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Diving in Ihavandhippolhu Atoll

Ihavandhippolhu Atoll offers unchartered diving in its wide channels, and advanced divers can explore new sites. Expect vibrant coral, diverse marine life and mantas at the cleaning stations.

Diving in Ihavandhippolhu Atoll

Quick facts

As this area is unchartered, your dive operator will be able to provide details of any known dive sites. However, a characteristic of the northern atolls is the wider and shallower channels. This reduces currents and makes the scuba suited to beginners as well as advanced divers. Beginners, however, won’t be able to dive unchartered sites until the currents are known.

You can expect a great variety of soft and hard corals on the walls and overhangs. The reefs can be covered in table coral, and macro life is plentiful.

Mantas can be found during the right season. You'll also see reef sharks, turtles, Napoleon wrasses and other pelagic on the reefs and in the channels.

This atoll's topography includes caves, swim throughs and pinnacles (thilas).

Expect snappers, groupers, tuna, moray eels, lionfish, nudibranchs, sponges and crustaceans.

It will be left for you to charter the dive sites that you explore.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Manta sightings can be common during the dry season that runs from November to March. The atoll has several cleaning stations, so you’ll be able to swim close and observe their graceful movements.

You’ll see groupers, bluestripe snappers, tuna, stingrays and moray eels striking at prey from their hideaway.

The anemone corals are brightly colored, and you’ll never get tired of seeing a clown fish peering out of the coral's tentacles.

Pelagic are common in the channels and around the reefs. You’ll find lots of turtles and reef sharks can always be found patrolling.

Your dive logs will be unique.


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


The Ihavandhippolhu Atoll is the Maldives’ most northerly atoll and falls under Haa Alif Atoll for administration.

The Maldives’ tropical climate is split into two distinct monsoons. The weather is drier during the northeast monsoon (December to March) and wetter during the south-west monsoon (May to November). The warm waters are always above 75° F (24° C), and air temperatures consistently average 84° F (29° C).

Only five of its islands are inhabited, and a long barrier reef can be found on the atoll’s western side. There are no resorts on the atoll, and it isn’t a common destination for liveaboards. As a result, the atoll's reefs and channels remain unchartered. A visit to the area offers pristine reefs and a true sense of exploration during your dives.

If your group is large enough to fill all the cabins on a private charter, then this area could be visited as an extension to an itinerary around the northern atolls. Alternatively, base yourself on Haa Alif and arrange a trip from there.

The Ihavandhippolhu Atoll could provide your opportunity to feel like a diving pioneer.

Other attractions

You’ll be able to explore an uninhabited island and feel like a marooned explorer (walk around the island so that you can’t see your boat). The Maldivians are very welcoming and will allow you to watch while they make handicrafts. They’ll also share their culture and traditional way of life with you. Water sports, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing, are available. For something less strenuous, consider paddling a kayak.

Getting there

Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – it may require a lay-over in the Middle East first.

A transfer Haa Alif, the nearest atoll, will take 75 minutes by seaplane.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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