Diving the Maldives
Just off the Indian coast, sporting about twenty atolls and some 1,200 islands, you’ll find the Maldives archipelago. These islands not only serve as a dream destination for newlyweds in search of the perfect honeymoon ... they are also the promised land, or rather the sea, to any diver who has enough respect for himself ! It must be said that, spread over 90 000 km2, 90% of the archipelago area is composed of water ! Surely alluring... The maldivian islands present an (almost) unmatched quality, and many of their dive sites are among the most famous in the world.
If, because of its geographical location, the best way to discover the Maldives remains the liveaboard dive cruise, it is also equally possible to appreciate maldivian beauty by choosing one of the numerous postcard-like island-hotel. Most hotels host a diving center, usually affiliated with PADI, offering training sessions as well as fun dives. All dive centers have a mulltilingual dive team so as to cater for all nationalities.
Diving in the Maldives can be quite challenging : it is very likely to be drift dives and the currents can be quite powerful ! Safety procedures and respect of dive standards are therefore taken very seriously and subject to a slightly different law than what is found in most countries. Thus a diver with a level PADI Advanced / CMAS 2 stars can 'never' descend more than 30m, even if guided by a professional... But who cares, when passing over thilas – rather large, flat coral monticules – massive schools of fish await without having to dive deep : gray reef sharks, eagle rays and manta rays, large groupers, tunas, trevallies, Napoleons wrasses, snappers are but a few marine creatures that inhabit the Indian Ocean waters. All this amid a visibility that sometimes reaches up to 50 m ... Simply amazing!
Check out the two distinct seasons for whale-sharks and manta rays before you chose which liveaboard or island / atoll to book with : from mid november through to the end of may, those pelagics are to be found on the West side of the archipelago ; then from early may to november, they all move to the East side ! The timing can vary slighly from one atoll to the other since the winds dictate the migration... Have fun !