Shore Day Trip Live Aboard
Country: Maldives Area: Maldives
Water Temp: 25 - 30°C (77 - 86°F)
Abundant marine life and great channel diving; Thaa Atoll is also known as Kolhumadulu Atoll.
Diving the Maldives can be undertaken in two ways, either by land or by a liveaboard. This choice entirely depends on the type of holiday you are after, whether you would like a totally dive based holiday or diving mixed in with other activities.
The Maldives experiences a complex weather pattern consisting of two seasons, the dry Northeast Monsoon and the wet Southwest Monsoon. During these two seasons the air temperature varies only slightly and the main factor is the wind direction. From May to November the prevailing winds are from the Southeast, bringing the wet season. This season has more rainfall than the dry season but there is still a lot of sunshine and when it does rain it tends to rain hard and for a short time. The dry Northeast season runs from December to April and this the time when you get the best visibility.
These weather patterns have a strong influence on the currents and therefore the conditions on dive sites. This affects where to find the marine life which varies dramatically from the eastern to western atolls. Diving during the wet Southwest season it is spectacular on the Western atolls and you can frequently encounter large schools of tuna, barracuda, eagle rays and sharks. The water temperature is cooler than the dry season averaging around 26C, which has an effect on the marine life. The grey reef sharks and hammerhead sharks in particular can be witnessed in larger schools and can be found in shallower water. The Eastern atolls during this time is best for spotting Mantas and Whale sharks but the visibility is not as good as the west due to the plankton rich water which attracts these huge creatures.
The Northeast season is the Maldives summer period, with higher air and water temperatures and less rain. The effect it has on the currents and therefore the marine life is dramatic. The sharks and other large pelagic leave to move across to the Eastern atolls and the most action from these species are in the channels, thilas and in the main current points over there. The Mantas and Whale Sharks however also swap sides and move over to the Western atolls.
Most island resorts will provide unlimited house reef diving where you can dive from certain entry points along the shore, if you are an experienced diver you are able to explore these house reefs without a guide as you like. The resorts are all suitable for all levels with the warm, shallow water and interesting easy to reach house reefs making these sites perfect for beginners.
Most resorts have a dive centre based on the island which provide boats a couple of times a day to the surrounding dive sites with some day boats to the sites further afield.
Manta Rays are one of the reasons that the Maldives is a top destination for divers, as this is one of the few places in the world almost guaranteed to provide divers with an amazing encounter with these elegant giants. They are year round residents of the Maldives but the locations they can be found at varies with the seasons. Thaa Atoll is on the west and therefore the mantas are most common in the surrounding waters from December to April. There are several cleaning stations which are Manta hotspots throughout the atoll.
Liveaboards are the most efficient way to take in the best dive sites the Maldives has to offer, as they can cover the most of the area and can travel to wherever the most exciting action is at the time. They will all have experienced dive guides who know the area well so will know where and when to see the best of the marine life. The liveaboards do tend to have a minimum dive requirement for some of their trips due to the strong currents some dives they do will be difficult for beginner divers, although some do allow you to take part in further training whilst diving with them.
Although the Manta Ray is the main attraction of the diving in the Maldives the underwater world in this area has a whole lot more to offer in terms of marine life and dive sites.
The individual islands in Thaa Atoll can be reached by sea plane from Male which is the location of the international airport. During these flights you can take in the magnificent aerial views of the atolls dotted in turquoise and blue water
Diving is the main tourist activity on all of the Maldives islands, even so there is a selection of many other activities to take part in on the resort islands. The activities available will depend on the facilities of your chosen resort, so when picking an island and resort you should research what each has to offer. Most resorts have spas, a selection of bars and restaurants, and many other water based activities such as wind surfing, snorkelling, canoeing and sailing. The Maldives is an excellent holiday destination for those who love diving and the water or those who simply want to relax and do nothing on a peaceful quiet remote beach.