Liveaboard Diving in Southern Atolls

What To Expect On A Southern Atolls Liveaboard

Maldives liveaboard diving in the Southern Atolls is like taking a step back in time; this area evokes the Central Atolls when they were first discovered by tourism. Dive cruises in the Southern Atolls will likely have the water all to themselves. The undisturbed marine environment holds everything divers could wish for from a Maldives liveaboard: reef sharks, mantas, big fish, and whale sharks. Southern Atolls dive dhonis are still discovering new sites on these itineraries, so you may have the chance to see the next famous Maldives location before anyone else does.

Southern Atolls Underwater

The currents rushing down Southern Atolls kandus attract big schools of predatory jacks searching for a meal, mantas and eagle rays circling cleaning stations, grey reef sharks patrolling the reef surface. At a few dive areas, whale sharks sedately gorge on plankton or pass through. There are even some areas with excellent hard coral cover. Experienced divers will be best able to manage the fast currents and enjoy the reef life that abounds along the Southern Atolls' walls, channels, and pinnacles.

Dive Areas Of The Southern Atolls

Thaa Atoll, one of the least-explored areas of the Maldives, is a good Southern Atoll location for whale sharks. But while these gentle giants are rare, some other Maldives favorites can be seen regularly, such as schools of eagle rays and big reef fish like Napoleon wrasse. Healthy corals decorate the craggy wall at the site 7-Up, and nearby, a large garden of gorgonian fans makes a pretty landscape for circling manta rays. The strong currents of Thaa's large kandus ensure that sharks are plentiful, especially whitetips.

Laamu Atoll - With a length of 48 kilometers and no resort, its exploration is still very much in progress; if your Southern Atolls dive tour ventures to Laamu's outer reef, prepare to descend at incredible sites that have seen few or no divers before. Big schools of fish like tuna and jacks can be found in Laamu's deep channels. Some say that Laamu tops all the country's atolls regarding large schools of fish. While drift-diving these kandus, expect to see whitetip reef sharks and eagle rays. The lagoons, some over 70 meters deep, also hold incredible fish biomass.

Meemu Atoll, like in Thaa, whale sharks appear every once in a while, but manta rays can be seen on almost every dive. Mantas and More is one site particularly notable for the frequency of visits from these winged giants. The channels at Meemu are also deep, and their sea life is rich; Meemu divers are virtually ensured of eagle ray and grey reef shark sightings along the atoll's rugged underwater cliffs. Swaying soft corals add color to the caverns and walls of Meemu's thilas, which host a variety of reef fish that attract tuna and jacks. At Medhufushi Thila, the current even relaxes a bit, allowing a rare opportunity for less experienced divers to jump in the water without stress.

Nilandhe Atoll offers some thrilling diving, wherein the current brings you from pinnacle to pinnacle instead of through a channel. Particularly at the site Jumping Jack, divers can make an underwater traverse from one island to another by "thila-hopping," each thila maintains its reef life population, supporting predators like sharks and tuna. In the stretches of blue water between thilas, sharks, and schools of eagle rays can be seen. Turtles are plentiful in some areas of Nilandhe, and a marine protected area is placed around five thilas in the middle of a channel to support the abundance of Nilandhe's reef life for perpetuity.

Top Tips for Divers

In the Maldives, a new Green Tax of 6 USD per person per night applies to every tourist in the country. The official language is Maldivian, also called Dhivehi.

Especially with newly emerging dive areas like the Southern Atolls, staying on top of your research can help you plan your ideal Maldives liveaboard trip. It's worthwhile to check recent reviews by visitors and blogs by local dive shops; this way, you'll know about incredible, newly-discovered destinations, and you'll be able to ask your potential liveaboards if they visit them. Suppose you're excited about the possibility of exploration dives. In that case, you may also want to contact your potential liveaboards in advance to find out which ship is most likely to do this experimental sort of dive tourism.

Gear to bring includes your own mask, booties, fins, and dive computer. These are personalized pieces of equipment that we donít recommend renting. An ill-fitting mask or fins can make diving virtually impossible, and a dive computer is your most important safety equipment.

Getting To The Southern Atolls

The Southern Atolls are best dived by Maldives liveaboard; in no other way can you access so many dive sites, often near uninhabited islands or far from land. The length of liveaboard itineraries in the Southern Atolls usually ranges from 7 to 10 nights, with a budget from 200 to a bit over 300 euros per night. Southern Atolls liveaboards sometimes include the Central Atolls, and a few even add the Deep South Atolls in a north-south traverse that crosses half of the archipelago.

The Maldives capital Male, is one liveaboard departure location for Southern Atolls liveaboards, accessible by direct flights from Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo. However, many other Southern Atolls departure ports exist, including Kadhoo, Koodoo, Laamu, Medfushi, and Gan (in the deep south). Visitors should take a domestic seaplane to get to these locations from Male; trips are usually around an hour. International flights often connect through the regional airports mentioned above to reach Male from Europe, America, China, India, and Australia.

Diving the Southern Atolls is possible all year round, even more so than the rest of the Maldives. The conditions are ideal during the northeast monsoon from December through May, with calm seas and little chance of rain. The water temperature usually stays between 26 and 29 C, and visibility tends to be excellent, between 20 and 30 meters.

Southern Atolls Diving Reviews

  • 9.5 Exceptional
  • 8 Verified Reviews
  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Laura S
  • United States United States

One of the best dive sites of the trip was Myaru Kandu. SCHOOLS of eagle rays and sharks.

Diving Southern Atolls in January on the Princess Sara

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Josje A
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Good. Unfortunately we did not find the whale sharks.

Diving Southern Atolls in July on the Princess Sara

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Bernard S
  • Singapore Singapore

Diving the Miyaru Kandu was an exhilarating experience. We did 3 dives in different condition. The vis during the incoming current was the best. One of the best dives i ever done.

Diving Southern Atolls in December on the Princess Sara

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Kee Wee T
  • Singapore Singapore

more sharks than you can imagine and a true reflection of pristine health of the reef.

Diving Southern Atolls in December on the Princess Sara

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • paul S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Currents can be very strong especially in the dives that we were doing. Each dive was around 30 to 40 mins and we were mainly around 25 to 30m deep.

Diving Southern Atolls in January on the White Pearl