A popular destination for beach lovers, scuba-divers and water-sports enthusiasts, the Maldives islands offer some of the most memorable marine experiences in the world. Spectacular coral reefs, enchanting blue lagoons and a warm, friendly people are only some of the things you’ll find in these low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean.
Exploring Underwater Beauty in Maldives
Maldives, or as it is officially known, the Republic of Maldives, is a country consisting of a cluster of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean. It is believed that the country originated from an ancient volcanic mountain, in which its middle had sunken below sea level over time, causing the formation of a ring of atolls with a shallow lagoon in the middle.
A large part of the land remains submerged underwater, and its rich sulphuric and mineral content makes it an ideal breeding ground for a variety of coral reefs, which in turn provides the perfect habitat for a colourful array of marine life and underwater species.
Every year, thousands of diving enthusiasts flock to Maldives to experience its infamous underwater beauty first-hand. The country has some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling sites, making it a popular destination for those keen on exploring the underwater world.
Maldives Victory is the site of a shipwreck some 15 years ago, located on the western side of the Hulhule Airport Island. The aerial view of the whole vessel can clearly be seen as one descends towards it. Here, one is likely to find giant turtles guarding the bow of the vessel, an array of stunning corals, large groupers and tunas, as well as schools of fusiliers.
Shaped like a banana, hence where its name comes from, the Banana Reef stretches from the North-East to the South some 300 metres. The one feature of the marine life here that makes it popular amongst divers, especially beginners and amateurs, is that the fish tend to be tame, showing absolutely no fear of divers or photographers. Amongst the large overhangs reside schools of blue-striped snapper, and as one dives along this banana-shaped reef, one is likely to discover a magnificent reef wall bursting with a variety of marine life, from different species of moray eels to fascinating corals and fish.
Sandwiched between two outer atoll islands, Girifushi Thila is one of the best known and most beautiful dive sites on this island nation. Its strong currents provide plenty of plankton and nutrients for its underwater inhabitants, both corals and fish, making it a most exciting location for diving activities. This protected reef has overhangs, caves and crevices rising more than 30 meters from the bottom, and most of it is completely covered in soft hanging corals in a myriad of hues, as well as stunning sea fans. The strong currents attract a stunning variety of small reef fish and large pelagic species such as gray reef sharks, eagle rays, tunas and barracudas.
Okobe Thila is a made up of a small thila consisting of three large rock formations, and is one of the most awe-inspiring dive sites in the Maldives. As one gets further down the reef, the atmosphere feels more and more like a tropical aquarium as one gets surrounded by hundreds of colourful fish swimming above beautiful corals.
Nassimo Thila is a large reef with imposing pillars standing at an astounding height of 40 meters from the bottom. This bizarre underwater landscape offers a breathtaking view in the form of huge pillars covered in blue, yellow, red and orange soft corals and large gorgonian fans. The large overhangs of the main reef house hundreds of coral species, marine plants and thousands of fish species. Large tunas and barracudas as well as small reef fish such as basslets, surgeon and butterfly fish can be seen roaming the waters, as well schools of fusiliers, turtles and friendly napoleon wrasses.
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