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The Lhaviyani Atoll has wall, channel, reef and wreck diving for beginners and advanced divers. You'll see diverse marine life, colorful coral, guitar sharks and mantas.

Diving in Lhaviyani Atoll

Quick facts

Due to the popularity of this atoll the dive sites are well explored. You’ll get the best advice during your visit.

The Aquarium is a sheltered dive on the reefs off Huravalhi Island, and suitable for all levels. A steep drop-off follows a reef that descends to 82 feet (25 meters). Wonderful schools of bluestripe snappers with cyan stripes down their yellow bodies swarm around the coral, while the algae provides food for hawksbill turtles. Guitar sharks can also be seen on the sandy bottom. They use the coral as a cleaning station.

In the north-east of the atoll is the Shipyard where Skipjack 1 and 2, both now covered with colorful hard and soft corals, have laid since the 1980s. Skipjack 1 sits upright and its bow is visible above the water’s surface. At 45 feet (15 meters) the winch arm creates a magnificent silhouette as the sun shines through it. Skipjack 2 lays on its side at 92 feet (28 meters).  Expect butterfly fish, damsels, small blennies, and glassy fish (its bone structure is visible through its translucent body). Advanced divers may spot a stingray sleeping under the wrecks.

More experienced divers can head to Madivaru Kandu – a channel dive to the south of the wrecks. As you drift from one corner of the channel to the other, look out for eagle rays passing above you like jets performing in an aerial display. Whitetip reef sharks may follow the channel’s edge, and schools of snappers and brightly colored triggerfish can be seen at the channel’s corners. At 90 feet (30 meters) some deep overhangs can also be found.

With over fifty known dive sites – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Amongst the caves and overhangs you’ll see different species of moray eel, nudibranchs, scorpionfish, and orange, nocturnal soldier fish with big, black eyes. They can be seen swimming upside down in the dark overhangs.

The soft corals are colorful, and some of the hard corals look like a French horn's bell. Expect reef sharks, turtles and rays, but the wet season is more favorable for manta sightings.

As with most of the Maldives – the variety of marine life in Lhaviyani will keep you busy. Add a shipwreck to your experience, and you might need a spare pencil to complete your dive logs.

Calendar

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

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

The Lhaviyani Atoll (Faadhippolhu Atoll) is located in the Maldives’ northern region. The tropical, warm water never drops below 75° F (24° C), and the air temperature consistently averages 84° F (29° C). The climate is defined by the drier north-east monsoon (December to March), and the wet south-west monsoon (May to November). The latter reduces visibility, but higher levels of plankton increases activity within the ocean’s ecosystem.

Due to its close proximity to Male, and its great channel, reef and wreck diving, the atoll is a popular destination. There are several resorts that cater for varying budgets. As with the Maldives in general, liveaboards can offer good value. Great discounts can be found during the low season.

You can arrange a trip to the island of Kurendhoo and explore contemporary Maldivian life, try sea cucumber in its cafes, and visit the tomb of Sheikh Najeebul Habashee.

After the excitement of exploring a shipwreck for the first time, lay down on a beach, write your dive log, and smile (assuming that the sea cucumber’s texture didn’t disagree with you).

Other attractions

Most of the Lhaviyani Atoll’s income comes from fishing, and you can visit the Maldives' only canning factory on the island of Felivaru. You can also try to catch tuna as the Maldivians do – using just a pole and line. You can arrange a sunset cruise around the islands aboard a traditional dhoni, or experience your own castaway on one of the atoll’s uninhabited islands. If you’ve finished your book then learn how to windsurf, or gently cruise the lagoons in a sea kayak. The Maldives is about relaxing. Enjoy it.

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.

Transfer to Lhaviyani takes 40 minutes by seaplane.

UTC+05:00

Time zone

MVR

Currency

+960

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

C, 

D, 

G, 

J, 

K, 

L

Plug type

MLE

Main airport
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