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...Highlights: shark action, schooling fish & big pelagics...
...Diving environment: wall dives, drift diving, advanced divers, off the beaten track...

Lhaviyani, or Faadhippolhu as it is known among locals, is a relatively large atoll in the northern region of the Maldives.Its size and large number of sites give dive operators that visit Lhaviyani a great variety of options, making the atoll suitable for all levels of diver. The atoll has a horseshoe shaped lagoon and there are 50 mostly uninhabited islands here, with plenty of channels to dive between them.

Watch endless streams of schooling bannerfish when you dive at the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives - photo courtesy of ScubaZoo

Madivaru is a dive site on the western side of Lhaviyani ('Faadhippolhu') Atoll that features a reef flat at about 6 to 8 metres depth which is normally the point of entry and safety stop on your dive here. The dive is essentially along a more-or-less vertical wall which bottoms out at around 30 metres to a sandy floor. Along the wall there are nooks, crannies and ledges and the scene is teeming with life. Red-toothed triggers flutter just off the wall in multitudes, soldierfish lurk wide-eyed in groups below overhands, and hundreds of butterflyfish of numerous varieties cruise around the substrate in search of a nibble.

These little beauties are joined by larger fish such as small-toothed emperors, Napoleon wrasse and plenty of unicornfish. While in the blue you may spot a passing eagle ray or devil ray, while barracuda and tuna are always likely.

As you make your way back up the wall to the reef flat, you will notice that the benthic life is not enormous. There are no huge barrel sponges or awesome table corals here. The sessile life consists of some sea whips, black coral bushes, small fans and sponges which provide a backdrop to life such as fire dartfish, long-nose hawkfish and innumerable anthias and dottybacks.

Elsewhere at Lhaviyani, there are a few wrecks - the famous Kuredu Express and the Shipyard - and 2 main current swept channels that are popular with scuba divers as here you have a very good chance to see reef sharks.

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Reef Summary: Wall dive
Depth: 6 - 30m
Visibility: 15 -30m
Currents: None to moderate
Surface conditions: Normally calm but can be choppy in southwest monsoon
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner to intermediate
Number of dive sites: 4
Diving season: All year round except June
Distance: 25 km southwest of Kuredu
Access: Maldives liveaboard safari

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