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Best of the Southern Atolls

QUALIFICATION NEEDED: Minimum 50 dives and PADI Advanced Open Water required due to more challenging dive sites.

Head to the southern reaches of the Maldives between January and April for these thrilling diving itineraries. These trips get away from the crowds by venturing deep South and take advantage of the strongest currents and best visibility to enjoy the abundance of sharks the Maldives has to offer. This trip is suitable for experienced divers only due to the currents and diving involved. 

Enter a wonderful world of beautiful coral formations, channel dives and submerged pinnacles. There really is so much to explore in this diving adventure with the possibility of shark, eagle ray, tuna, manta ray and whale shark sightings. Itineraries either begin in Male and head south to finish in the southern Maldives at Koodoo, or operate the same itinerary in reverse. 


These itineraries require a domestic flight to or from the southern Maldives.


Please note: The following itinerary highligts are a sample only and any itinerary is subject to change without notice. The itinerary and dive sites visited will depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites.


Itinerary Highlights


North Male Atoll: There are dive sites here to suite all tastes and abilities. Manta Point may be the most famous, get ready to see more mantas than you can keep track of, as well as sharks and other reef residents. Another top location is Girifushi Thila, the current here is full-on, so expect a drift dive alongside scenery of colorful soft corals and water full of fish, including rays, sharks, and tuna. One of the best-loved and first-discovered is Banana Reef, which still showcases healthy thickets of branching corals. Along the curve of this banana-shaped reef, giant grouper and morays can be found. A huge school of bannerfish hangs in the current at the edge, and a few incredible caverns call for investigation. In another area, the impressive 100 metre Maldives Victory Wreck, has enjoyed over thirty years of colonisation by creatures of the sea. The current can be strong but once you find in sheltered areas you can enjoy the big and small fish and invertebrates that have made this wreck their home. More sharks are available at Miyaru Faru, where divers watch the blue-water show from the safety of an overhang on the wall. The incoming current brings crystal-clear water and pelagics, including manta rays, eagle rays, tuna, and more. Two stunning sites for less experienced divers are Hans Haas Place with plenty of overhangs and small caves, and Back Faru, which offers good reef and pelagic life in incredibly low-stress conditions.


Felidhoo (Vaavu) Atoll: In the waters around Felidhoo's relatively undeveloped 19 islands, deep, fast-flowing channels promise abundant sharks and big pelagics like manta rays. At this easternmost area of the country, the Fotteyo barrier reef stretches for 50 kilometres along the open ocean, offering plenty of opportunities to see large marine life. While kandus (channels from the open ocean into an atoll) and thilas (pinnacles, or sea-mounts) characterise Maldives diving throughout the archipelago, Felidhoo boasts one of the best kandu scenes in the country. Besides kandu diving, Felidhoo also offers a fantastic night diving. Fotteyo Kandu is considered one of the Maldives' top sites, within this narrow channel, reef sharks and plenty of fish can be expected, including big groupers, and (if you're very lucky) hammerheads. There are plenty of overhangs and swim-throughs, which add variety to the dive and give photographers plenty of opportunities. Miyaru Kandu, is another diving highlight with schools of grey reef and whitetip reef sharks, as well as a variety of other big pelagic and reef fish. Overhangs, small caves, and hard and soft corals diversify the channel's topography. Miyaru is known as a good site for mantas, and in general, the entire Felidhoo Atoll provides good manta sightings, especially between May and July. At Alimathaa Island, two kandus named Devana and Dhekunu offer the chance to see pelagic rays in the blue water, as well as sharks, tuna, and big schools of reef fish. The current in these channels can be very strong. For a slower-paced, but no less thrilling experience, Alimathaa Jetty provides the opportunity for a night dive with nurse sharks and stingrays.


Meemu Atoll: 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 further 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.


Thaa Atoll: One of the least-explored areas of the Maldives and a good location for whale sharks. Whilst these gentle giants are rare, some of the other Maldives favourites can be seen regularly, such as schools of eagle rays, and big reef fish like Napoleon wrasse. Healthy corals decorate the craggy wall at the site 7-Up, and nearby, a large garden of gorgonian fans makes a pretty landscape for circling manta rays. The strong currents of Thaa's large kandus ensure that sharks are plentiful, especially whitetips.


Laamu Atoll: With a length of 48 kilometres and no resort, its 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 metres deep, also hold incredible fish biomass.


Huvadhoo Atoll: 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-coloured 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 metres. 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 Gazeera and 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.



Please note: Due to weather and diving conditions, it's not always possible to visit each Atoll. Your Cruise Director will decide the best ones to visit at the time of diving.