Maldives; the tourist's destination in winter
Winter is nearing and the cold weather will clutch us in its hands in a short while. How do you plan to spend your winter holidays? Just going around nearby or have some long distant plans? It’s up to your wish, but the sunny, low-lying and scenic atolls of Maldives can give you a delightful leisure trip during winter. Encircling the Indian Ocean, the exotic tiny islands of Maldives welcome a traveler with all its turquoise blue lagoons, fringed palm trees, diving sites and rich marine life.
Maldives is built up of several atolls consisting of tiny archipelagos in the volcanic sea. These atolls are unique in the sense that each gives a splendid view of nature in the water world of beaches and lagoons. Colorful waters with diverse marine lives in a sunny and cool environment are what await you in Maldives atolls. The nearest atoll from the Maldives international airport is the Male atoll, capital of the Maldives islands.
Maldives is situated on the trading routes of Indian Ocean. It was easier to get access to this country for traders in the past. The diversity of business people from all parts of the world has left a remarkable feature in the Maldivian culture and traditions. Its inhabitants have their roots from Asia, Middle East and Africa. Their official language, Dhivehi, differ in accent with respect to the regions and cultures of Maldives.
Here we'll discuss three scenic atolls of Maldives in detail.
1. North Male Atoll
A short boat journey from the airport would take you to this atoll of magnificent wonders. Famous for diving and surfing, North Male atoll is the heart of Maldives which makes the most of it. Several diving sites of this atoll welcome you to the underwater mysteries and attractions. Charter boats cruise the sea to surf the popular breakwaters where waves of diverse combinations can be observed.
The diving sites of North Male Atoll
North Male Atoll diving sites are characterized by coral reefs, caves, drop offs and marine life. The atoll has a visual feast of fish play and actions and is generally a well-explored area of pelagic such as shark and mantas.
1. Manta Point
A cleaning station in the southeast of the atoll complete with a rich variety of mantas.
Manta is a super-order of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays that are described in thirteen families of different species. Even if they resemble sharks, they have a peculiar type of flattened bodies, diffused pectoral fins and a gill slit from the ventral part.As the mantas emerging from the blue waters are good cleaners, this site is popularly known as a cleaning station. This little fish cautiously remove every parasite from its surroundings and small bits of dead skin from the body surface of their huge clients.
Oriental sweet-lips, scorpion fishes, hawksbill turtles and Nepolean fishes are the residents of the reefs in this site. Octopus, moray-eel and white-tip reef sharks also may catch a snap from the diver’s camera flash. Sea anemones also can be spotted in Manta Point.
2. Banana reef
Located on the South Eastern side of the North Male atoll, this banana-shaped reef has a reserve of caves with glassfish on the North-East and soft corals on the North-West. Popularly known as dragonfly reef, this site is flooded with a wide variety of sea fish such as eagle rays, angel fish, banner fish, puffers, gorgonians and unicorns.
Currents develop from November onwards bringing color and crystal clear water. This enhances the views of pelagic fish in the channels and pinnacles. The South West Monsoon in May produce much rains and the sea gets disturbed. The right season for diving is from November to May. Air temperatures in North Male stay pretty constant between 30 and 32°C and water temperatures stand between 27 to 30°C. Sudden rush of cool water can be expected at any time due to the changes occurring in the formation of currents.
Good for: Underwater photography, drift-dives, studies of reef life and health, advanced divers
Not so good for: Beginning divers
- Depth: 5 -40m
- Visibility: 10 - 30m
- Currents: Can be strong
- Surface conditions: Generally calm, but can be wild
- Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
- Experience level: Intermediate Access: Liveaboard (especially in the north)
For diving aspirants, it’s better to book your resorts six months in advance the season begins. As Maldives is rushed with a lot of travelers now-a-days, getting the best resort in this popular North Male atoll is not so easy.
This atoll has a wide variety of resorts and spas that enable you to surf different locations of the islands. Surfing is carried out in the Charter boats that take you to the break points one by one. Kurumba Maldives is one of the fine resorts that provide great hospitality and enjoyment in this atoll.
Chickens - Located on the Eastern reef of the North Male Atoll, it is near the uninhabited island, Villingilimathi Huraa. During high tides, this surfing site has great wave formations.
Pasta Point - Pasta Point is one of the most consistent breaks in the North Male Atoll. Its main attraction is the waves catching some small to big swells. Access permitted only for the guests of Dhonveli Beach and Spa.
Jailbreak - This surfing site attracts surfers with its exceptional long right turn of the wave. It also has the fastest wave in the Maldives, having long walls and three tube sections.
Sultans - Located on the Eastern reef of the North Male atoll and near the Tari Village Resort. The waves of this site have great peak takeoff which turns into a thick tube on the inside.
Male Island Point - Located on the Eastern reef of North Male atoll, this point has a dry reef to surf on.
2. Laamu atoll
- Not so popular as North Male atoll diving sites.
- Intermediate level divers can make an attempt here.
This atoll’s diving and surfing sites are not as popular as North Male atoll. Cruising Laamu Atoll, also known as Haddummati Atoll, is adventurous. Drift diving the deep channels take you to the eye-popping wonders of marine life. Many sharks and rays traverse the reef hunting for smaller fish in the strong currents.
Fushi Kandu: This diving site stretches over 250m and relatively shallow. White tip sharks and eagle rays are the frequent visitors of this channel.
Maamendhoo Giri: Parrotfish gliding past the coral reefs, turtles gathering around the corals and butterfly-fish in their casual fly are the common sights of this site.
Munnafushee Kandu: A drift drive on the open ocean side of this channel would take you to the rays that swift through the waters and also to the sharks searching for their prey.
Much of the reef remains to be explored more and this task requires the efforts of adventurous divers. Contributing to the knowledge of underwater mysteries is challenging, but can be rewarding if you succeed.
- Depth: 5 - 30m
- Visibility: 20 - 30m
- Currents: Moderate to strong
- Surface conditions: Calm, but can be wavy
- Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
- Experience level: Intermediate
Surfing sites of Laamu atoll
Even if Laamu atoll has no much surfing sites as that of North Male atoll, some of the discovered breaks are eye-catching.
Langon Bank: This surfed site has a right hander wave that rises from a big swell.
Ying Yang: One of the most consistent breaks of Laamu atoll. The wave starts out gently with a nice wall before it comes back for a while and then begins to throw, with a long inside section.
Six Senses Laamu is a famous resort in the Laamu atoll which gives a classic view of the rich sea life. Dolphin plays can be watched on the sea-shell shores of this resort.
3. Addu atoll
This heart-shaped atoll lies to the extreme South of this country with a completely different feel. You can cycle to the inhabited islands via a causeway as it is the only atoll in Maldives that has its islands connected through road. Snow white sands and sheltering palms attract the visitors to discover a new landscape of islands. Mirihi resort is a best hotel for those planning to spend some days in this atoll.
Long ago, the British established a military base on Addu Atoll’s largest island, Gan. They brought English to this atoll and you can see how the people of these inhabited islands have some western culture. Addu Atoll can be described really as the second metropolis in Maldives with the first one being Male atoll. The surf breaks of Addu atoll have not been described so far, but surfing in charter boats are the best resources for spotting waves.
Maldives can be a perfect holiday destination during winter. The low-lying areas on the sea-level of this island never experience a significant drop in temperatures. If the rich underwater life captures the minds of divers, tranquil lush green land encircled by water inspires the minds of non-divers. The crystalline clear hot waters and the snow-white sand beach shores allure its guests to enjoy winter on the islands of Maldives.
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