North Male Atoll Scuba Diving Sites
It is not often that the mighty lion is referred to in the name of a dive site. However it is quite appropriate in this instance since for many, this dive represents the King of the underwater realm of the Maldives.
With a little imagination you will see the eponymous coral outcrop shaped like the head of a lion, in an area where overhangs and caverns shelter an impressive amount of life, including basslets, red-toothed triggerfish and an exceptional array of nudibranchs.
The dive normally starts at 3 metres or so in the shallowest section of the reef, from which the wall drops dramatically down to around 40 metres before disappearing into the abyss. Large pelagics swim by the wall and you are likely to see turtles, Napoleon wrasses, eagle rays and tuna but the grey-reef sharks are the stars of the show. They may not be huge but they are often present in large numbers.
However, you should not entirely ignore the wall in favour of the action going on in the blue. It is covered with encrusting sponges and sea fans, crinoids and anemones making it a smorgasbord of orange, pink and purple. If you are fortunate you may even spot the occasional leaf fish, false stone fish or octopus eye-balling you from the safety of its crevice.
Currents can be an issue here and, when strong, they bring out swirling clouds of anthias and schools of batfish and surgeonfish. Thankfully there are plenty of sheltered spots on this site where, if necessary, you can duck behind outcrops for temporary respite from the current.
The dive normally ends in the shallows where the vibrant sunlit reef will keep you entertained as you make your safety stop. This site used to be a place for shark feeding and there is evidence of environmental damage in areas where guests would sit and stand on corals to watch the show. Thankfully the site is now a marine protected area and little by little the lion is beginning to roar again.
Lion's Head Reef Basics: Wall, drift dive
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 40m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate to advanced
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: All year round. Liveaboards less likely to visit May to July
Distance: 2.5 km west of Thila Fushi, 9 km west of Male Town
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