The final itinerary is, of course, always dependent upon weather, sea conditions and where the best animal sightings are at any particular time of year.
Central Atolls will include some or most of the following:
North Ari Atoll: find caves & overhangs here are home to home to a variety of fish … from dog-toothed tuna, napoleons, trevallies and barracuda to parrotfish, butterflyfish, blue face angelfish, batfish and lionfish. You’ll encounter grey reef sharks and white-tip sharks … while on the top of the reef, countless fusiliers dart around and those lovely, ever-present-in-the-Maldives blue-stripped snappers move in waves. Lovely soft corals and gorgonian fans add color … and there’s a nice little wreck …. a fishing trawler with coral growth and loads of fish and critters to add interest.
South Ari Atoll: popular for its population of whale sharks. In season you’re likely to have the opportunity to snorkel with one or more. But, whale sharks aren’t all there is. You’ll find caves and overhangs, more sharks … plus fusiliers, angelfish, tuna & jacks, large seafans, soft corals and an abundance of other marine life.
North Male Atoll: one of the finest sites in the Maldives for sighting those majestic mantas. A cleaning station here can be very busy between May and December, with cleaner wrasse anxious to get to work on their oversized friends as they sail in. It’s a bit like a busy barber shop!
South Male Atoll: a challenging thila dive here offers some lovely corals and schools of pelagic fish … plus eagle rays and sharks. Another small wreck features some good macro options.
Vaavu (Felidhe): there’s a popular channel dive here with nurse sharks as well as black tip and white tip reef sharks. A possible night dive at a jetty offers up loads of nurse sharks & sting rays. Another dive, loved by photographers in particular, is alive with soft corals in lovely hues and includes a nice variety of reef fish.
NORTHERN ATOLLS: (Male – Male) 7 nights ...
Lhaviyani Atoll: A favorite dive for many divers looking for an adrenaline rush, the Kuredu Express at his atoll is almost always like downhill racing … and sometimes too wild to dive at all. The currents bring in nutrients and smaller fish for the big guys, who also seem to like the ride. Large groups of grey reef sharks are common … as are giant napoleon wrasses, a giant grouper, big stingrays, turtles, eels, trevally, eagle rays and sometimes a group of mobulas.
Baa Atoll: known even to non-divers, Hanifaru Bay is a UNESCO reserve designed to protect the exceptional marine life that congregates within its remarkable shores. The funnel-like bay and reef have a tidal, current action that traps plankton and other nutrients at certain times. Mantas, whale sharks and other animals arrive for a feeding frenzy unlike any other we know of. At times there can be more than 100 mantas taking part in this huge feast. In the neighborhood are other dives where you’ll find hard & soft corals and a sampling of the other Maldives characters: the turtles, the snappers, the sting rays, the sharks … and even a critter or two.
DEEP SOUTH: (Usually Laamu to Huvadhoo or the reverse. Requires 2 domestic flights .... between Male & Huvadhu and Laamu & Male)
Laamu Atoll: the starting / or ending point for these journeys is Laamu, which offers deliciously calm waters, fewer channels than most Maldives atolls and great visibility. The hard corasl provide some nice macro photo ops and the clear water pleases wide-angle photographers wishing to capture good images of large schools of fish plus sharks, eagle rays and a few mantas.
Huvadhoo Atoll: This region of the Maldives is renowned for great visibility, a diversity of marine species and incredible pelagic action …. especially sharks. The topography is what probably hits you first … the channels, the caves, the caverns, the tunnels, the ever present Maldives thilas & some super walls & drop-offs. You’ll find nice corals on shallow reefs with vividly colored reef fish. You’ll get sting rays & eagle rays & the ubiquitous turtles of the Maldives and night dives often offer up a whale shark or two. But, most divers come for the exhilarating drift dives through the channels with grey reef sharks, nurse sharks, oceanic black tips black tip & white tip reef sharks … plus the tempting possibility of bumping into an occasional hammerhead or tiger shark …. or of sighting silkies, bull sharks and mola mola in the blue.