coral growth but still finds very much of appropriate hard n coral patches when you spend time to decompress on late part of the dive. The reef south corner goose slope from 12 meters down to 25 meters the channel ledge forms on two different depth of 30 n 40 meters. A drop off reef wall goes down to 60 mtrs. Diver need to leave the corner n moves to mid channel n hang on the reef at 25 n 30 meters. The specialty comes with patrolling Grey reef sharks, white tip sharks n black tips move at the ledge. Huge dogtooth tunas hunting in the free water while schooling Eagle Rays hang above in the pass front. Huge Napoleon Wrasses move detecting among the reef. Hammer head sharks are encounter on sun rise dive. The wide pass is generally with moderate to strong current to encounter enormous clouds of fish life. Guraado corner had been reportedly noted one of the highest scored fish life dive site of top 10 in the Maldives.
F) Miyaru Kandu ( Vaavu Atoll)
The second atoll from south Male. Situated in the Middle East coast lying north of Alimatha resort. Formed a narrow pass locating a top reef on either side. The channel ledge is formed with 30 mtrs on depth with hard bottom ground. As its a narrow passage the ocean currents fishes rapidly into the atoll. The cool rapid current makes to gather fish life in schools. Travelly jacks, snappers, speeding schools of rainbow runner are constantly seen. Patrolling grey reef sharks are the biggest highlight of Miyaru Kandu. As the traditional fishermen terms for shark is Miyaru the name has driven by this specific reason of abandon level of shark at the site. The frequent show of Schooling Eagle Rays makes thrilling moments. Also sting rays moved over the pass for a good clean up on the streaming ocean currents. There have been recorded by divers Hammer Head Sharks encounter on occasional dives.
Manik was incredibly helpful to me throughout the trip (Susan) + was attentive to everyone needs. tried to make the trip (and succeeded) a very special one. My favourtite dive Master ever. You are lucky to have him!