Diving in Maldives – The Gateway to Marine Heaven
Scuba divers around the world peg Maldives as one of the top scuba diving holiday destinations on the planet. The island nation, officially called the Republic of Maldives, is technically the smallest Asian country in terms of land area. It consists of over 1,192 low-lying islets that form 26 atolls that collectively have a land area of only 298 km2.
What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for with its dazzling beaches and crystal clear waters. These small islands are also the gateway to an underwater paradise, home to majestic coral reefs teeming with spectacular marine life. It’s a gigantic adventure playground just waiting to be explored for beginners and experienced scuba divers alike.
What exactly makes Maldives such a sought-after diving destination? For one, Maldivian waters are home to the most exotic marine life. Here you’ll see schools of butterfly fishes, parrot fishes, sweetlips, jacks, angel fishes, and many more fish species swimming around vibrant coral formations. You’ll be floating alongside gentle giants such as manta rays and whale sharks. If you’re lucky, you may get the rare chance to witness dolphins and other whale species while on an excursion. It’s a good thing that visibility in Maldives most of the time ranges from 35 feet to over 100 feet making sure that none of these magical sights are missed!
Another reason to choose it for your scuba diving holiday is the countless dive sites accessible in the Maldives, and plenty more that are yet to be discovered. Choosing the best diving spot depends on what you’d like to see or how remote you’d like the area to be. Favorites include those found in the Ari Atoll, North Male Atoll, and Vaavu Atoll. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that one can dive almost anywhere in the Maldives and never be disappointed.
There are two types of scuba diving facilities to choose from: Island-based Diving and Liveaboard Diving.
Resort-based, island-based, shore-based, or land-based diving, however you’d like to call it; this option offers flexibility and comfort. It is ideal for those aiming for holidays centered not only on diving but also on being able to relax and spend some time on the beach. You get to experience being out at sea and all the wonderful sights it has to offer, then come back at the end of the day to a room of your own.
On shore, there are far more dining options. You also get more opportunities to explore the island, go shopping, and meet new people. Moving stuff around in your itinerary is easier, as is finding internet access to connect with the outside world and upload your photos. It’s a win-win situation wherein you can combine scuba diving with other types of holiday fun!
One of the biggest advantages of liveaboard diving holidays is efficiency. Because it involves committing a specific duration (from a few days to a couple of weeks) on a liveaboard boat, it significantly cuts down the extra time you would normally have to spend unpacking gears, arranging them on the boat, travelling to the site and back, then doing it all over again the next day. Liveaboard diving means you only have to do all of that once but get to scuba dive several times a day. Another advantage is being able to reach more remote and less crowded diving sites.
When you’re not underwater, you will most likely get to spend a lot of time getting acquainted with everyone else on the trip. Hit the jackpot and you’ll find yourself in the presence of interesting people that collectively give off a very chill vibe, which is a unique experience altogether.
Some would say liveaboard diving is cheaper or more expensive than island-based diving, depending on who you ask. It all depends on the package and operator you choose, so choose wisely!
There is no 'best season' for holiday-goers to target - any time is a great time to go to Maldives as diving is possible year-round! Technically speaking, Maldives has two seasons: dry season and wet season. The difference in temperature is very minor.
Rates tend to be less expensive from May to November. While visibility is slightly reduced by the copiousness of plankton in the water, it is for that very reason you’re bound to witness a greater number of plankton feeders such as whale sharks and manta rays. June onwards is characterized by cloudier skies, stronger winds, fairly rougher seas, and a little bit of rain, but diving conditions are still considered to be quite decent for shore-based diving.
December through April brings about bluer skies, and calmer seas. The water temperature is quite consistent during these months at an average of 28 °C. The currents not only allow for outstanding visibility, it also keeps the reef well-fed for a thriving marine life. This is the high season though, so it is highly advisable to book early to get the best rates.
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!