Scuba Dive North Male Atoll Sites
This site in the south east of North Male Atoll has plenty of reasons to recommend it quite apart from the rays that give it its name. As you drop in here you descend down to the top of the reef at 12 metres, and beyond down towards where the reef gently slopes down to an abyssal edge at around 40 metres.
While hovering around the reef wall you should look out for oriental sweetlips, Napoleonfish and hawksbill turtles, which can be present in impressive numbers. If you keep an eye out among the many cracks and crevices you may be rewarded with the sight of a lurking octopus or moray eel, its jaws gaping as it fans the oxygen rich water over it gills.
Keep an eye out in the blue for barracudas and schools of jacks and as you make your way towards the sandy slope at around 20 metres. Do not be surprised to see several white-tip reef sharks resting on the sea bed. However, many of the above-mentioned creatures do not get a look-in at this site since most divers are focussed exclusively on their manta count.
To maximise your viewing pleasure you should position yourself above the porites corals which are home to the cleaning wrasses. This is quite a shallow area and one which is very rich in plankton so expect a greyish colour in the water (and the occasional minor sting). If all in your group position themselves well and move sensibly you can expect to see manta rays emerging from the blue and then hovering in line, awaiting to avail themselves of the services of the cleaners. The little fish fastidiously remove every parasite and bit of dead skin they can from the surface of their huge clients before the manta decides the job is a good one and moves on.
It is quite a spectacle to watch manta after manta being serviced in this way as the little cleaner-fish busily work their way around its body, and even in and around the mouth and gills. Some such sightings can last longer than the dive tanks can, which explains why this site is often requested as a repeat dive.
Manta Point Reef Basics: Manta cleaning station
Depth: 5 - 40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Surface conditions: Calm, but can be choppy
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner to intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: All year round. Liveaboards less likely to visit May to July
Distance: 1 km south east of Lankanfinolhu, 12 km from Male Town
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