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Website home>Dive Destinations>Maldives>Far North Atolls
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...Highlights: shark action, manta rays, schooling fish & big pelagics...
...Diving environment: healthy reefs, wall dives, drift diving, caverns, advanced divers, off the beaten track...

Guitar sharks can be found when you're scuba diving in Maldives at the Far North Atolls - photo courtesy of Josef Hochreiter

A vacation escape to the far north rewards you with serenity on your dives since, unlike other areas of the Maldives, you are unlikely to see another liveaboard during your entire cruise. The marine life also seems to revel in the minimal interference from humans with flourishing hard coral growth over most of the submerged boulders. Soft corals do well on the sides of the boulders protected from often strong currents.

The sea creatures that are found here thrive in the nutrient-rich waters, bringing in the reef predators: white and black tip reef sharks. Large numbers of manta rays and leopard sharks populate many of the dive sites in the far north.

Your liveaboard diving adventure in the Far North Atolls will be spiced up with drift dives, cave explorations and even a visit to the Maadhoo wreck. Wall dives are among some of the best you will find in the whole of the Maldives region and the coral reefs shine in the sunny weather and clear waters that make for great visibility of up to 30m.

Dive Site Descriptions

• Haa Alifu Atoll

At Baarah Thila, numerous species of fish including Andaman sweetlips and blackfin barracudas school against a backdrop of hard coral growth while leopard sharks rest on the sandy floor. Moving with the current over this submerged boulder is memorable with the possibility of witnessing over 30 mantas enjoying the attention at a wrasse cleaning station.

• Haa Dhaalu Atoll

Witness huge numbers of black and white tip reef sharks at Nellahidhoo Thila, feeding with apparently no interest in inquisitive scuba divers. If you can distract yourself from the spectacular shark scene you will see giant trevallies and mantas soaring in the blue above you, with moray eels and nudibranchs living in the profusion of healthy coral structures below you.

How to Dive the Far North Atolls

Full access to all the best coral reefs and vibrant marine life in the far north of the Maldives is only possible on a liveaboard safari. Since there is only 1 liveaboard cruising the Far North Atolls, your dive vacation is one adventure after the next with guaranteed large pelagic sightings due to the lack of interruptions from other boats and divers in the area.

A 30 minute domestic flight from Male is required to join these charters. For more information on the tour route and all the other travel information you might need to visit Maldives, read our Outer Atolls liveaboard section.

Liveaboards in the Maldives become fully booked well in advance so we recommend that, to avoid disappointment or having to settle for a sub-standard vacation, you plan to book your trip at least 6 months prior to your proposed dates of travel.

The Maldives Far North Atolls Diving Season

Calm weather makes the Far North Atolls of the Maldives great for scuba diving all year round, with the exception of June and July. The water remains constantly warm throughout the year with little deviation from the 28-30°C range, so you might not want to wear any more than a lightweight shortie. Some divers prefer simply shorts and a rash vest in such comfortable temperatures.

Currents and surface conditions do not really follow seasonal patterns particularly. You can expect sunny skies most of the year with some of the more exposed sites occasionally seeing choppier seas and some of the channels experiencing currents which vary more with daily tidal movements than seasons. Although currents can be strong with choppy wave action, your experienced divemasters can often guide you to the protected side of the thilas, ensuring the conditions work for you, not against you.

Generally the best conditions are from December through to April. The only liveaboard in the area runs confirmed cruises between August and May. The marine creatures that figure strongly in diving the Far North Atolls do so throughout the year with mantas appearing more frequently and in bigger numbers from September to November.

For more useful information on Kulhudhuffushi’s climate and water temperature in the Far North Atolls, visit the Weather SparkOpens in a new window website.

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Where are the Far North Atolls and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of the Far North Atolls and their host country Maldives. Here, you will find information on how to get to the Maldives. After arriving in Male City, a half hour flight takes you to Hanimaadhoo, presenting you with magnificent views of the Maldives atolls and islands along the way.

Map of the Far North Atolls (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Maldives (click to enlarge in a new window)

Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >30m
Visibility: 20 - 30m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy
Water temperature: 28 - 29°C
Experience level: All levels
Number of dive sites: >40
Distance: 280 km north of Male
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days

Useful References

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