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Diving the Maldives | Liveaboard diving in North Male, South Male and Ari Atolls
ghost pipefish

Planning a scuba diving trip to the Maldives can be overwhelming. How do you choose just one of those incredibly beautiful islands? If you feel confused about where to go, make life easy for yourself. Hop on what is endearingly called a 'safari boat' out in the Maldives, a liveaboard to the rest of us.

After being met at the airport, a 10 minute transfer will drop you onto a comfy floating hotel. Depending on the prevailing weather, you then sail around two or even three atolls. Evenings are spent moored near uninhabited islands with almost no neighbours, while days are filled by crossing over to the dive dhoni: this second vessel shadows your floating home and takes you off to find the best dives around.

Routes can cover almost any atoll although the most frequently covered ones are North and South Male and Ari Atolls. The boats do a circuit of the best dives – weather patterns influence the exact dive site choices but being on a boat allows a much larger variety of dives than being on an island as schedules are adjusted daily. Longer schedules will go further afield to more distant atolls that are less busy than those closer to the airport.

North and South Male Atolls, Maldives dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life

Fish, fish, fish
Leopard sharks
manta rays

Seasons year round
Visibility 10 – 30 metres
Water temperature 25 – 29º C
Deco chambers Bandos, Male
Flights to Malé from across Europe or Singapore
Liveaboards the numbers are growing. It's worth sticking with those who are experienced in these waters.

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. It's worth talking to the boat operator before booking a specific route as the liveaboards can and will divert to follow specific animals (such as whalesharks and manta rays) if they move with the currents and weather.
A few years back we travelled on Maldives Scuba Tours’ Sea Queen. She and her sister boat, Sea Spirit, are British owned. The boats are simple but comfortable and incredibly good value for money. There is quite a line-up of chefs that do fabulous curries. And cakes.
Maldives Scuba Tours Sea Spirit
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Complete reports on this area are in
Diving the World.

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