North Ari Atoll
North Ari Atoll is located southwest of North Malé Atoll, and features some of the premier dive sites in the Maldives. North Ari Atoll has different types of dive sites, such as channels, thilas, walls, and reefs. Diving in channels is more challenging because of the stronger currents, and drift diving along the walls or around the thilas is usually easier and enjoyable. Some of the most popular dive sites in North Ari Atoll are Maaya Thila (a submerged pinnacle with some small caves, overhangs, and an endless list of marine life), Fish Head (a pinnacle where vast shoals of reef fish attract packs of reef sharks), Rasdhoo Atoll (a relatively small atoll with the famous Rasdhoo Madivaru/Hammerhead Point dive spot where divers can witness the parade of hammerhead sharks as well as other big pelagics), Hafsa Thila (a volcano-shaped pinnacle where divers are almost guaranteed to spot several reef sharks), and Maalhos Thila (spectacular coral heads found at a depth of around 27m/90ft with clouds of snapper, sweetlips, and resting whitetip reef sharks).
When to go
The tropical climate of North Ari Atoll makes it perfect for year-round diving, but the preferable time to visit the North Ari Atoll is during the northwest monsoon from December to April. The water temperature ranges from 26-29C/79-84F throughout the year. While diving at North Ari Atoll, divers will see snapper, grouper, stingrays, manta rays, barracudas, and different species of sharks, as well as a wide array of smaller marine creatures.
What to see
Diving in North Ari Atoll is not famous for corals, and in fact, many dive spots may seem a little dull in terms of the coral splendor. However, the main attraction of this part of the atoll is the regular encounters with big marine life.
Thoddoo Pro Dive Hydrotech (Maldives)
Weekly PackageThere is a real offer for real divers – for those who wish to get a sight of underwater world of Maldives. Maldives is the world diving destination #1. Maldives has everything to prove it: clear warm water all year around, perfect visibility (20-40 m), and fantastic marine life. Corals, sponges, nudibranchs, fish, stingrays, dolphins, mantas, sharks can be found there. Diving in Maldives has some cool features. Most famous one is currents. Sometimes mild, sometimes strong, but always enjoyable. Jump in, adjust your buoyancy, and... just relax. Move with the waters along the reef walls (faru in Dhivehi), enjoy spectacular views of sea inhabitants, breath in, breath out. Napoleon wrasse, parrot fish, trigger fish, angel fish, snappers, groupers, sweetlips will be your companions in the journey. Mantas and reef sharks patrolling their areas or arriving to cleaning stations are often seen too. In Thoddoo, there are some nice walls up to 30-40 meters deep. Diving in channels (kandu in Dhivehi) between atolls and islands in Maldives sometimes can be challenging due to strong currents and visibility but always awesome because of greater chance to encounter sharks and mantas and better coral life. Madivaru channel near Rasdhoo island is the place to see hammerhead sharks. North channel (north to Veligandu resort) is where you can see mantas almost every day. There are some underwater rocks growing almost up to the surface called 'thilas'. These formations are like stop signs for the currents, providing food for corals and sponges - favorite food of bigger fish, turtles and sharks. Best thilas are located near Ukulhas island (Maaya Thila, Maa thila).