Best Water Sports To Enjoy In Maldives

A slice of heaven situated in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is a tropical island-nation that needs no introduction. Naturally gifted with lush greenery, white sandy beaches, and stretches of glistening blue water as far as the eye can see, it’s blessed with many wonders on land, and even more underwater.

Made up of numerous islands, the country offers an enormous playground for lovers of marine life and divers aspiring to explore the very depths of an ocean packed with awe-inspiring natural treasures. The surrounding lagoons abound with planktons and nutrients, attracting an array of sea life. So, plan your next adventure and you may find yourself swimming amongst manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles, and more!

Exploring The Atolls

Dotted with numerous coral reefs, Maldives is home to 26 atolls, most of which offer a range of thrilling diving experiences.

Surrounded by blue waters, the Ari Atoll has several spots that are immensely popular with pelagic lovers as they offer marvellous manta dives. And while manta rays follow a seasonal migratory pattern, they are found here year-round. For instance, if you explore the region during the months of November to April, you’ll find a greater presence of mantas on the western side of the atoll, and if you visit the area from May to October, they move over to the eastern side.

Another great spot for getting up close and personal with manta rays is the Baa Atoll. The location and formation of this reef makes it
a feeding hotspot for manta rays. The Hanifaru Bay here witnesses
a concentration of planktons that attracts hundreds of mantas during the southwest monsoon, allowing you to behold the natural marvel of cyclone feeding—a process wherein over 100 mantas congregate to feed in the plankton-rich waters. The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is between June and early October. Scuba diving is no longer permitted here but you can always go swimming or snorkelling.

The Addu Atoll provides an exceptional location for scuba diving—you can see almost everything from manta rays and eagle rays to turtles and more. The North Malé Atoll is one of the best sites to spot turtles.

An Experience Like No Other

One of the most jaw-dropping experiences you can enjoy in the Maldives is to swim, snorkel, or dive alongside a whale shark. These are, arguably, one of the most majestic creatures in the ocean as they are the largest sharks and, in fact, the largest fish alive today. Despite their immense size, these gentle giants feed on plankton and small fish, so you don’t need to worry about getting scooped up by them. And if you’re wondering how to identify a whale shark, fret not, their enormous size will help you recognise one. Do keep an eye out for their white-spotted colouration!

The South Ari Atoll is the creature’s most popular haunt in Maldives, and the sightings here are excellent all year-round. Dhigurah, Dhangethi, and Maamigili are some of the best islands within this atoll to witness whale sharks and enjoy a snorkelling or diving trip with them. Apart from this, many island resorts, guesthouses, and liveaboards offer their own exciting tours. The excursion guides and boat captains on these trips are experts in spotting whale sharks and will help guide you to the best spots.

Stepping Up For A Cause

The Maldives is also at the forefront of research on whale shark species. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) seeks to advance the field of whale shark knowledge and advocate
a sound conservation policy in the country. The organisation encourages and values community and industry stakeholder participation to conduct scientific research and safeguard the incredibly rich and crucial biodiversity that makes all life possible in Maldives. Excursions to detect whale sharks can be arranged almost any time of the week through the programme’s Whale Shark Network Maldives app, which allows easy access to track whale shark sightings.

Swimming alongside these underwater creatures is a reminder of how beautiful, majestic, and grand Mother Nature can be. A world of its own, the archipelagic country presents an array of exciting adventure opportunities at every turn. So pack your bags (don’t forget your sunscreen!), board a plane, and embark on a trip to this beautiful collection of islands where whale sharks and manta rays await!

All set for a Maldives vacation? Book your tickets to Malé on Vistara here.

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