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Website home>Dive Destinations>Maldives>Southern Atolls
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...Highlights: whale sharks, shark action, manta rays, schooling fish & big pelagics...
...Maldives Southern Atolls' diving environment: healthy reefs, drift diving, advanced divers, off the beaten track...

Venture into the Maldives archipelago in the extreme south and you will know how the diving pioneers felt years ago. So much of the ocean and reefs have been unexplored and each liveaboard safari returns with a list of pristine, spectacular new thilas to investigate on the next trip. Resorts are rare and, with only a few liveaboards cruising the Southern Atolls of the Maldive Islands, you will often be the only dive boat as far as you can see.

Visibility is superb in the warm waters surrounding the atolls. Healthy corals are virtually untouched by humans. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions for the Southern Atolls

Laamu Atoll - An area of the Maldives still relatively unexplored, Laamu is characterised by deep channels where strong currents attract sharks, rays, jacks and tuna to hunt for the smaller and abundant reef fish. In terms of dive sites, very little of the atoll has been chartered yet so a liveaboard holiday trip here is likely to bring forth the opportunity of exploration dives. Show more

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How to Dive the Southern Atolls

Since there are very few resorts in the area and the atolls are widely spread, a liveaboard safari is the best way to reach the more exciting dive sites.

For more information on the trip routes and all the other travel information you might need to visit Maldives, read our Outer Atolls liveaboard section.

The popular liveaboards in the Maldives often 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.

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Maldives Southern Atolls Diving Season

Calm seas, consistently warm water temperatures (26-29°C), and good visibility (20-30 metres) allow you to plan a dive vacation in the Southern Atolls all year round. Although short spells of heavy rainfall can be experienced during the months of June and July, manta rays are still in abundance at cleaning stations, hammerheads lurk in the depths, and whale sharks cruise the region all year round.

The summer months from December to May are characteristically hot and dry, and the wind is non-existent, creating the perfect environment for liveaboard diving.

The Far South of the Maldives can be visited all year round by liveaboard charter but diving at Foahmulah Island requires calm seas. This is because the island has poor anchorage opportunities and there are few places for boats to moor up. Water temperatures from December to May in the Far South are also somewhat cooler than the rest of the region, falling to 24°C at times.

Visit Weather AtlasOpens in a new window for a summary on the climate of Filitheyo, in the Southern Atolls.

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Where are the Southern Atolls and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of the Southern Atolls and their host country Maldives. Here, you will find information on how to get to the Maldives, and then on to the Southern Atolls. Your cruise departs from Medhufushi and, as there is an airport on the island, a return flight from Male to Medhufushi makes it easy to reach the Southern Atolls.

Map of the Southern Atolls (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 - 30m
Visibility: 20 - 30m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy in southwest monsoon
Water temperature: 26 - 29°C
Experience level: Preferably advanced with proof of 30 logged dives
Number of dive sites: ~100
Distance: 200 km south of Male
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 12 days

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Useful References

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