Diving in Ari Atoll
Also known as Shark Point, or Mushimasmingili Thila
It is unsurprising that people generally use the more bit-size English version of this dive site's name rather than the Maldivian mouthful. Due to its marine protected area status, this site often appears in the top 10 lists of Maldives dive spots, given that is one of the best places for seeing sharks. It's also one of those sites when you are grateful you are on-the-spot on a liveaboard rather than having to suffer a long boat journey to get there.
The reef is in fact a small pinnacle which reaches from around 10 metres at its shallowest point down to a depth of 35 metres, featuring a series of caves and overhangs in between where you can see thousands of blue-line snappers against a backdrop of black coral bushes and large gorgonians.
Grey reef sharks are the main players in this parade of life - they were fed here in the past. They often gather in large numbers (estimated at 16 residents) and the sight of so many of them, sometimes darting around at speed can be thrilling, if not a little unsettling!
In addition to the sharks you are likely to sight humphead wrasse, schools of batfish and vast schools of fusiliers, or mushimasmingili. This is where the current can be strong and might necessitate staying in the lee. Spotted eagle rays are also common visitors to Fish Head amongst other pelagics.
Since the current can be unpredictable here your guide might suggest a descent/ascent line, since open water safety stops can see you finally break the surface some distance from the boat.
Fish Head Reef Basics: Pinnacle
Depth: 10 - 35m
Visibility: 15 - 25m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Usually calm, but can be rough
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 2.5 km south of Mushimasmingili
Access: Maldives liveaboard
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