The stunning atolls of the Maldives provide some of the best diving in the world and should be on everyones bucket list
Maldives The Maldives are always up there as one of the top dive destinations in the world and should be on every divers bucket list. It's made up as a number of stunning atolls which are surrounded by an underwater paradise teeming with marine life. The Maldives sit to the south west of Sri Lanka lapped by the warm, tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. There are over twelve hundred small atolls, (low lying coral islands) each of the surrounded by beautiful white sand. The land that actually pokes it's head above the crystal clear water here is only fraction of the country's land mass. The majority of the land mass sits below sea level and is formed from a ridge of an underwater volcanic mountain chain with the visible coral tips breaking through the water to give us the stunning islands we all know. These underwater mountains plunge to depths of over three thousand meters with deep water channels separating twenty six atolls from Haa Alifu in the north of the Maldives over eight hundred kilometres down to Addu atoll in the south. It is incredible to think that this highest point of any of the land is only 2.4 meters.
The reason that the Maldives have developed in to such a fabulous dive site is that it has been isolated such a long way from landmass for millions of years. The currents over this time has forged deep channels from the open seas through to the atolls. These deep water channels are rich in plankton and this in turn creates an fantastically rich marine ecosystem right up to the large marine animals and apex predators. Over hundreds of thousands of years the reefs, lagoons, sandbars and islands have evolved into perfect habitats and nurseries for the smaller inhabitants. Diving... The sheer number and variety of marine life in the Maldives is usually put down to the near perfect growing conditions these warm waters provide for coral reefs. These reefs provide ideal habitats for over seven hundred species of fish, many of which are unique to this part of the world but sadly many are endangered. If you are looking for whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and impressive giant Napoleon wrasse then the lagoons in the atolls are a great place to start.
The Maldives is the ideal destination for divers of all abilities and experience. The water temperature varies from 27°C to 29°C so is tropical diving all year round. The local law doesn't request a minimum number of dives and it's a good place to learn. You will dive from 'dhonis' or small wooden local boats so that they can be sure of an accurate entry and exits points. The beauty of the diving here is the opportunity to see such a huge variety of gorgeous hard and soft corals, as well as a good chance to see whale sharks, numerous shark species, manta rays, barracuda, tuna, jacks and turtles.