Diving

Every resort in the Maldives caters for scuba divers and international certificates of all types are accepted. The dive schools are well equipped, and regulators, BCDs, computers, masks, snorkels and fins are available for hire. For those learning to dive resorts offer a variety of dive courses are conducted in several languages, with courses conducted in English, German, Italian, French and Japanese in most of the For those learning to dive all resorts conduct open water and advanced courses such as night diving, rescue diving, underwater photography. Courses such as naturalist and shark specialist courses have proved most popular due to the growing interest in the marine environment. At resorts, diving is conducted daily all year around and it is only rarely that diving has to be cancelled. Most resorts would have access to a protected reef on the leeward side of the island that enables them to dive even during times of rough seas and strong winds.

Dive Schools
All the resorts in the Maldives have dive schools on them. Of course the facilities, equipment and the staff differ from resort to resort, depending on its size, its location and clientele. However all the resorts offer beginners’ dive courses and a variety of other courses towards PADI certification. In almost all the resorts instruction is available in English and German, however many resorts offer instruction in Italian, French, Japanese and a host of other European languages too. While some dive schools are Instructor Development Centers (IDCs), others too offer a wide variety of advanced and specialized dive courses. It is advisable to check up on the languages of instruction and courses available, before you book at a resort for your diving holiday. Equipment wise, all have the basics – compressors, tanks, BCDs, wetsuits, weights and weight belts and can provide a limited number of other accessories such as lamps and dive computers. Only some dive schools rent out underwater cameras and video cameras.
Dive schools at all the resorts conduct daily dive boat trips to dive sites around the island, throughout the year. However, bigger schools offer a variety of trips everyday to different dive sites. In these resorts, the advanced diver would have choice of dives daily, to choose from. Night dives and other specialized dives are not conducted on a daily basis at all the resorts. However on the more specialized dive resorts, these too are available. The same goes for night diving in the resort’s house reef. The dive schools in all the resorts invariably consist of one or more classrooms – air-conditioned at some, wet room and storage space for the school’s as well as private equipment. Some of the bigger schools also have dive shops and video processing facilities.

Dive Equipment
Resorts and live-aboards in the Maldives provide high quality and often the latest in diving equipment. All resort dive schools and live-aboard diving dhonis are equipped with compressors, tanks, regulators with octopus, BCDs, masks, fins and snorkels and other equipment such as dive computers, wetsuits, weights and weight belts. The equipment is well maintained and stringent safety checks are regularly made. You may bring your own mask, fins and snorkel. If you wish to bring your own wetsuit a 3 mm full-length wetsuit or lycra suit is perfect for any time of the year. However some prefer a 5 mm wetsuit when doing more than one dive a day. Ocean temperatures rarely vary beyond 27 – 30 degrees Celsius. During hot periods water temperatures inside the lagoon increase measurably, and most divers are comfortable without a wetsuit during this period.

Note that under Maldivian diving laws all divers must have octopus regulators. Carry some spares just in case of a breakdown or shortage.

Seasons & Diving
The Maldivian archipelago is swept by ceaseless currents caused by the monsoons; generally east to west during the northeast monsoon, from December to April and west to east during the southwest monsoon, from May to November. However this is not a hard and fast rule, as changes in wind directions and tides can offset the influence of the oceanic currents – especially so during the transitional period between the two seasons. Further, the location of islands reefs and ‘thilas’ cause great irregularity in the flow of current streams inside atoll passes. Many local boat captains show great skill in telling the direction of the current by observing tiny ripples or wave patterns on the surface. However, the dive guide often jumps into the water to determine the exact strength and direction.

Strong currents often make a dive site livelier, and that makes the additional effort worthwhile.

To enhance the enjoyment and safety of a dive, consideration of the direction and strength of currents is extremely important, wherever you are diving; whether it is in the ‘kandu’, a pass between the atoll reefs or ‘thila’ a shoal, inside the atolls. The success of a dive almost always depends on these variables.

Dive Sites
Most dive sites in the Maldives can be grouped according to the geological formation of the reef and are either Channels, Farus, Thilas or Giris.
Channels or Kandus- These are gaps or breaks in the outer reef of the Atoll where the tidal and ocean currents wash onto and off the central lagoon, often creating a hot spot of action especially during periods of good current. It is not uncommon to see large numbers of Grey or White tip sharks or large squadrons of Eagle Rays effortless riding the incoming ocean streams in the channel mouths.
Thilas – A Thila is a submerged Coral Reef , typically with a flat surface coming to between 9 and 12 metres of the surface. The sides often have small caves and overhangs. These present some of the most interesting and exiting dive sites as they attract a huge populous of schooling fish and hard and soft coral growth. Thilas are found both inside the Atolls and in the channels.
Giris- These are generally smaller round coral reefs that come within a few metres of the surface, although still submerged. A similar rich environment to a Thila, often with caves, overhangs and swim throughs.
Out Reef -The fringing reef generally starts at around 2 metres depth, shelving down to a forty metre shoulder and then plunging into the ocean depths. Being on the outside of the Atoll the outreef is subject to passing traffic. This is where Whalesharks, Mantas, and Hammerheads and giant Tuna cruise above the deep water on the outer fringes of the Maldives.

Wrecks
While many ships have floundered on Maldivian reefs, there are a few accessible wrecks of historical interest. These require permission from the government to dive. These wrecks are located mostly outside the atolls. These wrecks make up interesting diving sites mainly due to the presence of corals and other marine life which populate the wrecks.

Currents
The Maldivian archipelago is swept by ceaseless currents caused by the monsoons; generally east to west during the northeast monsoon, from December to April and west to east during the southwest monsoon, from May to November. However this is not a hard and fast rule, as changes in wind directions and tides can offset the influence of the oceanic currents – especially so during the transitional period between the two seasons. Further, the location of islands reefs and ‘thilas’ cause great irregularity in the flow of current streams inside atoll passes. Many local boat captains show great skill in telling the direction of the current by observing tiny ripples or wave patterns on the surface. However, the dive guide often jumps into the water to determine the exact strength and direction.

Strong currents often make a dive site livelier, and that makes the additional effort worthwhile.

To enhance the enjoyment and safety of a dive, consideration of the direction and strength of currents is extremely important, wherever you are diving; whether it is in the ‘kandu’, a pass between the atoll reefs or ‘thila’ a shoal, inside the atolls. The success of a dive almost always depends on these variables.

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