February to April is the time to sail to the southerly Maldives atolls and dive into the shark action in these out-of-the-way southern dive sites. From Male we take you to Kooddoo by plane to join your liveaboard. Then it’s off on our adventure, at Huvadhoo, one of the deepest lagoons in the Maldives, the currents are ideal for even more shark sightings including hopefully whale sharks and silkies, hammerheads, tiger and grey sharks spotted most of the time. There are swift channel dives with several kandus; Vilingilli, Nilandhoo, Mareehaa and Kondeey, as well as reef thila dives; Gazeera and Vaadhoo. The night dive on the Hyatt Reef is definitely one to be experienced.
One of the biggest population of Oceanic Mantas and Mobulas use this area as cleaning station through out the year. Seasonally they arrive for matting, when divers can enjoy dozens of them exposing playful breeding behaviour. The gorgeous schools of Great and Scalloped Hammerheads stay on the current. Giant travellers whale sharks encountered throughout the year.
This remote area of the Indian Ocean is only accessible by liveaboard and therefore, remains mostly unchartered. There are two distinct districts, Northern Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Alifu) in the north, and Southern Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Dhaalu) in the south. The atoll is the 10th largest in the world, giving ample reef rim space for diverse marine wildlife. There are more than 230 islands at the center of its lagoon – more than any other atoll in the Maldives. The sapphire-colored lagoon inside the atoll is one of the deepest in the Maldives, the lagoon bottom is covered with sand and reaches a maximum depth of 90 meters. The strong currents bring lots of pelagic and reef life; whalesharks, silkies, hammerheads and grey sharks all frequent this area. Channel dives like Vilingilli, Nilandhoo, Mareehaa and Kondeey and reef dives like Gazeeraand Vaadhoo are not to be missed. Divers can experience unforgettable displays of manta rays, eagle rays, sea turtles and reef sharks. Staghorn coral reaches toward the sunlight as black and white tip reef sharks patrol the ecosystem below. Angelfish, clownfish, anemones and lionfish guard their small patches of reef. The Hitraadhoo Nature Reserve provides shelter to nesting turtles
With a length of 48 kilometers and no resort, it’s exploration is still very much in-progress, prepare to descend at incredible sites that have seen few or no divers before. Big schools of fish like tuna and jacks can be found in deep channels. In fact, some say that Laamu tops all the atolls of the country in terms of large schools of fish. While drift-diving these kandus, expect to see whitetip reef sharks and eagle rays as well. The lagoons, some of which are over 70 meters deep, also hold incredible fish biomass.
You are almost guaranteed to see manta rays on every dive. The eastern and western rims are characterised by deep channels with currents that sweep in plankton-rich water, sustaining healthy soft corals and thriving marine life. Large numbers of a variety of pelagics populate the channels. In addition to manta rays and the occasional appearance of a magnificent whale shark; grey reef sharks, mobulas and eagle rays can be spotted almost everywhere. The Mulaku Kandu channel in the north east is peppered with submerged pinnacles covered in predominantly soft corals whilst snappers and jacks are abundant in some parts. Rays and sharks can be spotted as you descend and ifurther north along the reef is an overhang rich in soft coral. The wall below is home to moray eels, while sting rays sleep in the depths and groupers look for snacks in the coral formations. At Medhufushi Thila, you descend through the warm, clear waters of a north eastern channel situated between 2 wide lagoons,. Dolphins might accompany you to the start of your dive on the northern side of the thila. Peaking at 4m below the Indian Ocean’s surface, the thila is covered in a colourful selection of hard corals. You could descend to as low as 35m to take a look at the steep wall with overhangs, but remember to save bottom time to scout out the caves and marvel at the countless reef fish. The current is virtually non-existent here, making it one of the few Southern Atolls sites that are suitable for scuba divers of all skill levels.