One year ago we left the Maldives for good. For three years we called the Lhaviyani Atoll our home. We often think back to the great time we had and we miss the great diving on the Maldives a lot. We dived in the waters of the Indian Ocean almost every day and we did more than 1000 dives in the Lhaviyani Atoll.
On our recent diving trip to the Komodo National Park in Indonesia we met other divers and we talked about our diving experiences. We were asked about our favourite dive sites in the Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives. That’s not an easy question but we try to answer it in this blog post.
We do have favourite dive sites all over the world but that is something for another blog post. In this one you will find our 3 favourite dive sites in the Lhaviyani Atoll.
3 Years Diving Instructor on the Maldives
Before we became diving instructors we had to quit our jobs back home in Switzerland. You think it’s ridiculous to leave a successful career behind? Read more about Marcel decision to swap his successful career as a manager to become a happy diving instructor.
We lived and worked for one year on Kuredu Island and two years on Komandoo Island. Prodivers is the company that runs the dive centres on both of the islands with a professional and experienced dive team. The main advantage of the Lhaviyani Atoll is that there are only a few tourist resorts in the whole atoll. That means that the dive sites are not as crowded as they are in other atolls.
With more than 45 dive sites we had many options to dive on different spots with our guest. Even after three years diving did not become boring. There is always something to see and after a while we knew where the interesting things are. Some fish are territorial and therefore easy to find as a guide.
Swiss Nomads Top 3 dive sites in the Lhaviyani Atoll
OK, now… here they come. Our three favourite dive sites are:
1. Kuredu Express – The No. 1 dive site for Shark Encounters
The name tells it all or at least most of the times. The dive on Express can be fast or more than that. Express for example. Are you ready to rock? Good.
Kuredu Express is a current dive. The dive site is in a channel where the water is flowing into or out of the atoll, depending on the tides. That’s the reason why there is current and sometimes the current is blowing beyond your imagination. And that’s what we like about this dive site. Currents transport food for big fish.
Due to the shape of the reef and the channel Kuredu Express can be quite tricky to dive and divers should be experienced. There are days where we had to change the dive site because the waves in the channel were too high or the currents not right. With the right conditions it is a fantastic dive. Do you wonder why? Kuredu Express is famous for its shark sightings. We had times where no sharks were around. But we also had times where we had super-close encounters with whole groups of grey reef sharks. For us, sharks are the most amazing animals in the ocean.
As the ocean is not a zoo there is no guarantee to see sharks. No problem because Kuredu Express has a lot more to offer. There are big stingrays, huge napoleon wrasses, a giant grouper – and I mean giant, that one is really GIANT – and there are turtles, leaf fish, honeycomb moray eels, trevally, eagle rays even a group of manta mobulas and a lot more. Be prepared, on a good day you see them all.
2. Fushivaru Thila – The Manta Ray Cleaning Station
One of the best dive sites in the Atoll not only for manta ray encounters but also sharks, big napoleons, big schools of snappers, sweet lips, barracudas and a lot more. The great thing about Fushivaru Thila is that you never know what to expect. Sometimes you do a dive on the Thila with a maximum depth of 12 meters and you see everything. BUT the current needs to be right one and the season too, if you are after manta rays. Fushivaru Thila is a cleaning station and the manta rays come here to get cleaned. Sometimes they also com here for feeding and then it’s best to snorkel with these majestic animals. Even if there are no manta rays around, diving on Fushivaru Thila or Fushivaru Kandu, which is the channel, is always worthwhile with the right conditions.
3. Kuredu Caves – The Turtle Airport
The turtle dive par excellence. Do you love turtles? We do. That’s why Kuredu Caves is on our list too. Kuredu Caves can also be called Turtle Airport. It’s true. On some dives it is a busy airport with many turtles heading up to the surface to catch a breath and heading down again. The dive site is located on the outreef at the backside of Kuredu Island. Because of the shape of the reef the part that is called the Caves is kind of protected. From an aerial view it looks like someone has taken a huge bite out of the reef.
A big number of green sea turtles call that part of the reef their home. It is very popular amongst divers and snorkellers. It’s obvious why because Kuredu Caves is never boring. If you are tired of the turtles you may see a bumphead parrot fish, leaf fish and moray eels or if you are lucky even a school of manta mobulas, some sharks or eagle rays pass by.
We had many fantastic dives on Caves and we never had a dive without seeing at least one turtle. Usually we could count a lot more. So be prepared for an unforgettable turtle dive.
What about a bonus dive site?
Well, there are of course more than three dive sites we would call our favourites. So we add one more to our selection. Number 4 is Anemone Thila.
Anemone Thila is easy to dive, usually. The only difficult thing is to find the Thila because the top reef lies about 14 metres below the surface. Depending on the visibility we were sometimes not able to see Anemone Thila from the Boat. If that was the case we needed to free-dive a few metres. Once the Thila is found a magic world is waiting.
A Thila is a deep lying underwater island and Anemone Thila is one of the special Thilas because it is covered in Anemones. And of course there are many clownfish too. All around the underwater island there is plenty of fish. Huge clouds of glassfish are swimming close to the reef and predators are on the hunt. Mackerels, jackfish and lion fish are hunting the tiny little fishes. It is sensational to observe this spectacle.
On one dive at Anemone Thila, that was about 1.5 years ago, I was very very lucky to see a dolphin passing by while doing the 3 minute safety stop. That’s the wonderful thing about diving. You never know what you will see. Especially the totally unexpected things are special and something to remember forever.
To be honest, while writing all this I want to go diving right NOW. Is it time to think about the next diving holiday? Do you have a favourite dive site?
PS: You’re not a diver but you want to try it? Did you know that you can do your first breath under water without doing a full course? Read more about diving for beginners. But be prepared, you can get hooked by the awesome feeling of diving.