You don't need a minimum number of dives but you should be comfortable with drift dives. Currents can be strong. All your diving is made from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.
Dive Spots at a Glance:
- North Ari AtollGrey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations
- South Ari AtollWhale Sharks, Beautiful Pinnacles
- South Male AtollGrey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Other Pelagics, Beautiful Macro Wreck
- North Male AtollBeautiful Pinnacles, Pristine Reefs and Pelagic Species
- Baa AtollSoft Corals, Turtles, Reef Sharks
- Lhaviyani AtollReef Sharks, Turtles, Rays, Soft & Hard Corals
This itinerary runs around the New Moon phase when tidal ranges are greater resulting in a greater flow of plankton into the world famous Hanifaru Bay, where the massive majestic mantas venture in for a feeding frenzy between July and October each year.
We sail from Male to the northern atolls of Lhaviyani and Baa (Hanifaru Bay) and back taking in the renowned sites of Kuredu Express, Kuredu Caves.
As well as mantas, you can get close to turtles, grey reef sharks and whitetip reef sharks. One of the big attractions is the chance to encounter mantas feeding and cleaning.
Thanks to the currents that sweep plankton into the shallow lagoons, mantas follow in vast numbers to feed. Although diving is not permitted in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hanifaru Bay, we are allowed to go in and snorkel with these gentle giants in the lagoon. After a manta has had its feed it needs to get cleaned, so we will take you to known manta cleaning stations in both North Male, Lhaviyani and Baa Atoll. So hopefully these will give you sightings all week long. Of course, sightings can't be guaranteed but diving at this time means your chances are high.
North Ari Atoll
Ari Atoll (also called Alif or Alufu Atoll) is one of the biggest atolls and is located in the west of the archipelago. Grey Reef Sharks, Maaya Thila Night Dive, Multiple Manta Cleaning Stations.
Known for its grey reef shark cleaning station, this site is like fish soup. Pick the side with the current, drop in and swim through the fish until you see the pinnacle. If the sharks are already on top of the pinnacle then simply stay there mesmerised by the sharks in circle. Dog-tooth tuna, bonito and giant travelly shepherd the thousands of fusiliers, which creates quite a spectacle when the bonito finally decide to go for the kill and when the others follow suit you can feel the energy of thousands of fish accelerating in unison.
South Ari Atoll
From macro life to pelagic species, the Ari Atoll has it all! Be ready to see manta rays, guitar sharks, whale sharks, turtles and hundreds of colourful fish species.
South Male Atoll
With a variety of large marine life, South Male Atoll is a great spot to see whale sharks, mantas, barracuda, turtles, eagle rays and different species of sharks (reef, grey and even hammerhead).
North Male Atoll
North Male is famous for its pristine colourful reefs and pelagic species such as manta rays, whale sharks, hawksbill turtles and even the occasional eagle ray.
Baa Atoll is a soft coral haven; full of whip coral, dark red sponges and overhangs. You will also find turtles, eagle rays and sharks in the channels.
Many different species to see; soft and hard corals, moray eel, nudibranchs, scorpionfish, nocturnal soldier fish, reef sharks, turtles, rays and mantas in the wet season.