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Thaa Atoll’s diving caters to both beginners and advanced levels. Some dives have strong currents but this brings in the pelagic. Expect large reefs, coral gardens, steep walls and overhangs.

Diving in Thaa Atoll

Quick facts

Thaa Atoll’s diving is suitable for beginners, but many of the best dive sites have strong currents that requires experience. Advanced divers can explore deep, steep walls that are decorated with coral.

With little current, lots of macro life, and the possibility of a manta, the Caribbean Garden is for all divers. This large thila (submerged island) starts at 20 feet (6 meters). The south-east side drops off to 131 feet (40 meters), and on the south-west side there is a sandy plateau that's peppered with colorful coral. Expect schooling batfish, whitetip reef sharks, and turtles enjoying their lunch on the soft corals.

Divers with more experience can enjoy the strong currents at Gorgonian Garden. At over 1500 feet (457 meters) long, this coral reef has a gentle slope to the north and a steep wall, which descends to 131 feet (40 meters), to the south. The wall is covered with large sea fans, and the small caves are decorated with soft coral. Manta rays, turtles, schooling batfish and fusiliers will join you – the fusiliers’ yellow contrasting with the red coral perfectly. Crustaceans creep amongst the rocks like a child playing hide and seek, and nudibranchs add even more color to the reefs.

The Dutch Divide has interesting topography with overhangs and swim throughs. However, the currents can be strong and sweeping eddies may be present – so this dive requires experience. The reef begins at 26 feet (8 meters) and descends to 115 feet (35 meters). The reef’s wall is covered in sponge and soft corals, and snapper and glassy fish are plentiful. Spider crabs walk on their long legs like a robot in a sci-fi movie, and barracudas and reef sharks can be found.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Whilst mantas are only occasionally seen around the atoll, you’ll have plenty of eagle rays to watch instead. Nurse sharks rest in secluded spots, turtles feed on the coral, and reef sharks track their prey.

The healthy, soft corals are like an artist’s palette covered in mixed paint. The reefs are covered in sponges and the sea fans are grand to the point of being baroque.

If you’re a photography fan, there is plenty of macro life amongst the small coral bommies. The felt-like textured nudibranchs are ready to pose for your shot, but the crustaceans may retract from your lens if you're not fast enough.

Your dive log will be as big as the Napoleon wrasse after you’ve finished exploring the atoll’s many sites.

Calendar

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

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

The Thaa Atoll, also known as Kolhumadulu Atoll, is located in the Maldives’ southern atolls, north of the equator. The tropical climate sees drier weather during the north-east monsoon (December to March). The south-west monsoon arrives in May, lasting until November, and brings wetter weather and decreased visibility. The water’s temperature is still 24° C (75° F) during this period.

The atoll has one luxury resort, and it’s possible to negotiate reduced rates during the low season. This atoll is becoming popular with liveaboards that travel to the south of the Maldives, but if you’re just looking to dive, they can be good value. However, most operators do require a minimum of twenty logged dives.

On the island of Dhiyamigili you can walk around the ruins of a palace that belonged to Mohammed Imaaduddeen II - a sultan who founded one of the archipelago’s longest ruling dynasties during the 18th century.

If you’re there during the Eid al-Adha festival, you can witness 'The Dance of the Giant Being'. Local people dance under the moonlight to the escalating beats of traditional Boduberu music, wear elaborate costumes and call upon mystical creatures.

Other attractions

After strolling around the ruins of a palace, read a book on the beach before exploring the atoll’s coral on a night dive. The Thaa Atoll receives a lot of wind and has some great surfing. You could also try windsurfing, kitesurfing or sailing a catamaran. A traditional dhoni can take you out to try and catch a dogtooth tuna.

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.

If you’re staying on the Thaa Atoll, then you will need to transfer by seaplane (one hour).

UTC+05:00

Time zone

MVR

Currency

+960

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

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Plug type

MLE

Main airport
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.