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Fascinating marine worlds of the Maldives

Small tropical island in the ocean Maldives. Shot was taken from seaplane.

Diving in the Maldives: discover unique marine life in an unspoilt environment

With 26 atolls, clear waters and some of the world’s best wildlife, the Maldives is a paradise for divers of all abilities. From the turquoise lagoons to the coral reefs, enjoy unique and unforgettable scenery. A unique experience.

The Maldives archipelago: exceptional scuba diving conditions

When diving in the Maldives, the first thing that strikes you is bound to be the incredible visibility. The water is among the clearest in the world, allowing you to see clearly to great depths. It’s not unusual to still be able to see the sky over 20 metres below the surface! Add to this the warm waters of the lagoons and ocean which can reach 30 °C at the surface and remain nice and warm further down. So, you’ll be able to dive without much equipment, leaving your winter wetsuit behind!

The archipelago is also accessible to divers of all abilities. From snorkelling in the lagoons to more athletic explorations around the archipelago, everyone can immerse themselves in the water safely and admire the remarkably abundant marine life, including bright corals, turtles, rays, barracudas, sharks and a host of unmissable colourful tropical fish. A unique aquatic ballet is within easy reach in exceptional natural conditions.

A myriad of mythical sites

Where to start? How about with the most popular site in the Maldives: Ari Atoll and its world-famous scuba diving spots. Expect spectacular faults, caves lined with blue coral, groupers, moray eels, grey reef sharks and even two wrecks, which are a rarity in the Maldives. 

Nearby Baa Atoll is a striking alternative: the zone is protected by UNESCO, guaranteeing unspoilt nature with a wealth of reefs, thilas (underwater islands) and coral. The queen of the atoll is the manta ray, especially in Hanifaru Bay where you can admire these majestic creatures, some of which are 7 metres long. The best time of the year to see them is between May and October when individual rays come together to feed around the thilas.

On the eastern range of the archipelago, Vaavu Atoll is well worth a visit. It is home to the longest continuous coral reef in the Maldives. Fans of caves and tunnels will have a field day, while snorkellers will be able to enjoy the tranquil waters as the atoll is one of the calmest the Maldives has to offer.

Unforgettable encounters for experienced divers

Many divers dream of visiting the Maldives, undoubtedly because it is home to a vast number and variety of sharks. There are over 25 species, including blacktip sharks, grey reef sharks, zebra sharks and whale sharks. It is relatively easy to get close to them in the right conditions (depending on the season, currents, time of day or night, etc.). One of the best sites to see sharks is Fuvahmulah Atoll where you can find many of the rarest species and a thriving tiger shark population.

Other sites have strong currents which lead to a high density of species. One such example is Madivaru Corner, located in the heart of the archipelago. During rising tides, the incoming water brings colonies of fish of all sizes into the atoll, including rays and sharks at depths of around 30 metres. However, these sites are only suitable for experienced divers who know how to deal with tides and currents. And they won’t be disappointed!

Plongée sous-marine aux Maldives

What is an atoll?

The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls: ring-shaped above-water coral reefs that partially or completely encircle a central lagoon. These formations can also be found in French Polynesia, Indonesia and Kiribati, but the word “atoll” is of Maldivian origin. 

Atolls often make perfect dive sites because the turquoise waters of the internal lagoons are accessible to all, while the outside of the rings attracts a wealth of sea creatures for more experienced divers.

Photos credits : © Istock / © Fotolia

Tourisme : Nouvelle-Calédonie, vue rapprochée sur le lagon turquoise avec l'île du pin en arrière plan

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