Diving in the Maldives

Diving in the Maldives

The divesites in Maldives are broadly divided in: Thilas, a mountain underwater; Kandus, a corridor or passage in the atoll; and the reefs inside the lagoons. The Kandus and the Thilas are commonly affected by strong currents, while the reefs inside the lagoons are protected areas.


The currents in the Maldives are famous and infamous for its strength. An obvious solution to avoiding the currents would be to dive during change of tides. But it is even possible that during change of tides the currents are stronger than during the previous low or high tide currents. Because of a complex interplay of the prevailing monsoon winds, ocean currents and the tidal currents, currents can vary strongly in time and place.

The ocean currents come from the same direction as the currently prevailing monsoon winds, from the southwest in the period from mid-May through mid-November and from the northeast during mid-November to mid-May. In addition, there is the influence of the tides: during full and new moon, a large tidal difference takes place, which means stronger currents. In between full and new moon the currents are less fierce. The result of these ocean currents and tidal currents determine the prevailing currents. They can work against each other to prevent any flow while almost 6 hours later (when the tide turns) they can work together which results in very strong currents (flow rates of 4 knots are measured).

During the southwest monsoon most plankton will gather on the east side of the atolls (where all the organic material flushes out of the atolls ) and you will see beautiful clear ocean water on the west side of the atolls. During the northeast monsoon this will be the other way around. The location of the large filter feeders (mantas and whale sharks) is mainly determined by the location of plankton.

Because the currents can be strong a surface marker buoy is required by all dive centers in Maldives. This is a surface buoy a diver can send to the surface during his or her safety stop so the crew of the dhoni (the local diving boats) can see where the divers are located so they can pick them up. Gloves are (in contrast to many other locations) strongly recommended. These are used to hold on to rocks (not coral!) when experiencing strong currents. A dive computer is manditory, it's widely agreed to dive up to 30m, and maximum divetime is 1 hour for safety (strong currents) and dive planning.

Diving packages in Maldives

DIVE LOCAL NORTH MALE ATOLL 4 NIGHTS + 6 DIVES

Hulhumale North Male Atoll4 Nights accommodation based on double/twin shareGuesthouse Standard RoomHBReturn taxi transferAll Local taxes6 Dives including Boat charges, dive guide, tank and weights, excluding equipment rental The presence of deep, clear waters all around the atoll means excellent visibility, especially with ingoing currents. Pelagic such as barracuda, trevally and tuna and big…

NORTH MALE 2 DIVE PACKAGE

Hulhumale North Male Atoll2 Dives including Boat charges, dive guide, tank and weights, including equipment rental and all Local taxes The presence of deep, clear waters all around the atoll means excellent visibility, especially with ingoing currents. Pelagic such as barracuda, trevally and tuna and big schools of fusilier, snapper and sharks all congregate at the entrance to the channels. Most…

14d/14n - 7 places available

Safari in the manta season (west monsoon).Dives in this period are characterized by lots of mantas. Top dive site in this period: Lankan Finolhu, a manta cleaning station close to the capital Male. Whale sharks will be in the South of the Ari Atoll, sharks (blacktips, whitetips, grey reefsharks) on most divesites. Water temp between 27C and 29C.Most likely route: North Male Atoll-Ari Atoll -Vaavu…
$2,194.00 More Information

DIVE LOCAL LAAMU ATOLL 7 NIGHTS + 10 DIVES

Gan Laamu Atoll 7 Nights accommodation based on double/twin shareGuesthouse Standard RoomHB Domestic plane Transfer & onward 20 minute drive transferAll Local taxes10 Dives including Boat charges, dive guide, tank and weights, excluding equipment rentalDiving season is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. Laamu Atoll is an untouched paradise for snorkelers…
$1,935.00 More Information

DIVE LOCAL NORTH MALE ATOLL 3 NIGHTS + 4 DIVES

Hulhumale North Male Atoll3 Nights accommodation based on double/twin shareGuesthouse Standard RoomHBReturn taxi transferAll Local taxes4 Dives including Boat charges, dive guide, tank and weights, excluding equipment rental The presence of deep, clear waters all around the atoll means excellent visibility, especially with ingoing currents. Pelagic such as barracuda, trevally and tuna and big…

Travelling Information

Commonly known as the "Pearls of the Indian Ocean" the Maldives lie on the equator southwest of Sri Lanka. The archipelago stretches over 800km from north to south and over 100km from east to west. Only 200 of these islands are inhabited and nearly a half of these have been developed as exclusive resorts.

The islands of the Maldives are part of 26 natural coral atolls. The word 'atoll' is originally a Maldivian word which found its way into other languages. The atolls are underwater platforms lying on a ridge in the Indian Ocean. The edges of these platforms are higher and form a large protective ringrif with occasional openings. In the atolls islands are often surrounded by lagoons and have their own protective reefs and lagunes.

The Maldives is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the flattest country in the world. The highest point is less than 3 meters above sea level and the average of the islands is less than 2 meters above sea level.

Because the Maldives is at the equator, the climate is determined by the trade winds. From mid-November to mid May, the wind blows from the northeast and relative dry air from India is transported. From mid-May to mid-November, the wind blows from the southwest and then relative moist air is transported from the Indian Ocean. Especially the transition from dry to wet season (May), is accompanied by strong winds and tropical storms. The transition from dry to wet season is generally much more gradual and calm. Late November untill late March is high season in the Maldives with calm weather and lots of sunshine. In recent years, however, global climate change also changed the weather in the Maldives so seasons are not as clear as they used to be.

Diving in the Maldives can only be described as simply spectacular, there are hundreds of dive sites scattered throughout the islands and plenty of good house reefs, many of which are considered world class. A lot of the diving is concentrated around diving North Male Atoll and diving North Ari Atoll, however there are many places further afield for the more adventurous divers.

  • Manta Ray

    Manta Ray
  • Vila Diving Sun Island Resort & Spa

    Vila Diving Sun Island Resort & Spa
  • Napoleon's eye

    Napoleon's eye
  • Nilandhe Atoll

    Nilandhe Atoll
  • Triggerfish

    Triggerfish
  • Maldivian inhabited island

    Maldivian inhabited island
  • Open Water Course with Chris(Ger) and Yuri(Rus)

    Open Water Course with Chris(Ger) and Yuri(Rus)
  • Longnose Hawkfish

    Longnose Hawkfish
  • Rasdhoo Atoll

    Rasdhoo Atoll
  • Baa Atoll diving

    Baa Atoll diving
  • Manta ballet

    Manta ballet
  • Leopard

    Leopard
  • Manta Rays

    Manta Rays
  • Nilandhe Atoll

    Nilandhe Atoll
  • Hermit Crab

    Hermit Crab
  • Baa Atoll

    Baa Atoll
  • Baa Atoll diving

    Baa Atoll diving
  • Eagle Rays at Baa Atoll

    Eagle Rays at Baa Atoll
  • Grey reefshark

    Grey reefshark