Diving Male South Atoll is not for those who like to see beautiful reefs. There or areas that have some soft corals growing but it is not the same as the North Male and Ari Atolls.
This diving area is more for channels and large schools of fish. One of these channels is Embudhoo Kandu this is probably the first dive site you get mentioned when you talk about sharks. Grey reef and white tip reef sharks commonly are seen on this dive site.
The Kuda Giri wreck is another highlight of this Atoll. It is not the biggest wreck of all but has plenty to offer. The wreck is an artificial reef and has now plenty of life growing on it and covering it.
South Male Atoll Liveaboards
Serenity is a brand new liveaboard Maldives has to offer. She made her first cruise in 2015 with her first trip to the central atolls. With a
The beautiful and modern liveaboard, Voyager, is a 30-meter long vessel that sails from Male every week to dive the very best that Maldives has
Carpe Novo is a new liveaboard which started operations in March 2016. Carpe Novo is the upgraded sister ship of the Carpe Diem and Carpe
MV Leo, a one of a kind luxury liveaboard is part of the Emperor Fleet operating in the Maldives. Built in the year 2009, Leo
Virgo is a 32-meter long liveaboard from Emperor fleet operating diving safaris to several parts of the Maldives. The Virgo Maldives cruises bring you to
MV Orion Maldives Liveaboard designed by keeping the diver’s comfort in mind. It is the culmination of years of diving experience in the Maldives to
Explore the beautiful Maldives in excellent comfort on board Carpe Vita! The beautiful 38 meters long safari yacht Carpe Vita entered the water for the
Dive site Description
The strength of the current will determine how much fun you have on this site. Lack of it can mean no fish. Ripping current can mean that there are no divers one minute later! Moderate current means you will experience one of the Maldives' finest sites.
Your dive guide should know when conditions are right and, when they are, you will see a whole host of marine life. The Thila, or pinnacle, is some 400 metres in length and slopes down to a drop-off at 30 metres. At this spot, if you concentrate on the blue you where are likely to spot tuna, trevallies and even eagle rays, either in isolation or a squadron of them flying in formation.
There are some overhangs and caverns here, and it is often worthwhile to duck into these to avoid the current and allow you to relax and enjoy the views of sweetlips, fusiliers and rock cod. Grey reef sharks are also prevalent at Cocoa Thila so keep an eye out for them at the 30-metre mark and the south-west corner of the Thila. Also at this spot is a series of ravines where snappers, trumpetfish and sharks all seem to linger.
Sometimes the current here can surprise even the most experienced of guides so it is worth planning your dive to include a series of 'rest stops' in sheltered locations. Even with a current that is not too strong, these are often the best vantage points anyhow. So provided conditions are conducive, you can drop in here and enjoy one of the most colourful and active sites in the South Male area.
This channel, in the northeast of South Male Atoll, is one of the first names on everyone's lips when someone mentions sharks. It is a marine protected area precisely because of the population of grey reef sharks and white tips that it supports.
You will begin this dive by dropping in on the south side of the channel and then sinking to the edge of the abyssal drop at around 30 metres. Here is the spot to linger for a while, checking out the sharks, rays and Napoleon wrasse that pass by in the blue just off the reef wall. After a few minutes of taking in the action, you go around the corner to the wall on your left shoulder where there are a series of caverns and caves sheltering marbled groupers and soldierfish. There is one particularly large cave to be explored which is full of colourful sponges. It's worthy of penetration since it goes back almost 25 metres.
Your dive here is likely to end by enjoying the drift through a narrow canyon that splits into the channel at about 15 metres, before continuing to go with the flow into the shallows.
There is another area here which is more or less a dive site in its right - the north side of the channel. Here there is a Thila which rises to 12 metres from a base of around 30 metres, and you can spend a good 45 minutes checking out this thila alone, particularly if you are a photographer. The walls are covered in soft corals and hard corals and provide shelter for an impressive range of marine creatures including moray eels, octopuses and lionfish.
Returning to your liveaboard from this dive you will probably marvel at the range of fish and pelagics you have just witnessed, and you may also remark on the calm conditions of the cave. However, the distance covered from entry to exit on this excellent drift dive is often its most remarkable feature.
Often considered among the Maldives' most impressive locations for fish life and photography, Guraidhoo Kandu is one that is topographically complex, consisting chiefly of 2 channels and a central reef. It also covers a large area and is a spot that can be dived several times in different ways and subdivided into several individual sites.
The Southern channel (often considered a dive site in its own right) is a stretch that runs for around 300 metres and is flanked on each side by vertical walls. With the current, you effortlessly pass these walls. Where the Southern channels meet the abyssal drop at around 35 metres, there is often much action such as jacks, Napoleon wrasse and grey reef sharks.
The reef wall provides plenty of current-free indentations where you can take 5 and check out the resident marine creatures, including honeycomb moray eels and long-jawed squirrelfish. There are an impressive number of soft corals, sea fans, black coral bushes and other sessile colours, particularly inside the channel where at 30 metres there is an archway covered with soft corals - a real Kodak moment in the right light.
It's considered one of the best dive sites in South Male Atoll. The Thila (Pinnacle) is located just outside Kandooma Island, on the North side. A relatively small pinnacle that reaches it shallowest point at 13m, while the sandy bottom is at 35-40m depth. The little channel between the Thila and the reef usually creates a strong outgoing current that runs West to East. Here is where the show happens and therefore where you and other scuba divers need to be.
Once in the water, a negative descent is the rule, to quickly reach the Western point of the pinnacle, called Jack Corner. Here is where most of the dive time is spent simply gazing at all the hunting action that the current brings close to the Thila: barracudas are usually in groups, while grey reef sharks and white tips seem to prefer hunting alone. Anthias and glass fish make an easy target for hungry trevallies, while other types of fish such as groupers and snappers prefer to find shelter from the current among the hard coral blocks scattered all over the pinnacle.
After several minutes at depth, the dive usually continues by choosing one of the two directions: either by going north or south. The pinnacle itself offer respite from the current and also the possibility of slowly ascending to a depth between 13-16m. Often seen at the top of the pinnacle are turtles busy feeding themselves, while Napoleon wrasse are more likely to pass by, being pushed by the current towards the East side of the reef.
To most people, this is a wreck dive since a small wreck dominates the dive site. It lies upright on the South Male seabed between 30 and 15 metres depth. However, the name of the dive site described the Giri or pinnacle, found nearby, and this too could be considered a dive site by itself.
You will probably drop to the deepest part of this wreck to begin your dive. However, the currents are often absent or negligible, so this is one site the less experienced diver can enjoy. They may wish to stay near the shallower bow section. The wreck was sunk on purpose to form an artificial reef and colonised by orange, red and yellow sponges, as well as Tubastrea cup coral.
When you are scuba diving on the wreck, you should look out for the big schools of glassfish that hover together en masse in the interior, little gobies peeking out from various holes, and a large school of batfish that seems to stay around the wreck. Turtles, hump head wrasse and other large reef predators will also put in frequent appearances. The wreck is penetrable in via a couple of different methods, but is small, and any group penetration needs to go in an orderly fashion.
Outside the wreck, the sandy bottom features garden eels, and shrimp and goby partnerships. You can spot leaf-fish in the broken staghorn, and there are plenty of nudibranchs and flatworms in and around the pinnacle. Fissures in the reef also act as home to octopus, moray eels and thin-armed shrimp. Divers can look out for anemones with their resident anemonefish swimming in and out of the stinging fingers.
As with many sites in the Maldives, many red-toothed triggerfish are fluttering away from the reef only to dart into their protective holes in the reef at the first sign of danger. If you're in luck, you might spot an elusive resting guitar shark here too.
This site is on the North side of Guraidhoo Kandu in the South-East of South Male and, when current is flowing into the atoll, it is really at its best. After to deflate here you will find yourself descending to begin the dive around a ledge at 30 metres, over which there is a sheer drop into the inky blue nothingness.
Your dive guide will lead you around a corner so you are moving from the outside wall into the channel where the sights begin.
First, you will notice that the channel walls are host to beautiful and intricate gorgonians, and whip corals are reaching their long thin fingers out into the channel. Colourful and dramatic is the large outcrop of rock which blanketed in a multi-coloured carpet of soft corals. Circling the backdrop you will see oriental sweetlips, bannerfish and butterflyfish. On the channel floor, there is a sandy bottom where blue-spotted rays and ribbon eels are among the easier residents to spot. Back in the corner, as you work your way around, there is a dramatic drop-off which has a lot of overhangs and crevices in which you are likely to spot unicornfish and emperor angelfish.
As the name suggests this site, located along the northern coast of the South Male Atoll, gives you the opportunity to explore several caves and caverns. Dipping into each cave is like stepping off a conveyor belt into the relative calm of each cavern before re-emerging to be carried to the next.
The line of caves and ledges runs along the northern wall of the island and is dominated by soft corals in a variety of blue, green and yellow, providing a beautiful backdrop for photography. The caves vary in depth with entrances to them ranging from 7 to 40 metres.
When you work your way into the caves, you will be able to take your time and check out the other life forms sheltering here, such as soldierfish, turtles, and unicornfish. The caves also vary in size but obvious cautions, such as maintaining neutral buoyancy at all times and divers moving in order, should prevent any unintentional contact with the walls or ceilings.
From inside the caves, if you look out, you will be able to see the larger visitors to the area, including whitetip sharks and tuna swimming in the blue, often framed in view by the colourful caves entrance. Eagle rays are often seen swimming effortlessly over the reef, which is among the most pristine you will find in the Maldives.
Your guide will lead you past the caves area and, gradually rising in the water column, you will find yourself in the shallows from 8 metres or so, which is a beautiful location to end the dive, such is the colour and activity in the nooks and crannies of the reef. Currents may sweep through here and separate you from your group towards the last few minutes of the dive so the use of a safety sausage is advisable.
South Male is part of the Male Atoll together with North Male.
Both Atolls together have 107 islands that are mostly used by resorts.
The small distance from the Capital of the Maldives makes it easy for liveaboards to departure from here. Almost every liveaboard combines several Atolls in 1 cruise. Have a look at the possibilities we have to offer.
Summary South Male Atoll
Best Time To Go: November – April
Getting There: By liveaboard from Male
Experience Level: Intermediate – Advance
Visibility: 20 – 40 Meters
Currents: Moderate – Strong
Water Temperature: 26 – 29 c