Scuba Diving in Maldives is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences that one can have in their lives. The Maldives, with its perfect tropical climate and abundant sunlight, is home to the most diverse sets of marine ecosystems. And scuba diving is a peek into this glorious, aquamarine world.
Can I go Scuba-diving if I don’t know how to Swim?
The answer is absolutely yes! The introductory scuba-diving packages that are generally offered at many locations in the Maldives allow you to explore underwater under the guidance of a professional, and this does not require that you know how to swim. Now that we have got this sorted, let’s see what wonders await you when you choose to scuba-dive in the Maldives.
Best Time to Scuba-Dive in the Maldives
Scuba-diving in Maldives is active all around the year. The major liveaboards need to be booked beforehand, the major booking season being November to May. The scuba diving in Maldives cost might vary for dive sites and your bookings in the off-season might not be as per your choice, but it almost works out well every time. Here is a basic reason-based breakdown of diving in the Maldives:
The northeast monsoon: This season runs from late November/ early December till May. There is a lack of wind during this period, and this means there are clear skies and calm waters. There is a slight variation of visibility on the eastern and western atolls, but overall it is excellent during this season. Also, the current is the strongest around this time.
The southwest monsoon: June to November is the time when it’s usually cloudy, and the winds are on the stronger end. Also, the sea is slightly more volatile. But to its credit, the season does still gets plenty of sun as well. June-July are the monsoon months, so the seas are on the rise, usually.
Water temperature is mostly constant throughout the year at 26-29°C, making it ideal to scuba-dive.
What Should I be Expecting?
Maldives is home to one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the whole world. Given that the water temperatures remain more or less constant here, larger underwater fauna such as turtles, reef sharks, mantas, and whale sharks can be spotted all around the year.
During your dive, you can expect to see common dolphins; turtles, manta and eagle rays, and whitetip reef sharks at all times of the year. Diving in Maldives in December and April, it is common to see Hammerhead sharks. Sometimes it’s also possible to spot them between May and November. You can see Leopard sharks every month except June and July. If you are keen on seeing whale sharks, the time for that is between February and November.
Where to Scuba-dive in the Maldives?
Where you dive depends upon your experience. There are separate sites for experienced divers and beginners. Here is a broad breakdown of where you can possibly look for your ideal scuba diving experiences.
• North Male Atoll
This site has some of the oldest and the first discovered dive sites in the Maldives, which includes Gaathugiri, also known as the ‘Banana Reef.’ The site also offers spellbinding scenery aplenty with awesome rock faces and many caves.
• South Male
South Male atoll has six main areas where marine life is vibrant. Although coral is not the strong suit of this site, you can still have a rendezvous with plenty of schools of fish, whitetips, grey reef sharks, eagle rays, and manta rays. You can also check out the colorful and fascinating wreck known as Kuda Giri wreck. Brightly colored sponges have subsumed it completely, and a variety of fishes roam about inside and outside it.
• Northern Atolls
These atolls on the northern side include Baa, Lhaviyani, Noonu, and Raa Atoll. Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where both beginners and advanced divers can dive. If you book a liveaboard, they are relatively less frequent in this area, when compared to the central atoll. There are a lot of services and therefore, more traffic.
You might not find great coral everywhere, but plush marine life is abundant here as well. Some areas far in the north might require a seaplane to drop you at a dive-site.
• The Southern Atolls
The southern atolls lie to the south of the central region. The area includes Laamu, Meemu, Thaa, and Vaavu atolls. A lot of gorgeous marine life will welcome you here as well. Large schools of fish are guaranteed to surround you.
The Vaavu Atoll is one of the most important sites, as it features the Fotteyo Kandu which has a number of large overhangs and caves. It is considered one of the best places in the world to dive.
The Deep South Atolls comprises atolls, namely Addu, Huvadhoo (Gaafu), and Fuvahmulah, and promise exhilarating shark sightings, including some rare species of sharks.
The prices are usually set by different agencies or liveaboards that you book for scuba diving. However, the following is an approximation for different diving setups that tourists from around the world prefer.
For one single dive: USD 108 or INR 8,040
For 6 dives package: USD 598 or INR 44,520
For 10 dives package: USD 960 or INR 71,470
For 20 dives package: USD 1835 or INR 1,36, 600
The diving module consists of transfer by a jetty or a boat to the dive site. This includes: A guide/instructor and a full equipment package containing a regulator, wet suit, BCD, and a computer.
Some places also offer a personal equipment discount which may be up to 10% on dive prices in case you are carrying your own equipment.
Please note that all prices are subject to a service charge of 2%. GST 12% included. Also, you must make advance bookings for liveaboards. Contact your destination beforehand to gather more information about agencies offering diving services.
(Featured image credits: pinterest)