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SPECIAL OFFERS

MV EMPEROR ATOLL

Built to high, comfortable standards Emperor Atoll measures 26 metres and accommodates 12 guests in 6 twin/double ensuite cabins. Each cabin has a full-size double bed with a single bed above, air-con, washbasin and fan. Guests relax in the air-conditioned saloon with comfortable seating areas, TV and DVD/music system. WiFi is available when the signal range permits. There are plenty of charging points around the boat particularly in the saloon. There is an open air dining area and the saloon can double as a dining area in inclement weather. Sun lovers can enjoy the partially shaded sundeck with sun loungers. The accompanying dive dhoni is where the scuba equipment is stored, post-dive showers can be taken and tanks are filled, keeping the noise down on the mothership. MV Emperor Atoll is rebreather-friendly and provides nitrox free of charge

 SPECIFICATIONS

SAMPLE ITINERARY

SCHEDULES 2015

SCHEDULES 2016

DIVE SITES

MV EMPEROR ATOLL SPECIFICATIONS

Deck plan of The Emperor Atoll Liveaboard showing lower deck compartments

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Type: Wooden hull - Year built: 1988 (Refit every 2 years), Dry dock: 2014

Length: 26m - Beam: 7m

Engine: 210 HP Yanmar - Generators: Yes

Desalination: Yes

Navigation and Communication: GPS, Fish finder, Echo sounder, VHF/CB radio

DIVING FACILITIES

Compressor/Tanks: 2 x Bauer K14 (640lt per minute @ 230 bar) / 12 lt aluminum

Nitrox diving: Yes

Rebreather friendly: Yes

Dive equipment rental: Full Dive sets available for hire + reef hooks, dive flags, dive computers

Safety: Oxygen/Medic First Aid Kit

Water Access: 15m Dive Support Vessel ("Dhoni") until August 2015. From August 2015 a dive deck and 6m RIB/Zodiac will be used

SAFETY

Lifejackets

throw rings

grab ropes

oxygen

first aid kit

safety flags for all divers

VHF

 mobile phone

CB radio

ACCOMMODATION

Lower deck: 6 x twin/double ensuite cabins, each with double bed plus single bunk

ENTERTAINMENT

Salon/dining area: Yes

Sun decks: with sun loungers/bed mats

Entertainment: TV surround sound/Video/DVD

Sun decks: with sun loungers/bed mats

Entertainment: TV surround sound/Video/DVD

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MV EMPEROR ATOLL ITINERARY

This is the best of the maldives and it delivers exactly that. this is where you dive the best and most famous dive sites of the maldives in a week of wonderful liveaboard diving across male and ari atolls.

Enjoy a dive holiday that gives you all you could wish for from the iconic sites of North Male, South Male and Ari Atoll. Awaiting you are channels, drifts and pinnacles where you have every chance of meeting mantas, whale sharks and mesmerising marine life of so many varieties. We don't follow an exact itinerary; flexibility is the word so that no matter what time of the year you visit, this underwater world is yours (and ours) for the exploring.

This itinerary gives you a marine mix of big fish such as shark and manta dives as well as reef dives, reef fish, morays and the abundant macro life. Get up close at the cleaning stations without disturbing the locals! One of the best known dive sites is Maaya Thila; this pinnacle is approximately 30m in diameter and falls away to reveal sharks and fish a plenty.

A night dive from sheltered moorings here is a must! And the boat will also aim to find whale sharks so you can get in the water and snorkel with them...as long as they stay around long enough!

 

•Rasdhoo Atoll: Hammerhead Dive, Beautiful Reef with Pelagics

•North Ari Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations

•South Ari Atoll: Whalesharks, Beautiful Pinnacles

•South Male Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Beautiful Macro Wreck

•Vaavu Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving

•North Male Atoll: Beautiful Pinnacles

 

Sharktastic - visiting 4 Atolls (10 January - 10 April 2015)

In this period the clean ocean water flows in from the eastern side of the Maldives. That means currents running from Sumatra, Indonesia to the Maldives bring with them not just fantastic visibility up to 40m but also a variety of pelagic surprises coming to the reef for a quick feed.

The Channel dives of the eastern coast of the Maldives are the main order of the day. These Kandus, as they are known in the local language (Dhivehi), attract grey reef sharks, dog tooth tuna and eagle rays as standard but look out into the blue and you never know what surprises await. The outer walls and corners of the channels in Vaavu and Meemu have the added bonus of beautiful overhangs draping in the blues, yellows and pinks of the majestic soft coral.

After the adrenaline pumping channel dives of eastern Maldives we cross over to South Ari Atoll to look for the whalesharks and mantas at Maamagili and Rangali Madivaru (Dhivehi for Manta Place) among other great sites such as Kudarah Thila and Kudimaa Wreck known for its potential leaf fish and frog fish.

 

•South Ari Atoll: Whalesharks, Beautiful Pinnacles

•South Male Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Beautiful Macro Wreck

•Vaavu Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving

•Meemu Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Traditional Maldivian Channel Diving

 

Pelagic Magic (11 April - 03 July 2015)

On this route we take you on a manta and whaleshark hunt in the North & South Ari Atolls having crossed over from Male. Exact dive sites will vary depending on diver experience levels, local conditions and where the best sightings have been.

Pelagic Magic gets you face to face with the famous whalesharks of Ari Atoll. As this itinerary devotes more time here, you are certain to get your whaleshark fix at Maamagili. Iconic dive follows iconic dive as you sail from Male through North Ari and then onto South Ari; your log book will fill with shark and manta sightings as well as outstanding reef dives. Then grab your snorkel and splash in to float only feet away from graceful whalesharks. Pelagics of all shapes and sizes await.

With around 17 dives, as well as opportunities to snorkel with the whalesharks, this is an action packed week. The pelagic sightings start right from the beginning. Manta Point (otherwise known as Lankan Finolhu) is a cleaning station with reliable manta sightings. Just settle down and watch the manta swoop in. Hafsa Thila and Maya Thila are yet more iconic dive site where sharks are plentiful. Look out for baby white tips under the large table corals. But it is at night that Maya Thila really comes alive. Reef sharks and marble morays hunt dinner out as morays slink between the coral blocks.

As you reach South Ari keep a look out for the whalesharks. Maamagili is the place to find whalesharks at this time as they follow the seasonal currents. Manta chase plankton trails too into the nearby lagoons. Between your pelagic encounters, the reef dives will not disappoint. Discover the lush corals and schooling fish at the likes of Reethi Thila and Kuda Rah.

This is a great itinerary for everyone. No matter what your experience level this is a Maldives itinerary you can enjoy. There can be some drift diving so some experience of diving in currents in advisable. Don't forget to take your reef hook to make shark watching all the easier. As so many of the best whaleshark encounters are snorkelling, everyone can feel the thrill of seeing these graceful creatures in their natural environment. Pelagic Magic runs when the pelagics sightings are at their optimum in North and South Ari. Don't delay - discover the biggest inhabitants of the Maldives for yourself.

 

•North Ari Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations

•South Ari Atoll: Whalesharks, Beautiful Pinnacles

 

Manta, Whaleshark & Wrecks - North (outward trip)

 

These special itineraries have been chosen to run when the manta are most prolific between August and October.Boarding your liveaboard in Male, you head north to begin your safari ending in Baa Atoll (Hanifaru Bay) where you catch a flight back to Male.Your journey begins with wreck diving at Gaafaru Atoll, continuing on to the northern atolls of Lhaviyani and Noonu with an abundance of grey reef sharks, exciting channel diving, beautiful coral formations and pinnacles brimming with life.

Baa Atoll is home to Hanifaru Lagoon where you can snorkel with the manta and whalesharks that come to feed on the plankton in this shallow lagoon. Of course, sightings can't be guaranteed but joining us at this time of year means your chances are really high! Baa Atoll is also home to many pinnacles, overhangs and alternative manta sites.

You can combine this itinerary with  Manta, Whaleshark & Reefs - South trip, which is the return trip but calling at different sites, making an exciting two week safari covering eight atolls. Contact us for details and prices.

 

Please note: This itinerary is at the Cruise Director's discretion based on the weather and current conditions to ensure you get the most possible interactions with manta and whaleshark.

•Gaafaru Atoll: Wrecks

•Lhaviyani Atoll: Grey reef sharks, Pelagics, Channels and Coral reefs

•Noonu Atoll: Grey reef sharks, Pinnacles and great dive sites

•Baa Atoll: Hanifaru Bay and other great dive sites

 

 Manta, Whaleshark & Reefs - South (return trip)

Flying from Male to the northern atoll of Baa (Hanifaru Bay) we head south to Ari Atoll, returning to Male.

Baa Atoll is home to Hanifaru Lagoon where you can snorkel with the manta and whalesharks that come to feed on the plankton in this shallow lagoon. Of course, sightings can't be guaranteed but joining us at this time of year means your chances are really high! Baa Atoll is also home to many pinnacles, overhangs and alternative manta sites.

Rasdhoo and Maya Thila promise some memorable diving with hammerheads, grey reefs and white tip sharks. And be sure to do the night dive on this trip!

You can combine this itinerary with our Manta, Whaleshark & Wrecks - North, which is the outward trip but calling at different sites, making an exciting two week safari covering eight atolls. Contact us for details and prices.

 

Please note: This itinerary is at the Cruise Director's discretion based on the weather and current conditions to ensure you get the most possible interactions with manta and whaleshark.

•Baa Atoll: Hanifaru Bay and other great dive sites

•Thodhoo Atoll: Oceanic dive

•Rasdhoo Atoll: Hammerhead Dive, Beautiful Reef with Pelagics

•North Ari Atoll: Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations

•South Ari Atoll: Whalesharks, Beautiful Pinnacles

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START DATE END DATE DEPART FROM DESTINATION/ROUTE PRICE PP
07/02/2015 14/02/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295
28/02/2015 07/03/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295
07/03/2015 14/03/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295
21/03/2015 28/03/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 999
28/03/2015 04/04/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295
04/04/2015 11/04/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295
11/04/2015 18/04/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 999
18/04/2015 25/04/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1295
25/04/2015 02/05/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 999
02/05/2015 09/05/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1190
16/05/2015 23/05/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1190
27/06/2015 04/07/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 999
04/07/2015 11/07/2015 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 999
25/07/2015 01/08/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 999
01/08/2015 08/08/2015 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1199
08/08/2015 15/08/2015 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1199
15/08/2015 22/08/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 999
22/08/2015 29/08/2015 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1199
29/08/2015 05/09/2015 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1199
05/09/2015 12/09/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 999
12/09/2015 19/09/2015 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1199
19/09/2015 26/09/2015 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1199
03/10/2015 10/10/2015 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1495
10/10/2015 17/10/2015 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1495
17/10/2015 24/10/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1295
24/10/2015 31/10/2015 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1495
31/10/2015 07/11/2015 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1495
07/11/2015 14/11/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1295
14/11/2015 21/11/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1295
21/11/2015 28/11/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1295
28/11/2015 05/12/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1295
05/12/2015 12/12/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 999
12/12/2015 19/12/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 999
19/12/2015 26/12/2015 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1385
26/12/2015 02/01/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1385
07/02/2015 14/02/2015 Male Sharktastic Euro 1295

Note: Please do not book any travel arrangements until you have received your booking confirmation from us.

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START DATE END DATE DEPARTFROM DESTINATION/ROUTE PRICE PP
02/01/2016 09/01/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1385
09/01/2016 09/01/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1385
16/01/2016 23/01/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1290
23/01/2016 30/01/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1290
30/01/2016 06/02/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1290
06/02/2016 13/02/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
13/02/2016 20/02/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
20/02/2016 27/02/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
27/02/2016 05/03/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
05/03/2016 12/03/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
12/03/2016 19/03/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
19/03/2016 26/03/2016 Male Sharktastic Euro 1465
09/04/2016 16/04/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1465
16/04/2016 23/04/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1465
23/04/2016 30/04/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1465
30/04/2016 07/05/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1465
07/05/2016 14/05/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
14/05/2016 21/05/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
21/05/2016 28/05/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
28/05/2016 04/06/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
04/06/2016 11/06/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
11/06/2016 18/06/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
18/06/2016 25/06/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
25/06/2016 02/07/2016 Male Pelagic Magic Euro 1349
06/08/2016 13/08/2016 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1549
13/08/2016 20/08/2016 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1549
20/08/2016 27/08/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
27/08/2016 03/09/2016 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1549
03/09/2016 10/09/2016 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1549
10/09/2016 17/09/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
17/09/2016 24/09/2016 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1549
24/09/2016 01/10/2016 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1549
01/10/2016 08/10/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
08/10/2016- 15/10/2016 Male Manta Whaleshark & Wrecks (North) Euro 1549
15/10/2016 22/10/2016 Daravandhoo Manta Whaleshark & Reefs (South) Euro 1549
22/10/2016 29/10/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
29/10/2016 05/11/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
05/11/2016 12/11/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
12/11/2016 19/11/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
19/11/2016 26/11/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
26/11/2016 03/12/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
03/12/2016 10/12/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
10/12/2016 17/12/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
17/12/2016 24/12/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1349
24/12/2016 31/12/2016 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1515
31/12/2016 07/01/2017 Male Best of Maldives Euro 1515

Note: Please do not book any travel arrangements until you have received your booking confirmation from us.

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MALDIVES DIVE SITES

MALDIVES DIVE SITE INFORMATION

Rasdhoo Atoll

The small atoll of Rasdhoo lies off the northeastern corner of Ari Atoll proper. The atoll's main island, also called Rasdhoo, is the administrative capital of North Ari Atoll, despite not being within the natural atoll itself. Good chance to see mantas on various dive sites throughout the year.

 

Madivaru (Hukrueli Faru) - Madivaru is home to a very colorful coral reef. The site is named for the abundance of manta rays seen here (Madi means manta ray in the Maldivian language Dhivehi) during the northeast monsoon season. Depths range from 25 feet to almost 100 feet, making the dive particularly interesting and varied. Manta rays are attracted to Madivaru because of the strong currents that form a whirlpool effect in the deeper parts of the site, where the manta rays can hover over the currents. The mantas are also attracted to the several cleaning stations located around Madivaru.

 

Hammerhead Point - Popular dive site for Maldives liveaboards. Its proximity to deep waters lends the location the best chances of getting close to these magnificent creatures. Often considered to be the highlight of many Maldives liveaboard trips.

 

 North Ari Atoll

Ari Atoll (also called Alif or Alufu Atoll) is one of natural atolls of the Maldives. It is one of the biggest atolls and is located in the west of the archipelago. The almost rectangular alignment spreads the islands over an area of about 89x30 kilometres. It has been divided in two sections for administrative purposes, Northern Ari Atoll and Southern Ari Atoll.

 

Hafsa Thila - Known for its grey reef shark cleaning station, this site is like fish soup. Pick the side with the current, drop in and swim through the fish until you see the pinnacle. If the sharks are already on top of the pinnacle then simply stay there mesmerised by the sharks in circle. Dog-tooth tuna, bonito and giant travelly shepherd the thousands of fusiliers, which creates quite a spectacle when the bonito finally decide to go for the kill and when the others follow suit you can feel the energy of thousands of fish accelerating in unison.

 

Maaya Thila - Maaya Thila is one of the most famous dive sites in the Maldives and is known as a great spot for both daytime and night-time scuba diving. The marine life depends largely on the currents, which vary greatly; when the currents are not strong, it is an easy dive site, suitable for less experienced divers, but when currents are strong Maaya Thila is recommended for only advanced divers and they will need to use a surface balloon. Maaya Thila is most famous for the white tip reef sharks that can nearly always be seen here, both during the day and night. A night dive at Maaya Thila also allows divers to encounter moray eels, turtles, octopus and stonefish.

 

Gangehi Kandu - Recommended only for advanced scuba divers, the Gangehi Kandu dive site is located in the northern part of the Ari Atoll. Currents here can also be an issue, and the site should only be dived when the currents are flowing into the site. Gangehi Kandu is known as one of the best dive sites in the Maldives for spotting sharks, including gray reef sharks, white tip reef sharks and the occasional leopard shark. Coral formations at this dive site are particularly colorful, and divers here can expect to see moray eels, nudibranch, mantis shrimp and trigger fish. Large pelagic species are also frequent visitors to the site.

 

Maalhos Thila - Maalhos Thila is only suitable for experienced scuba divers because the best part of the dive site lies deeper than 25 metres. Maalhos Thila is an attractive dive spot, featuring several coral heads about 28 metres below the surface, all of which are covered with beautiful corals. Common visitors to the reef here include oriental sweetlips, white tip reef sharks and blue-lined snappers. Because of the strong currents at Maalhos Thila, a safety balloon must be deployed here to ensure the divers' safety.

 

Mushi Mas Mingili Thila (Fish Head) - Fish Head, or Mushi Mas Mingili, is one of the most popular dive sites in Maldives. Prior to the site being declared an official Protected Marine Area by the Maldivian Government it was a common shark feeding spot among scuba divers. Marine life typically seen at Mushi Mas Mingili Thila includes gray reef sharks, white tips, napoleon wrasse, jacks and tuna.

 

 South Ari Atoll

 

Ari Atoll (also called Alif or Alufu Atoll) is one of natural atolls of the Maldives. It is one of the biggest atolls and is located in the west of the archipelago. The almost rectangular alignment spreads the islands over an area of about 89x30 kilometres. It has been divided in two sections for administrative purposes, Northern Ari Atoll and Southern Ari Atoll.

 

Maamigili Beyru - 11km of reef stretches along the south of Ari Atoll, which is home to whalesharks coming up for a feed. Thought to be a 'nursery' for whalesharks, the South of Ari Atoll is a place where you can find juvenile whalesharks all year round. Normally, if we find one, we snorkel with it but sometimes we get lucky and see them on the dive too!

 

Rangali Madivaru - Madivaru is Dhivehi (Maldivian language) for Manta Point and Rangali Madivaru doesn't disappoint! As one of the best manta cleaning stations in the Maldives during the north east monsoon (December - April), this long stretch of reef starts at 8m going down to a sandy bottom at 24m - 30m. Teeming with cleaner wrasse as well at moray eels, scorpion leaf fish and lionfish. mantas come in for a clean after having a feed; and with the reef acting as one long cleaning station from 8m to 12m, this is a great site for getting photos of mantas with good light.

 

Rahdhiga Thila - A beautiful pinnacle just 10 minutes from Rahdhiga Island and a popular stop for the 'BBQ on the Beach' under the stars. Rahdhiga Thila is impressive from the second you swim down to 30m to look at some grey reef sharks, then moving up to the overhangs with their beautiful dripping blue, yellow and orange soft coral between 8m and 18m. Then finish the dive at 3m to 6m with some impressive table-top coral for a pleasantly relaxing safety stop.

 

Broken Rock - Named for a large broken rock at the center of this dive site, Broken Rock is home to a beautiful array of soft and hard coral formations that attract a wide variety of reef. Where the rock is broken, there is a channel that divers can swim through, giving the dive an interesting dimension. Broken Rock varies in depth from 40 to 100 feet. Sometimes, there can be very strong currents at Broken Rock, so divers should be cautious to avoid being thrown against the coral. Among the marine life often seen at Broken Rock, common sightings include the puffer fish, trigger fish, moray eels and napoleon wrasse.

 

Kudarah Thila - Declared a "Protected Marine Area" by the Maldivian government, Kudarah Thila is a popular dive site which enjoys many incoming currents. Coral reef formations at Kudarah Thila are bright and colorful, including a variety of soft and hard corals. Thila means "Pinnacle" in Dhivehi, and at Kudarah Thila there are actually four pinnacles, which can be all visited in one dive. A swim-through at the south-east corner of the dive site makes this a particularly popular dive, as does the rich variety of marine life, which typically includes trumpet fish, snapper, gobies, dartfish, oriental sweetlips and groupers. A little further away from the reef, divers are likely to see gray reef sharks, napoleon fish and sea turtles.

 

Pannettone (Kalhahandi Kandu) - Kalhahandi Kandu has earned the nickname Pannettone from the many Italian divers who believe it resembles the traditional Italian fruitcake. It is an attractive dive site, recommended mainly for advanced scuba divers, except for when the currents are not strong. There are some spectacular coral formations here, featuring a variety of soft and hard coral species, which attract a wide selection of fish including angelfish, basslets, butterfly fish, scorpion fish, trigger fish, puffer fish and . The corals here are in good condition and weather conditions at Pannettone mean the dive site can be explored year-round.

 

 South Male Atoll

 

The Male Atoll is divided into 2 sections, the North Male Atoll and the South Male Atoll. They are both located on the eastern side of the Maldives. The South Male Atoll is home to a number of tourist resorts and some of the finest scuba diving in the Maldives.

 

Kandooma Thila - A magnificent long thin pinnacle in the middle of a channel between Cocoa Corner and Kandooma Island Resort, this is one of the few channels in the Maldives where it doesn't matter which way the current is going - it will be a spectacular dive! Grey reef sharks, eagle rays are likely companions here. Due to its position in the channel, this is a dive site for advanced divers who understand the current. Magnificent overhangs with draping colourful soft coral and shark cleaning stations await those who dive this challenging but rewarding dive site.

 

Kuda Giri Wreck - This beautiful 30m long wreck lies along the side of a small pinnacle in South Male Atoll, sloping from 18m down to 33m at the stern. A great dive for macro lovers with the wreck having leaf fish, false-cheeked pipefish and other interesting little creatures to entertain. Explore the wreck and then work your way over to the shallow pinnacle that has an interesting overhang and little swim-throughs as well as a good coral garden at 5m where you can finish your safety stop.

 

Cocoa Corner (Cocoa Thila) - Cocoa Corner is a dive site that can be explored in several different ways and with the right current and conditions, it's is the best shark show around Male Atoll. Many dive guides consider crossing from Cocoa Corner to Kandooma Thila. With the right current, divers begin the dive from Cocoa Corner and while maintaining a depth of 25 to 29 metres, they swim across the current while parallel to the edge at 40 metres. This gives a natural reference that divers are maintaining the correct position while crossing to the Thila and divers are not taken too far inside the channel. The Thila lies in the middle of the channel about 15 metres from the channel edge. Here, divers will see heaps of Grey Reef Sharks from big mother sharks to newborn babies patrolling the edge of the channel together. Eagle Rays and schooling Jack Fish are also common at the beginning of the Thila. By the time divers reach the Thila, their bottom time should be running out and the best thing to do is to swim to the top of the Thila and continue diving in shallower waters. A safety balloon is a must at Cocoa Corner and divers should be prepared to make an open water safety stop.

 

Guraidhoo Kandu South- is sometimes also known as Guraidhoo Corner. Currents at Guraidhoo Kandu are strong, making this a dive site appropriate only for advanced, experienced scuba divers. Gray reef sharks are common visitors at Guriadhoo Kandu when the currents are incoming, along with several pelagic species and eagle rays. Divers should be very cautious at this dive site, as the currents can pull you away from the reef and there is often underwater turbulence.

 

 Vaavu Atoll (Felidhoo Atoll)

 

Vaavu (or Felidhoo) Atoll is an undeveloped paradise comprised of 19 beautiful isles and the natural atolls of Felidhoo Atoll and the Vattaru Reef. It is the smallest and among the least commercialised atolls in the Maldives. The pristine, warm waters here are teeming with fish and larger marine life providing superb diving for both beginners and advanced divers.

 

Fotteyo Kandu- is a favourite dive site and is considered by some to be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives due to the vast array of marine life that can be found there. The channel is narrow and features swim-throughs, small caves and large overhangs. The drop-off at the channel entrance is covered in colourful soft corals. Titan triggerfish are common here along with grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, tuna and barracuda.

 

Bodu Miyaru Kandu- or 'Big Shark Channel', is another top dive site and certainly lives up to its name. Dropping in at the south eastern corner you keep the reef on your left until you reach the drop off at the channel entrance which is approximately 30 metres deep. This site features small caves and numerous overhangs, and there is a sloping section on the left side of the channel covered in hard coral and some soft coral.

 

 North Male Atoll

 

The North Male Atoll is one of the most developed atolls in terms of hotel and resort development. There are at least 20 resort islands operating in the North Male Atoll. It is also home to some excellent diving spots.

 

Lankan Manta Point - Lying along the channel reef of Lankanfushi (now Paradise Island Resort), this large block of coral is home to hundreds of cleaner wrasse. During the south west monsoon (May to November) the current runs from west to east, so the mantas feed on the outside of the eastern side of the Atolls. After they have had a feed, they come into cleaning stations such as Lankan Manta Point and get cleaned by the cleaner wrasse; a perfect chance for divers to get up close and personal with these majestic mantas.

 

Banana Reef- was the first dive site to be discovered in the Maldives continues to be one of the most popular. The dive, which ranges in depth from 5 to 30 meters, has several interesting characteristics including a pinnacle and some overhangs. Coral formations here are prolific and colorful, attracting an extensive variety of fish, including squirrelfish, bannerfish and oriental sweetlips. Currents can be strong at times around the reef, with occasional turbulence occurring around the overhangs. As such, the use of a surface balloon is recommended.

 

Kuda Haa- is a dramatic pinnacle, or thila, dive, which is widely considered one of the highlights of diving in the Maldives. Diving at Kuda Haa is at its best when the currents are not strong, when it is easy to navigate between the two parts of the pinnacle. Marine life to be expected at Kuda Haa is diverse and plentiful, including many macro species, including nudibranchs, flatworms, leaf fish and frogfish.

 

 Meemu Atoll

 

Excellent Channel dives with outside walls draping in yellow soft coral and teeming with sharks. Also visit the famous Muli Corner for a thrilling dive with great visibility and pelagic life.

 

 Baa Atoll

Baa Atoll was designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in June 2011. It harbors globally significant biodiversity in its numerous reefs and demonstrates a long history of human interaction with the environment. Covering approximately 139,700 ha of coastal/marine areas, the site is representative of the Maldives' high diversity of reef animals, with stony and soft corals, reef associated fish species, marine turtles, manta rays and whale sharks.

 

Hanifaru Bay - The famous Hanifaru Bay, which is known locally as Vandhumaafaru Adi, is thought to be one the few places in the world where whale sharks congregate in to mate, although recent research suggests otherwise with the vast majority of the whale sharks seen there being young males. The bay also regularly sees some of the largest gatherings of Manta rays worldwide with up to one hundred individuals in the small inlet when the tide pushes plankton into the bay.

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