Diving in Maldives
The Dive Sites of North Male Atoll
North Male is perhaps the best known and explored diving area of the Maldives, having long been recognised as providing a great variety of scuba diving, beautiful scenery and a geographical location that makes it relatively easy to get to - the international airport is in Male, the port of departure for many of the Maldives liveaboards.
North Male Atoll diving is characterised by reefs, caves, current-swept channels and drop offs. The atoll sees plenty of fish action and is generally a good area for large pelagics, with reef sharks and mantas at the front of the queue.
A shipping route through one of the atoll channels has also left a few wrecks for future generations to enjoy as colourful and thriving artificial reefs. In addition, the North Male dive sites enjoy some of the best coral reefs in the Maldives. The Maldives is not really known for its pristine coral coverage these days but there are spots in this area as healthy and bright as anywhere in the world.
Manta Point - A cleaning station in the south east of the atoll that's great, not just for observing manta rays at close quarters, but also reef residents such as octopus, moray eels and white-tip reef sharks. With a little luck (but not too much) you'll see, not just one or two mantas, but more than your fingers can count of these magnificent graceful rays.
Girifushi Thila - A pinnacle covered in a riot of colourful soft corals, swept with currents that sweep in masses of schooling fish. From one of the many crevices, you can shelter and watch tuna, jacks, reef sharks and eagle rays sweep by.
How to Dive North Male Atoll
Liveaboards are without doubt the best way to see around the dive sites of North Male. Most of the Male Atoll is inhabited, with more development in the south of the atoll, the north being more sparsely populated. This results in the more remote sites of the north being less visited and consequently more pristine. However there is a greater concentration of dive sites to the south.
As with most of the diving in the Maldives there is often some current present, so many dives are drift dives.
Due to the popularity of North Male Atoll as a diving destination, we recommend you book 6 months in advance otherwise you may find the boats you want are already full. The Maldives is not a destination where you will find much last-minute availability so pre-planning is very much advised.
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The northeast monsoon from December to May is dry and brings gentle breezes. Currents pick up from November onwards which bring colour, good visibility and pelagic fish life, including manta rays and reef sharks, to the channels and pinnacles, although mantas and sharks are present the whole year round.
The southwest monsoon runs from June to November with a greater chance of rain and less calm sea conditions in exposed areas. However, there is less rain here than in the southern atolls of the Maldives. Late May 'til July are the months when conditions might be less than ideal and most liveaboards will go elsewhere during this period.
Air temperatures at North Male Atoll stay pretty constant at between 30 and 32°C, and water temperatures tend to hover around 26 to 29°C, although thermo-clines at depth can bring a sudden rush of cooler water. Visibility can be greater than 30m all year round when diving at the channel entrances with inflowing currents, and 15m at outflow.
Good for: Underwater photography, wreck diving, walls, drift dives, reef life and health, and advanced divers
Not so good for: Small animals, beginner divers, non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Generally calm but can be choppy in southwest monsoon
Water temperature: 26 - 29°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: 35
Access: North Male liveaboards
Recommended length of stay: 1 - 2 weeks
Dive Site Descriptions
More detailed information on the North Male Atoll dive sites:
• Maldives travel information
View a map of:
• North Male Atoll - The Maldives
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