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Scuba Diving in Maldives

The Far North Atolls

A holiday escape to the far north rewards you with serenity on your dives since, unlike other areas of the Maldives, you are unlikely to see another liveaboard during your entire cruise.

Guitar sharks can be found when you're scuba diving in Maldives at the Far North Atolls - photo courtesy of Josef Hochreiter

The marine life also seems to revel in the minimal interference from humans with flourishing hard coral growth over most of the submerged boulders. Soft corals do well on the sides of the boulders protected from often strong currents.

The sea creatures thrive in the nutrient-rich waters bringing in the reef predators: white and black tip reef sharks. Large numbers of manta rays and leopard sharks populate many of the dive sites in the far north.

Your liveaboard diving in the Far North Atolls will be spiced up with drift dives, cave explorations and even the Maadhoo wreck. Wall dives are among some of the best you will find in the whole of the Maldives region and the coral reefs shine in the sunny weather and clear waters that make for great visibility of up to 30m.

Dive Site Descriptions

Haa Alifu Atoll - At Baarah Thila, numerous species of fish including Andaman sweetlips and blackfin barracudas school against a backdrop of hard coral growth while leopard sharks rest on the sandy floor. Moving with the current over this submerged boulder is memorable with the possibility of witnessing over 30 mantas enjoying the attention at a wrasse cleaning station.

Haa Dhaalu Atoll - Witness huge numbers of black and white tip reef sharks at Nellahidhoo Thila, feeding with apparently no interest in inquisitive scuba divers. If you can distract yourself from the spectacular shark scene you will see giant trevallies and mantas soaring in the blue above you, with moray eels and nudibranchs living in the profusion of healthy coral structures below you.

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How to Dive The Far North Atolls

Scuba diving with the soft corals at the Far North Atolls of the Maldive Islands - photo courtesy of Josef Hochreiter

Full access to all the best coral reefs and vibrant marine life in the far north is only possible on a liveaboard safari. After arriving in Male, a half hour flight takes you to Hanimaadhoo, presenting you with magnificent views of the Maldives atolls and islands along the way.

Since there is only 1 liveaboard cruising the Far North Atolls, your dive vacation is one adventure after the next with guaranteed large pelagic sightings due to the lack of interruptions from other boats and divers in the area.

Diving Season

Calm weather makes the Far North Atolls of the Maldives great for scuba diving all year round, with the exception of June and July. The water remains constantly warm throughout the year with little deviation from the 28-30°C range, so you might not want to wear any more than a lightweight shortie. Some divers prefer simply shorts and a rash vest in such comfortable temperatures.

Currents and surface conditions do not really follow seasonal patterns particularly. You can expect sunny skies most of the year with some of the more exposed sites occasionally seeing choppier seas and some of the channels experiencing currents which vary more with daily tidal movements than seasons. Although currents can be strong with choppy wave action, your experienced divemasters can often guide you to the protected side of the thilas, ensuring the conditions work for you, not against you.

Generally your best conditions are from December through to April. The only liveaboard in the area runs confirmed cruises between August and May. The marine creatures that figure strongly in diving the Far North Atolls do so throughout the year with mantas appearing more frequently and in bigger numbers from September to November.

Reef Summary

Good for: Large animals, drift dives and snorkelling
Not so good for: Beginner divers
Depth: 5 - >30m
Visibility: 20 - 30m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy
Water temperature: 28 - 29°C
Experience level: All levels
Number of dive sites: >40
Distance: 280 km north of Male
Access: Maldives liveaboards
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days

Useful References

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