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Diving in the Maldives

By Josh Hill

Posted: 8th January 2015 15:23

By Josh Hill

The Maldives is one of the world’s leading destinations for scuba diving.  This gorgeous collection of tiny islands offers such an abundance of sapphire lagoons and delightfully warm waters that few can resist the temptation to sink beneath the waves and discover the true charm of the Maldives. 

These exquisite diving conditions, like most good things in life, certainly took their time.  65 million years ago the Maldives were part of a huge volcanic mountain range’ their sheer power kept them above the water’s surface, but as each volcano dimmed and died out it began to sink beneath the waves, submerging so slowly that coral formations began to grow around each crater’s rim.  This coral growth eventually formed into the atolls of the Maldives, and as the ocean currents eroded the atoll’s rims an extensive network of channels were created.  Not only sublimely beautiful in their ethereal appearance, these coral reefs also provide life for thousands of intriguing aquatic creatures. 

Diving in the Maldives is a unique experience and provides a number of thrilling conditions, not only for advanced divers but also complete novices.  And there is no greater place on earth to experience your first venture beneath the waves; enjoy drift dives through the azure channels, discover haunting wrecks and explore intriguing overhangs.  From gentle dives to the high octave (the ‘Kuredu Express’, found off the Lhaviyani Atoll, is well known for its strong currents that literally propel divers from one end of the channel to the other) it is of course the abundance of marine life that really set the Maldives apart.  The atolls are renowned for extremely frequent sightings of whale sharks, white tip sharks and manta rays, but these graceful creatures are by no means the only attraction.  Gently immerse yourself in enormous shoals of butterfly fish and oriental sweetlips, descend deep sea ridges in the company of eagle rays and blue marlin, keep a sharp eye out for turtles shooting through the water and marvel over the dolphins leaping across the waves, framed by the most glorious sunsets.  When you’re not swimming through the shoals, take the time to pause and admire the beautiful colours of the coral; the rich reds, deep ambers and iridescent purples create a magical underwater world that will never cease to amaze and inspire. 

The many dive sites of the Maldives are broadly classified into different groups; thilas (underwater islands) and kandus (channels) are commonly affected by stronger currents, whilst lagoons are usually no deeper than around 20 metres and so offer the perfect conditions for beginners.  Where ever you choose to dive in the Maldives however, one thing will soon become as crystal clear as the waters – once you’ve dived here, nowhere else on Earth will compare. 

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