Diving in the South of the Maldives
The Maldives is, par excellence, one of the Top 5 diving destinations in the world. Every diver knows that he has to travel there at least once in his life. The wonderful landscapes, the good weather throughout the year, and the incredible variety of its marine life make the Maldives the perfect destination for a live-aboard cruise.
When traveling for the first time to dive in the Maldives, the ideal is to choose a route that has the best balance between the variety of dives and the type of wildlife that can be seen.
The recommendation for this first time is always to do the Central Atolls route or also known as the Classic Route.
But what if you liked your first time in the Maldives so much and want to come back?
Southern Maldives, crossing into the Southern Hemisphere:
Every diver has always dreamed of discovering new places, wild and remote places where it is not usual to dive and where to experience new experiences. In the case of the Maldives, its southern atolls and its islands beyond the Equator are the perfect places for this type of diving.
Our boats, the Maldives Blue Force One and Maldives Blue Force 3, sail every season from the months of January to March to these wild and exclusive areas of the Maldives.
Two months of unique and wild diving:
Everyone will wonder why such a short season and the explanation is very simple, the best diving conditions needed to enjoy diving in this remote place are only given for two months a year. During the months of January to March, the monsoon pushes ocean water from the eastern faces of the atolls inland. The best channels in the south are located to the east of the atolls and this phenomenon allows the cleaner and more crystalline water of the Indian Ocean to enter the atoll with a strong current, congregating the sharks on the oceanic cliff of the channels.
This is why most of the dives in the Southern Hemisphere are carried out on the cliffs of the channels, where we find strong currents and a large number of sharks and other pelagic species.
How are the dives there?
In the Maldives, there is a very popular type of dive because of its excitement and the high probability of seeing a lot of wildlife, especially sharks. These dives are given the local name of “kandu” which means “channel”.
These channel dives are characterized by being current dives, especially currents entering the atoll, with ocean water, more transparent and less hot than the outlet.
Before jumping out of the dhoni, one of the guides checks the current and, if it is incoming, jumps into the ocean to be able to dive downstream and stay hooked with the reef hooks at the entrance of the channel. The spectacle of life that will pass before us will be something unforgettable. After a while, we will let ourselves be drifted away by the current inside the atoll where the dhoni will be waiting for us to be picked up.
What does the Southern Hemisphere route consist of?
The Southern Hemisphere route runs mainly between Gaafu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Island, crossing the equator each week to the Southern Hemisphere.
The best channel dives in Gaafu Atoll and exciting shark dives in the famous Fuvahmulah Island are combined.
The Vilingili and Koodhoo channels, with their impressive walls of grey sharks, the awesome spinner sharks. Reefs like Gemanafushi with their schools of carangids and the possibility of seeing hammerhead sharks, the walls of Fuvahmulah with their tiger sharks, silver tips, the thresher sharks, and the amazing coral gardens that are in all its reefs will make us move to any of those documentaries that we see on TV.
We cannot forget to mention another of the unquestionable attractions of the south of the Maldives, the possibility of swimming with the whale sharks that sometimes visit the stern of our boat at night.
The best diving points of the South Maldives routes:
7 Atolls route (Up and down to the South of Maldives):
ARI: In this atoll, everything is possible, encounters with whale sharks, manta cleaning stations… but we are going to try one of the most exclusive dives in the Maldives, the night dive with mantas.
VAAVU: Without a doubt, the star dives of this atoll are Miyaru Kandu, a spectacular channel next to the island of Alimathaa where we can observe numerous grey sharks, and Alimathaa Pier, the famous nurse shark dive, where we can interact with dozens of these calm animals. in a unique experience in the world.
MEEMU: In this incredible atoll, we will enjoy channels full of life like Vanhuravelhi, spectacular dives like Muli Corner, where the ocean can surprise us with all kinds of surprises, and the Kureli Manta point cleaning station.
THAA: We will enjoy the colorful Dhifushi Kandu and look for the visit of whale sharks at night.
LAAMU: Fushi Kandu and Isdhoo Muli, where we can find schools of spotted eagles, schools of carangids and we will look for the elusive big-headed parrots. Hitadhoo corner, with its blanket cleaning station.
South Hemisphere route:
GAAFU: The “channel atoll” par excellence is Gaafu. High-voltage dives await us here in the Maldives’ most famous channels for gray reef shark sightings. We can also find surprises such as silvertip sharks, as well as the whale shark when there is a large presence of plankton. Highlight the almost virgin coral areas, diving with green turtles and large stingrays, and visits to deserted beaches and fishing villages where you can discover the authentic Maldives islands, far from tourism, with fishing and even agriculture as a way of life.
FUVAHMULAH: If the weather allows it since there is no protection reef, we will approach this peculiar island, about 5 km long. We will dive the reef near the big blue, where we can find schools of jacks, mantas, sharks, wrasse, and always the possibility of “special” encounters such as the elusive thresher shark, tiger shark, silvertip shark, sailfish, oceanic mola-mola…
We will also try to dive on the southern wall of the island, where we will find one of the best-preserved coral reefs in the Maldives.
How do we get there?
Traveling to the southern hemisphere of the Maldives is just as easy as traveling to the central atolls, but it will take a bit longer. In the first week of the season, Maldives Blue Force One and Maldives Blue Force 3 will depart Male for Koodhoo, the capital of Gaafu Atoll. This week includes a route in itself that we will call the “7 atolls route” and that is carried out twice a year, the first week of the southern season, in the direction of descent towards the south (Male – Koodhoo), and the last week of the season, returning to Male and heading north (Koodhoo – Male). This route allows us to discover the best diving spots in the 7 most important atolls in the Maldives: North Male, South Male, Vaavu, Meemu, Thaa, Laamu, and Gaafu.
Once we have arrived in Koodhoo, we will spend 6 weeks doing the route called “Southern Hemisphere” visiting the best diving spots in the Gaafu atoll and crossing the equator to dive on the famous island of Fuvahmulah.
To get to the ship it will be necessary to make a domestic flight from Male to reach Koodhoo where Maldives Blue Force One will be waiting and another flight from Koodhoo to Male to return a week later.
After these 6 weeks of the season in the south of the Maldives, the Maldives Blue Force One and Maldives Blue Force 3 will begin their return to Male, completing the 7 Atoll Route from Koodhoo to Male all week.