The Maldives Far South Dive Sites
The far south atolls of the Maldives are remote and relatively unexplored offering adventurous divers a chance to dive in places rarely seen by others.
The Maldives far south dive sites are as remote as you will find worldwide. Many of the atolls are have mostly unexplored dive sites with some explorations made on the cruises.
Swimming with sharks is a frequent occurrence, and manta rays frequent the many cleaning stations of the area. Sharks can include silky, black and white tips, hammerheads, greys and whale sharks
Marine life is varied with many schooling fish surrounding the reefs. Turtles, Napoleon wrasse and eagle rays on some of the sights. Topography is a mix of channels, walls, pinnacles and even wreck dive here.
There are some good macro sights with pipefish, seahorses, nudibranchs and frogfish.
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The Maldives Far South Dive Sites - 31 LIVEABOARDS
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The atolls in the far south of the Maldives are Meemu, Faafu, Thaa, Laamu, Addu, Huvadhoo and Fuvahmulah.
Meemu Atoll Highlights
Meemu Atoll is an area where manta rays are predictable and seen on most dives. Whale shark season is May to December and the occasional hammerhead shark can be seen. Soft and hard corals with pinnacles, walls with drop-offs are here and dive sites are open to both experienced and some beginner divers.
Mantas and More
The frequent sightings of mantas resulted in the name Mantas and More. The site has deep channels and a rich and diverse marine life. Eagle rays and grey reef sharks can be spotted between the pinnacles.
Mulee Island is one of the best dive sites in Meemu where juvenile mantas are commonly found from May to December each year. The strong currents have resulted in cleaning stations where multiple mantas can be seen at a time. The site also has a healthy coral reef with tuna and Napoleon wrasse.
Sharks Tongue is a more advanced site with a shallow area with schooling reef fish descending to 30m where the sharks congregate. White and black tip reef sharks along with grey and silvertip are present here.
Faafu Atoll Highlights
Faafu Atoll is suitable for all levels of divers and is southwest of Male. There is one resort in the Atoll where they scuttled two wrecks on their house reef at 30m of depth.
The atoll has many channels to the east and manta rays can be seen year round but are more common from December to May. Whale sharks occasionally visit, but barracuda, Napoleon and reef sharks are common.
The reefs around Faafu Atoll have many turtles, sharks, eels, groupers and lobsters, with special sightings of ghost pipefish and frogfish. Anemones sea fans and pristine corals are common.
Located on the inner atoll, named as many divers return here again and again to enjoy the easy shallow dive. A plateau at 6m has a coral garden that leads to a wall down to 23m where there is good macro life and frogfish, in the blue, tuna hunting and reef sharks are patrolling.
Jumping Jack is a channel dive that can have currents so more suited to experienced divers. There are seven pinnacles covered in corals with morays, napoleon wrasse, eagle rays and sharks.
Manta Point is on the west of the atoll and is a gently sloping reef leading to a channel. There are cleaning stations, and manta sightings are common, whale sharks have been known to appear.
Thaa Atoll Highlights
Thaa Atoll is unexplored and until recently only reachable by liveaboard. Pinnacles, channels, walls, overhangs and coral gardens are typical here. Thaa Atoll is known for many whale shark sightings, but there is much more to the area, schools of tuna, barracuda, rays, sharks and napoleon wrasse.
Caribbean Garden has minimal currents mostly so suitable for all diver certification levels. It is a pinnacle form 6m to 40m with a sandy plateau. Colourful corals cover the area with batfish, turtles and white tip reef sharks.
Gorgonian Garden is a long reef that has more currents so suitable for drift diving. As the name suggests, there are many gorgonian sea fans and a small cave with soft corals. Look for nudibranchs and small coral crabs and shrimp. Schooling fusileers and batfish are joined by manta rays here.
Dutch Divide is for experienced divers with overhangs, swim-throughs and some strong currents. A deeper dive starting at 26m down to 35m with soft corals and sponges, snappers and barracuda can be found hunting many glassfish, look for reef sharks here.
Laamu Atoll Highlights
Laamu Atoll is a remote area with few divers that is suitable for both beginner and experienced divers. There are fewer currents here as fewer channels exist resulting in excellent visibility. The inside walls have soft corals with good macro life, the pinnacles with many overhangs are homes to reef sharks and schooling mobula rays. Whale sharks have been seen here in the western area.
The outer reef is deeper and relatively unexplored, large schools of fish, white tips and eagle rays can be found here.
There is a manta cleaning station at Hithadhoo corner where they are present year-round, depths are 8 to 22m, it is a reef with coral bommies. The manta rays are the highlight, but other sightings include Jenkins rays
One channel dive here is Fushi Kandi where there is a shallower drift dive at 15m covering a 250m area. Barracuda are found in the whole length of the dive, at the edge of the atoll the drop off to 35m has a sandy plateau where white tip reef sharks can be found. Napoleon wrasse are common here.
Addu Atoll Highlights
Addu Atoll is the location of the island of Gan which was a Royal Air Force station in the past.
The wreck of the oil tanker the British Loyalty is in this area, she was damaged by a torpedo in 1946 and sank close by. Sat at 33 to 16m of water lying on her port side the 134m wreck cannot be penetrated but has some interesting features with the propeller and railings. Covered in table corals there are turtles and leaf fish found here.
Shark Point is on the northeast of the atoll and has a reef with drop-off down to 30m where there is a sandy plateau. A large population of grey reef sharks are found here along with the occasional larger one.
Huvadhoo Atoll Highlights
Huvadhoo Atoll is the largest of the Atolls in the Maldives at 3000 km2. There are a deep lagoon and fringing reef with channels and pinnacles. Between January and March, many shark species can be found here, black and white tips, tigers nurse and the occasional hammerhead shark. Other everyday marine life that can be spotted are turtles and stingrays that complement the pristine reefs that are mainly unexplored.
Fuvahmulah Atoll Highlights
Fuvahmulah Atoll is an island that often due to its exposed nature has large waves, so mooring the vessels can be a challenge, as such this area is suitable for more experienced divers. Depths range with an average of 20m along drifting along walls with excellent visibility.
Much of the area is unexplored but initial dives suggest some exciting marine life is there. Thresher sharks, Oceanic white tips and tiger sharks are found here along with the unique sightings of the oceanic manta rays which are around 30% larger than the reef manta rays found in the rest of the Maldives sites.
The liveaboard cruises in the Maldives offer snorkelling when the boat is moored and beach visits. Some cruises have a BBQ on the beach.
Marine Park and Conservation in The Maldives
The Maldives has three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that were formed in June 2009 by the Maldivian government. The Baa Atoll area is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. There are plans to increase the size of this area by making the whole of the Maldives a UNESCO marine reserve.