For those who like to combine diving and culture, a stay in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, will leave you unforgettable memories!
Maldives located southwest of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), with over 1,100 islands comprise this nation in 60,000 square miles of Indian Ocean. From the air, its atolls offer some of the most scenic seascapes on Earth. Much of the diving here is current diving, which also equals to plenty of big animal encounters such as sharks and manta rays. Cruising through the atolls is the best way to cover the prime dive sites on North Male Atoll, South Male Atoll and Ari Atoll. The leeward side of the pinnacles, walls and channels shelter large schools of fish in water with visibility that sometimes exceeds 200 feet.
Diving in Maldives
The Maldives have fascinated divers and snorkelers for many years but their remote location has kept many North American divers at bay. These days, however, access is better than ever to one of the world's most revered dive destinations. Located south of India in the Indian Ocean and spanning the equator, the archipelago stretches almost 550 miles from North to South and 90 miles from east to west. Sunny, unique and unspoiled, the Maldives is an archipelago comprised of 1,192 islands in 26 atolls.
The destination is unique in that outside of the capitol of Male, there is very little in the way of commercial development. Resorts are predominantly private island resorts, which are accessed by speedboat or seaplane. PADI 5-star operators are plentiful and capable of catering to the needs and desires of the experienced certified diver as well as providing introductory scuba for novices in a plethora of languages.
The optimal way for divers to experience the Maldives is a combination of both live-aboard and land-based stays. Plan at least 7 nights aboard one of the several top-rated "safari boats" (as the live-aboard are called in the Maldives) and visit a wider range of atolls and remote sites not accessible from land-based resorts and dive 4-5 times per day. Then check into one of the luxurious private island resorts for a few days of sun, spa and a more relaxed dive schedule. Strangely enough, while most visitors to the Maldives are from Europe or Japan, prices in many resorts tend to be set in US dollars. Credit cards are widely accepted as well as hard foreign currency in resorts and on live-aboard.
The vast majorities operates out of Male and most (if not all), was constructed in the Maldives and vary greatly in both their quality of construction and the crew's expertise and knowledge of the regions diving and their ability to deliver the highest quality experience. It is vitally important to travel with operators that not only have the experience and expertise but also practice safely and responsibly while providing divers with optimal service and accommodations.
The weather in the Maldives is sub-tropical, with two monsoon seasons – hot, humid and dry in northeast monsoon (November to March) and rainy in southwest monsoon (June to October). The sun shines year round. Average temperature around 84-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Visibility can drop significantly at some locations during the southwest monsoon but the trade off provides a larger concentration of mantas and other big animal encounters (including whale sharks).
The Maldives is home to some of the most diverse marine fauna and flora in the world. Thousands of reefs, a thousand recorded species of fish, over two hundred species of coral and hundreds more species of other marine life - no wonder many see this as one of the greatest dive destinations on Earth.