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Diving in the Maldive Islands

The Dive Sites of South Male Atoll

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...Good for: Large animals, drift dives and snorkelling...
...Not so good for: Small animals, hard corals and beginner divers, non-diving activities...

Kandus, or channels, are a major feature of South Male diving. On the eastern reef wall there are 6 channels through which a huge volume of water gushes, bringing with it all the nutrients to attract large quantities of marine life.

Coral coverage here is not what it is in other areas so if pristine reefs are your thing, the atolls of North Male and Ari may have more to offer. The scuba diving at South Male Atoll (also known as South Kaafu) on the other hand features fish in schools of sizeable numbers, big pelagic fish, plenty of soft corals and caves as well as one very good wreck, and is considered one of the best liveaboard diving areas in the Maldives. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions

Cocoa Thila - The strength of the current will determine how much fun you have on this site. Insufficient current can mean no fish. Ripping current can mean that after a minute or so there are no divers! Moderate current means you will experience one of the Maldives' finest sites. Your dive guide should know when conditions are right and, when they are, you will see a whole host of marine life. Show more

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How to Dive South Male

In contrast to North Male, the atoll of South Male is more developed in terms of the number of resorts as a consequence of being one of the first to open to tourism. However the diving is no less rewarding and is a popular area for liveaboards to include in their itineraries. For more information on the cruise routes and all the other travel information you might need to visit Maldives, read:

Competition for spaces on boats is strong and many are fully booked months before the departure dates, so we urge our customers to book no less than 6 months prior to the proposed dates of travel.


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Diving Season

Scuba diving vacations are possible in South Male all year round, though surface conditions are generally best during the Northeast Monsoon season from late December to May. Confirmed liveaboard departures run from November to May. If you wish to come outside of these months then it may be more difficult to find a departure date that suits you.

The Southwest Monsoon runs from June to November and brings with it a greater chance of rain and less calm seas. However, rainfall here is less than in the Southern Atolls of the Maldive Islands.

Water temperatures at South Male Atoll hover around the bathtub mark of 26 to 29°C, although thermoclines at depth can bring abrupt changes. Visibility, like elsewhere in the Maldives, is 15-30+m all year round, depending on which side of the atoll you dive in which season.

Manta rays, reef sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse are here throughout the whole year.

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Where is South Male and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of South Male Atoll and its host country Maldives. Here, you will find information on how to get to the Maldives, and then cruise on to South Male.

Map of South Male Atoll (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Maldives (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Calm but can be choppy in southwest monsoon
Water temperature: 26 - 29°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: >20
Distance: 6 km south of North Male
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days

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Useful References


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