Best time to visit
Manta cleaning stations, grey reef sharks, black and white tip reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, schooling fish
The North Male Atoll is where scuba diving began in the Maldives, being the principal atoll of the Maldives and home to the country’s capital, Male. The first resort opened in the 1970s, and since then has grown in diving popularity with an increasing number of reputable scuba diving operations and world-class dive sites being added to the map. The beauty of a diving holiday in the North Male Atoll is that all the resorts can be reached in just a short speedboat ride enabling divers to land in the capital and be on a tropical island paradise within the hour. This does mean that there are more resorts in this atoll than any other in the Maldives, but that in turn means an excellent choice of luxury diving resorts and liveaboards as well as over 30 dive sites to choose from wherever you are based.
school of eagle rays
seafan on Maaya thila
yellow jack fish
Swim-throughs, gentle thilas, walls, drop-offs, over-hangs, caves and current in the channels...the North Male Atoll has it all when it comes to the ideal diving holiday for all levels of scuba diver and snorkeller. A plethora of marine life can be seen all year round, with manta rays being one of the highlights. During the southwest monsoon (May to November), mantas move to the eastern atolls following the plankton-rich water, so this is the best time for spotting them in the North Male Atoll. A newly discovered dive site, BLU Manta, in the northern part of the atoll is a manta cleaning station at around 10m depth where mantas come to rid themselves of unwanted parasites between feeding in the lagoon.
Whilst the coral health in the North Male Atoll may not compare to the atolls in the deep south, some of the best dive sites in the Maldives are still found within the atoll. Banana Reef, named for the shape of the reef, is one of the most iconic dive sites in the area, with caves and over-hangs waiting to be explored whilst blue-lined snapper cover the reef in their thousands and moral eels poke their heads out of cervices, snapping at passing divers. Bodu Thila is another must-dive, with the chance for grey reef sharks, eagle rays and whitetip reef sharks. Napolean wrasse and turtles can usually be found on a small plateau as 20m depth whilst fusiliers dart backwards and forwards on the top of the thila.