We are in the process of evaluating new partnership options in the Maldives; although we are not currently taking reservations for Maldives itineraries, the following information is provided for our valuable guests who are booked for upcoming travel on the Carpe Diem Maldives vessels.
Liveaboard Diving in the Maldives
The Maldives consist of 1192 exquisite coral islands in the Indian Ocean, naturally divided into 26 small chains of islands, or atolls. It is an Asian country southwest of Sri Lanka and India, disconnected from the world and not easily found on most world maps. Quickly becoming one of the world’s best diving destinations, the Maldives is known for its abundant coral reefs, crystal waters, white sand beaches, endless dive sites, and famous big animal encounters.
Liveaboard adventures here are remote, exotic, and exciting. The Maldives are sliced through the middle by the equator, meaning each island has its own unique characteristics. All are protected from the deep waters of the Indian ocean with a barrier reef surrounding them. Some atolls also have an outer reef that protects the entire atoll. Your dives will encompass underwater islands, called thilas, found outside and inside of the island channels, as well as barrier reefs and wrecks. The thilas inside the channel or pass are usually the diving spots with the strongest current but also the ones with the most interesting sea life. You’ll have the opportunity to see whale sharks and giant mantas, and with stronger currents you'll encounter even more species of sharks! The Maldives should be on every diver’s ‘bucket-list!’
Diving in the Maldives
Maldives Liveaboard dive holidays are for those tho wish for an extraordinary and memorable experience. The reefs of the Maldives are teeming with life, both large and small. It's not unusual to find sleeping white tip reef sharks during the day dives and then see them hunting at night. Though probably best known for the larger pelagic creatures like whale sharks, mantas, sea turtles and many other species of sharks, the reefs are also home to a surprising number of fish varieties. Anemone fish, octopus as well as many species of moray eels can also be found hanging around. Local dive guides are experts at finding rare creatures like blue ribbon eels, frog fish and scorpion fish. The coral reefs in the Maldives are healthy and colorful with schools of beautiful tropical fish in abundance.
Diving the coral-encrusted thilas, or deep sea mounts, is similar to wall diving. They rise from the bottom to a somewhat flat top between 10 and 50 feet in circumference. Most thila dives start between 70-80 feet from where you work your way up the 'wall' until reaching the top. All dives in the Maldives are 100 feet or less in depth, and many involve current. Experienced guides will lead divers in small groups, typically no more than 7. They are also conducted from a large, well-equipped tender called a dhoni. Diving here is unlike other destinations, the small groups and remote locations mean an intimate diving experience.
During your Maldivian holiday, you’ll have the opportunity to see whale sharks and manta rays. These waters support the world’s largest known population of reef manta rays year-round, and whale sharks are seen year-round. Your experience will vary depending on the itinerary. As you head North during the Southwest Season you'll increase these chances of big animal encounters by dives at manta feeding stations. As you head further South, the more channel diving with stronger currents you'll encounter, along with even more species of sharks! Top this off with the possibility of a wreck dive or two and you really can't ask for more.
With over 26 atolls spanning over 90,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives truly offers a unique experience.
The Maldives are tropical, humid islands with two distinct diving seasons. The diving is great year-round, but choosing which season is right for you is a very important decision. Each season has different characteristics that can greatly affect what you see, and how you dive. These variable factors are Itinerary / Currents / Visibility / Sea life. Not every itinerary, dive site, or price range is for everyone. Take the time now to determine which season is best for you, so you minimize surprises and maximize your dive holiday experience!
Please note: The Maldives waters support the world’s largest known population of reef manta rays year-round, and whale sharks are seen year-round. However, these animals are wild and like most, sightings cannot be predicted. There are higher chances of sightings in the Southwest Season, when there is increased plankton
The Southwest Season: May-October
During the Southwest season from May-October diving on the west side of the atolls can be very active - good visibility typically attracts large schools of pelagic creatures including different species of sharks, tuna, wrasse, rays and turtles. Diving on the east side of the atolls can make this season very special. Though the visibility will be decreased due to the increased plankton, it is the best time and place in the Maldives to see manta rays and whale sharks, making up for the reduced visibility. This is manta feeding season so there are usually more mantas during these months. Because the Maldives is in the equatorial belt, severe storms and cyclones are extremely rare events.
The Northeast Season: November-April
The Northeast season from November-April is the Maldivian summer though there is little difference in temperatures from season to season. Conditions are drier, visibility is generally very good and the reef life is usually colorful. Current can be very strong dependent upon itinerary. Due to currents flowing from the northeast, there can be a lot of shark action on the east side of the atolls. During this season, the manta and whale sharks will mostly be found on the west side of the atolls.
For guests booked prior to August 31, 2018, please see the below reference links: