Posted by admin | Posted in Holidays in the Maldives, Maldives Liveaboards, Maldives Scuba Diving, Safari Boats Maldives, The Maldives | Posted on 16-07-2012
If you felt that going to a resort or on a cruise near the center of a country – its capital city – would involve being in the busy rush that accompanies civilization, you must check out the remote areas of the Maldives, at the North and the South.
You wouldn’t want to have to be with large groups of people on your vacation, especially if you’d spent a significant time planning it and spending on it. While diving is never a solitary sport, you still can choose to be with as few people as possible, if you book a safari boat with your buddies, or a guest house.
But what if you’d really rather go off the beaten path? In the Maldives, we don’t really have paths, but rather, places that attract people in droves. Ever since Hanifaru Bay became a protected area, everyone’s been raving about the whales sharks and the manta rays that congregate in the bay.
Yet the adventurer always seeks out the new.
Rural Maldives, above and below sea level
Travelling to atolls north of Baa and Lhavivani usually gets you away from the hubbub, and into a time and place that is extraordinarily conserved, when judging by the fact that the rest of the country is rushing into the modern era. The marine diversity is amazing and very raw, and is perfect for divers who love exploring new places.
One has fewer encounters with whales sharks and mantas in this region, and dives can be a bit tricky, considering the stronger currents and larger geography. Many famous wrecks are located in this area, and most have run aground on the Maamakunudhoo Atoll, which is enroute to Bengal, in the way of ancient sailors.
Also known as the Malcolm Atoll in the British Admiralty Charts, Maamakunudhoo Atoll is grouped with the Haa Atoll, which also probably is the largest atoll on Earth of this kind.
Chances are that you might actually run across these wrecks, like the Persia Merchant that ran aground in the 17th century, and the Hayston and the George Reid dated in the 19th century. However, it’s important to note that the steep edges of the reef and the violent surf around the Maamakunudhoo Atoll swept away much of the wreckage within hours, but you might just be lucky enough to find some of it strewn across the floor of the lagoon.
In the opposite direction, towards the south…
You might be a little disappointed when diving in the southernmost atoll of the Maldives, the Addu Atoll, if you expect to see a lot of reef fish. Others, who love wrecks and larger marine animals would be delighted though, with the profusion of white tip and grey sharks, turtles and other pelagics. The four seas of Addu ae known as the Gan Kandu, the Viligili Kandu, the Maa Kandu and Kuda Kandu. The channels into the heart-shaped atoll have few caves, and the currents are relatively strong due to the fact that Addu is almost a full enclosure from the ocean around it.
There are many dive points in the area, and two of the noteworthy resorts in the region have regular trips. Near Herathera Island, know known as Amari Addu Maldives Resort, the dive spot called Las Pueblas is a place to come across turtles and barracuda. But what’s most interesting about this dive spot is that it’s also named after the cliff cities of the south western native Americans, as the reef has a steep wall containing many small caves. The reef edge of Herathera Island is at a depth of 20 meters and drops 55 meters to a sand plateau.
If you’re in the mood for a slow drift dive, you can opt for the Maa Kandu Beyru dive spot. Great for novice divers, this dive offers sights of beautiful table and brain corals, and school of fusilier, eagle rays, turtles and glimpses of manta rays make this a memorable dive.
For the more daring, Shark Point proves to be a suitable choice. On the north east tip of the atoll, on the outer side of Hulhumeedhoo island, the outside reef drops from 5 to 30 meters to a sand plateau, 30 meters wide. Here you’ll find a rather interesting congregation of sharks, where about 15 white-tip sharks or 5 grey sharks can be found at any given time. Beyond the plateau, towards the open ocean, the reef drops to more than 60 meters in depth, and on days when the waters are clear, you can see big sharks swimming in the deep blue below.
Indeed, even if you’re tired of diving, Addu and the northern Haa atoll are still interesting places to be. In the North you’ll find the well preserved Utheemu Palace, which is the birthplace of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, a national hero. In the south, the lovely causeway that connects 4 islands together is a great drive en route a tour to visit the remains of the British battery built early in the Second World War, in Hithadhoo, after you’ve seen the British War Memorial at Gan Island.
- Classical Maldivian safari dives.
- Maldivian Government Moves to Protect its Whale Sharks and Allocates Protect Areas
- Maldivian Ministry Bans Reef Shark Fishing