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Diving the Maldives | Liveaboard diving in the central atolls
Schooling batfish

Over the years the Maldives has changed greatly. Once there were just a handful of islands converted to self-contained resorts and now there are over 100. Likewise, liveaboards have burgeoned and there are very many vessels to choose from.

Operators have taken note of this and, in the quest for a little isolation, have increased the distances they are willing to travel. After boarding in Malé, you sail off then, depending on the prevailing weather, may find you are diving in two, three or even more different atolls. The central zone was once just Malé and Ari atolls but now includes others like Lhaviyani and Shaviyani atolls – although it's unlikely that boats will head to the far south.

The practice is to monitor sightings of the bigger creatures the country is known for and then try to find them. If the weather is bad or the visibility down as it was on this trip, there is always a mass of colourful tropical fish or a new wreck to explore.

Maldives central atolls dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life

Fish, fish, fish
manta rays
sharks and whale sharks

Seasons year round
Visibility 10 – 30 metres
Water temperature 25 – 29º C
Deco chambers Bandos, Male
Flights to Malé from across Europe or Singapore
Accommodation If you need a night or two as a stopover, Bandos Island resort is just 15 minutes from the airport and delightful.
Liveaboards the numbers are growing. It's worth looking around and getting a recommendation.

The Maldives is always a reliably exciting diving destination and being on a liveaboard means you can experience far more than being land based. Sailing from one atoll to another is easy as distances are smaller than you might expect. However, the number of dives per day are limited as it can be hard for the boats to moor up in appropriate night diving areas.

The diving is always good no matter where or when you go but conditions vary based on weather patterns. Talk to the boat operator before booking a specific route as the liveaboards can and will divert to follow specific animals (such as whale sharks and manta rays) if they move with the currents and weather.
This most recent trip was on a larger modern vessel, Carpe Vita, and that made for a higher level of comfort than we have experienced in the past. The diving was as good as ever, with sharks and mantas, turtles and masses of fish. We saw a few more wrecks than we have done in the past, which added variety, although these were mostly small boats that were crowded with the numbers of divers.
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ghost pipefish

Complete reports on this area are in
Diving the World.

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