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If you look on a map, you can barely spot the Maldives sitting in the Laccadive Sea just southwest of Sri Lanka and India, but the Maldives is an archipelago that makes up almost 2000 islands, with less than 300 inhabited, across 26 atolls. When you fly to the islands all you see is white sand surrounded by turquoise water. Together with being one of the best places in the world to scuba dive with manta rays and whale sharks, the Maldives is truly a beach vacationer’s paradise! However, with sea levels on the rise, how much longer will the Maldives exist?

Scuba Diving in the Maldives

Scuba diving in the Maldives is very popular as you can shore dive on one of the many house reefs (reefs close to a resort that offer shore diving), hop on a charter boat, or stay on a liveaboard. The Maldives offers great drift diving as you glide through the Indian Monsoon Current past some incredible coral-filled walls steaming with life.

Plane view of the Maldives

Best Places to Dive

Vaavu Atoll

There are deep channels in Vaavu Atoll featuring schooling reef sharks. Fotteyo Kandu in Vaavu Atoll is considered the best dive site in the Maldives. Vibrant coral and plentiful fish await you at this dive site, and you may even see reef sharks, tuna, manta rays, eagle rays, and groupers. There are also caves, overhangs, and swim-throughs.

Ari Atoll

The Ari Atoll is the most reliable place to see pelagics. Whale sharks, manta rays, hammerheads, eagle rays, grey reef and white tip sharks, and many large schools of barracuda and batfish frequent the area. In the South Ari Atoll, Broken Rock and Kudarah Thila offer canyons and overhangs full of coral and moray eels.

Other places worth a visit for the beautiful coral and, of course, pelagic animals is Kuredu Express in Lhaviyani Atoll where there is a very strong current, hence the name, and where manta rays are often seen. The Okobe Thila in North Male Atoll and Kandooma Thila in South Male Atoll offer pinnacles and are also very popular sites for scuba diving in the Maldives. You can also catch a glimpse of thresher and tiger sharks at Foahmulah Island.

When to go

There is year-round scuba diving in the Maldives, but the monsoon season is April through October and best avoided to optimize your diving experience. In addition, with climate change, the Maldives are at risk of disappearing so bring scuba diving in the Maldives to the top of your list and make it your next dive trip!

Climate Change Impact on the Maldives

The Maldives offers some of the most beautiful beaches, reefs, and scuba diving locations in the entire world, but will the Maldives be in existence for much longer? We often hear about climate change affecting our oceans. The Maldives are not alone as the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, and Seychelles are also all in danger of flooding, lack of freshwater, and infrastructure damage due to climate change. The Maldives are uniquely susceptible to climate change in that it is the world’s lowest country, and there are numerous islands that could become uninhabitable with a rise in the ocean level. The people of the Maldives are attempting to reinforce the land so that it can survive the rise in sea level and other damaging factors due to climate change so they will not be forced to move. The Maldives signed the world’s first Strategic National Action Plan in 2011 to take action in adaptation to climate change. Only time will tell if their efforts along with help from other organizations will keep their country from becoming uninhabitable.

Act Now!

What are you waiting for? Get out and see the Maldives before they no longer accept visitors! You can find some excellent dive packages to the Maldives right here with Atlantic Adventure Divers.

Article by Candace Reno, avid #AtlAdvDivers scuba blogger and PADI IDC Staff Instructor. For more articles click here.