Southern Atolls Snorkeling
Southern Atolls Snorkeling
Snorkeling in Southern Atolls, Maldives means venturing to the extreme south of this chain of islands. Endless unexplored reefs means that each liveaboard returns with a list of newly discovered fabulous sites. This area is perfect for the adventurous snorkeler who enjoys unknown territories and few people.
Snorkelling the Southern Atolls, you will be in nutrient rich waters which attracts large marine predators, manta cleaning stations and sites which are home to the larger shark species, oceanic white tips, tigers and threshers.
Marine Life in the Southern Atolls
There is an abundance of life supported by the thriving reefs. Large predators are attracted into the channels to feed on the schools of smaller reef fish which live near to the coral walls and submerged Thilas. Whale sharks are often also seen feeding on the plankton that spills out of the atoll channels.
Manta cleaning stations are spots of lively activity. Napoleon wrasse and barracuda are abundant. Alongside which there is a good chance of meeting eagle rays, sting rays and grey reef sharks on almost every dive here.
Best Snorkel Sites in the Southern Atolls
There are many snorkel sites and many more still being discovered in this remote area of the Maldives, some of the must see atolls are Felidhoo, Deep South Atolls, Thaa, Laamu, Meemu and Nilhande Atoll.
Felidhoo (Vaavu Atoll), a certain snorkel site known as Fotteyo Kandu home to an abundance of marine life, fascinating topography, narrow channel with swim-throughs, small caves and large overhangs. Supporting soft corals, large numbers of grey reef and white tip reef sharks, eagle rays, tuna and trevallies are commonly sighted. For the early risers potato groupers, mantas and even hammerhead sharks can appear.
Deep South Atolls are one of the best kept secrets. Very few dive operators have visited the region and those that have return with tales of wonder. Gaafu Atoll ('Huvadhoo') and Addu Atoll ('Seenu') you can find Whale sharks and mantas, However, the unique attraction lies at Foahmulah (or Fuvahmulah) Island (a.k.a.Gnaviyani Atoll) where thresher sharks, oceanic white tips and tiger sharks can regularly be seen.
Thaa Atoll, there is a snorkel site known as Olhugiri Kandu which is home to Napolean wrasse and eagle rays alongside whale sharks and large schools of schooling fish, numerous species.
Laamu Atoll and Nilandhe Atoll are relatively unexplored. Unchartered waters, yet they are known for their deep channels and strong currents which attract sharks, jacks, rays and tuna that hunt the smaller fish.
Meemu Atoll, is another shark site. Medhufushi Thila has steep walls which provide the perfect cover for reef sharks to cruise along whilst hunting. Numerous caves, home to trevally and tuna. In the Northern Lagoon you are likely to find whale sharks gliding majestically past.
Best Time to Snorkel in the Southern Atolls
The Maldives has a tropical climate, therefore the holiday season and snorkeling is possible throughout the year. December to May you get the North East Monsoon there is a lack of wind so the seas are calm perfect for snorkel trips, with visibility on the Eastern side of the atolls between 20-30meters and on the western side averaging 15-20meters. The South West monsoon occurs June to November, June and July the skies are slightly cloudier, wind a little stronger and waters choppier.
Water temperatures remain fairly constant all year round, ranging between 26-29degrees. However, as with other areas of the globe seasons and natural cycles are changing.
How Do I Get to the Southern Atolls
Maldives has an international airport on Hulhule Island which is located 10 minutes by boat from the capital city of Male. The Islands are a 4 hour flight from Singapore, around 13 hours from London, and 3 hours from Dubai. Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, is some 45 minutes flight away. Airlines include Emirates, Sri Lankan Air, Quata Air and Thompson. The majority of liveaboards use Hulhule Islands port as their departure point which is conveniently located near to the airport.