Dive Ari Atoll Sites
This site is regularly singled out as the Number 1 site in the Maldives and features many of the qualities that typify Ari Atoll diving, most notably an inspiring profusion of life.
You will most likely begin this dive dropping down a line from a reef-top mooring, to which you will return if the conditions allow. In little or no current Maaya Thila can be suitable for all diver levels, but the current is very changeable so the experience and discretion of the crew are important.
The pinnacle starts at about 6 metres, sloping gently to 12 metres and then plummeting down to below 30 metres. All around the shallow section keep an eye out for nudibranchs, flatworms, frogfish and honeycomb and zebra morays, as well as the occasional octopus eyeballing you with suspicion.
Dropping down further you can enjoy the caves and overhangs and even a swim-through, while marvelling at the vibrant colours of the soft coral coverage and the tubastrea corals. Off the reef you can view at your leisure an almost endless list of marine life. Expect a few turtles, schools of teira batfish, blue-faced angelfish, Vleming's unicornfish, soldierfish, and clown triggerfish. Marvel at the sometimes vast numbers of sharks here; whitetips and grey reef sharks often numbering into the teens and sometimes beyond.
If you are fortunate a flying formation of spotted eagle rays will also swoop by and if very fortunate you could even spot a guitar shark in the deeper sections of the reef. The parade of beautiful sea creatures may well leave you slack-jawed with awe.
Depending on conditions you will either make your way back up to the line in calm waters or, if there is a sufficient current to make the line inaccessible, you may, after sheltering from it where possible end your dive with a gentle drift.
If there is a slack current, Maaya Thila is also a superb location for a night dive. After sunset, vast numbers of fusiliers arrive onto the pinnacle crown to feed. This awakens the hunger lust of the whitetip reef sharks that constantly buzz the reef in search of them. Bigeye trevally also stalk the reef and ignite the scene with lightening bursts of speed at their prey. Black-blotched sting rays and moray eels are also often seen on the prowl to partake in this most absorbing fest.
Maaya Thila Reef Basics: Pinnacle
Depth: 6 - 40m
Visibility: 15 - 30m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Normally calm
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner to intermediate
Number of dive sites: 2
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 3 km northwest of Maayafushi Resort Island
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