The surrounding waters of Maldives are literally a city under water. The crystal clear waters offer visibility up to 60 meters – a rarity in the world of divers, also known as one of the best visibility in diving destination. This combined with the abundance of aquatic life makes Maldives a top diving destination – a dream destination of divers from around the world. The magnetic appeal of the colorful coral reefs in amazingly different shapes and the marine life thronging these reefs attracts divers from all around the world. A diver’s dream of seeing rare marine species is fulfilled here. About 70 different species of colorful coral reefs make up the flora of this underwater city. More than 700 species of fishes and other aqua marine life form the populace here.
Tourism agencies and resorts in Maldives offer / provide diving tours and offer many courses of different durations. After attending these courses, even those with no previous diving experience can enjoy the exhilaration derived from viewing marine life in its own backyard.
The best of the diving sites are around the reefs of the atolls, which have complex formations. The circular reefs enclose a lagoon, shallow enough to see down to the ocean bed. The irregular and submerged reefs also known as ‘thilas’ are the best dive sites. Located in the middle of the channel, these thilas rise to about 10 meters of the surface from the atoll floor
Some of the most important and interesting diving sites are the Guaridoo Corner (lots of friendly Napoleon Wrasse can be sighted here), Cocoa Corner (Sharks, Rays and other marine life abound here) and the Maldive Victory (A wreck sitting upright in the water and surrounded by coral reefs and a profusion of marine life), Banana reef and Bandos house reef.
Enjoy the nightlife of the Maldives underwater city. Go in for Night diving and you will be transported into a magical world. Corals open up and extend their flower like tentacles in the twilight evening! Spiders and shrimps leave their tubular sponges in search of food. The experience is made more enchanting by the presence of moonlight. Visibility is reduced to the narrow tunnel of light from your torch.
Prohibition on Catching and Export of Marine Life
A ban has been imposed on fishing and collecting of marine life like Turtles, Napoleon Wrasse, Whale, Whale Shark, Dolphin, Berried and small lobster, Giant Clam, Conch and Black Coral
Export of the following items in any form; be as souvenirs or product for commercial use is banned.
- Skate and Ray
- Bigeye Scad under 15 cms (6 ins)
- Bait fish used in tuna fishery
- Black Coral
- All Stony Coral
- Triton Shell
- Trochus Shell Pearl Oyster.
Divers often use food as a way of attracting fishes in order to observe them closely and capture their image or just for fun. But, in doing so, they do a great disservice to the whole diving community as well as to the community of Maldives. Often, divers tend to feed fish without any consideration to their dietary habits. And their ignorance leads to digestive problems and even death of the fishes.
The fishes in turn have responded by changing their behavior towards humans in general. Groupers and Eels, once peaceful have become aggressive predators. Divers have been seriously attacked in some of the areas where fish feeding has been continued over the years. Often, it is the feeders themselves who have been attacked by sharks. Once, a great attraction in the Maldives, Shark feeding has fortunately been totally stopped now.
Obersving Fish behavior
In order to closely observe the behavior of fishes and other life forms, the right buoyancy has to be maintained. Trying to get near a fish or a school of fishes can get harrowing at times, with them swimming away at every external disturbance. Breathing slowly and moving towards the creature slowly, bit by bit, helps you to get near it without scaring it.
Holding or seizing fishes, or stroking them for just a good photograph or even as a friendly gesture is not a great idea. Most fishes have a very fine layer of mucus covering their skins or scales, which protects them from parasites. Touching them or stroking them even gently damages this layer and cause them pain. Dragging them out of their hiding positions can injure their internal organs.
Taking Care of Corals and other marine life
The coral reefs not only lend the Ocean amazing shades of green, turquoise and blue, it is also a base for all marine life. The coral reefs provide a home to the smaller species of marine life. The colorful faÃ§ade of the coral reefs provide organisms with a place to hide from predators as well as to prey.
While diving, take care to stay above the reef. Take care that none of your equipment is dragging behind you on the reef, as the equipments can harm it.
- Strap down your equipment to avoid it dragging behind you and harming the reefs and other marine life
- To stay away from the reefs, maintain controlled and neutral buoyancy
- Take care not to stir up the Ocean bed as stirred-up sediments can settle on the coral reefs and smother it.
- Your fins can cause a lot of harm to marine life, so be careful.
- Avoid contact with any marine life like hard corals and other organisms as they might get damaged and killed.
- Some have stinging cells and sharp spines to protect themselves and they can hurt you.
- Do not pick up hard coral bits and shells for souvenirs.
- Do not spread or leave back any litter in the water as it can cause harm to marine life.
- Choose reef trips and adventure activities operated in an ecologically sensitive manner
January to April are considered the best months for diving. May and June can have unstable weather, cloudy days are common until September, October and November tend to have clearer weather, but visibility can be slightly reduced because of abundant plankton in the water.