The Southern Atolls of the Maldives

Diving at Vaavu Atoll

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Vaavu (or Felidhoo) Atoll is an undeveloped vacation paradise comprised of 19 beautiful isles and the natural atolls of Felidhoo Atoll and the Vattaru Reef. It is the smallest and among the least commercialised atolls in the Maldives. The pristine, warm waters here are teeming with fish and larger marine life providing superb scuba diving for both beginners and advanced divers.

Vaavu Atoll boasts Fotteyo Falhu - the largest unbroken barrier reef in the Maldives. The reef is 50 km long and the easternmost point of the Maldives archipelago. Vaavu is mostly visited by liveaboards and this is undoubtedly the best way to explore these unspoilt sites.

Scuba diving in Maldives with surgeonfish - photo courtesy of Werner Lau/copyright U. Kefrig

One of the features of this diving area is the deep channels known as Kandus that bring in fast-flowing currents full of nutrients. Throughout the year you can find numerous sharks in the heavy currents and there are many thrilling shark dive sites. As well as plenty of grey reef and white tip reef sharks, you may be lucky enough to see hammerhead sharks.

In addition, this atoll is an ideal place for manta ray sightings and they can be found in great numbers from May to July. Whale sharks are common here at certain times of year, particularly on the east side of the atoll. You will also be treated to encounters with huge schools of fish such as barracuda, snapper and trevally.

Fotteyo Kandu is a favourite location and is considered by some to be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives due to the vast array of marine life that can be found there. The channel is narrow and features swim-throughs, small caves and large overhangs. The drop-off at the channel entrance is covered in colourful soft corals. Titan triggerfish are common here along with grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, tuna and barracuda.

In the early morning you might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of hammerhead sharks in the most outer side of the channel. This is also where eagle rays can be spotted, along with big groupers such as the potato grouper and the black saddle coral groupers. Look out for sting rays resting on the patch of sand and turtles on the channel walls. Show more


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Vaavu Atoll (Felidhe) Reef Basics: Channels, submerged pinnacles, walls and overhangs
Depth: 5 - 40m
Visibility: 20 - 30m
Currents: Moderate to strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner to advanced
Number of dive sites: 23
Diving season: All year round, with the best conditions from January to May
Distance: 75 km from Male
Access: Maldives liveaboard charters

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