Seenu Atoll Diving
Tucked away at the southernmost tip of the Maldives, Seenu Atoll boasts unique dive highlights including the largest wreck in the Maldives plus pristine hard coral gardens. Whales and dolphins are commonly seen, manta rays are present year-round and you might even see a passing hammerhead or tiger shark.
Diving in Seenu Atoll
Seenu Atoll is the southernmost tip of the Maldives. Located in the Southern Atolls, it boasts some unique diving. The inhabited islands of Hithadhoo and Gan have a colonial character, leftover from the British occupation during and after WWII. The British Air and Naval base here (chosen because of the atolls natural harbour and barrier reef protection) are also responsible for the largest wreck in the Maldives, the British Loyalty.
Diving in Seenu Atoll offers some vibrant sights, it was largely unaffected by coral bleaching meaning the hard coral gardens are some of the brightest in the Maldives. Whales and dolphins are regular sights off the dive boat and it is one of the only places in the archipelago where manta rays can be sighted all year round. Due to its protection and with currents more gentle than other atolls, it can also cater to beginner divers. An example of this is the site “Gan Inside” at which you can see lots of turtles and stingrays gliding on the healthy reef.
Best time to dive
The best time for diving in Seenu Atoll is from December to April. This is the driest period of the year and has low winds. This means that the visibility is generally excellent and the seas are at their calmest.
Between June and November, the winds are stronger and there is more rain, though plenty of sunshine too. The diving is still excellent and brings in higher chances of seeing large pelagic creatures who come to feast on the extra plankton. That being said, the rougher seas around June sometimes disrupt dive boats so do check before you book.
Types of diving
Seenu Atoll diving offers a quieter and more laid back appeal than the busier Northern Atolls. There is only 1 dive centre available - and they do offer courses. There are no dive resorts and only a handful of guesthouses and hotels to choose from. The best choice, if you wish to dive a lot, is a liveaboard. It makes travel between dive sites easier and you will be able to see all the atoll has to offer. There are over 10 liveaboards to choose from so there will definitely be something to suit you!
Diving in Seenu Atoll offers drift dives, like most atolls, but these are noticeably shallower and gentler - making it perfect for novices. The kandus have stronger drifts for more advanced divers, with some caves and overhangs to investigate. There is also the British Loyalty wreck to explore - with swim-throughs and coral galore, this is perfect for photographers.
What to see
Seenu Atoll reefs do not always have the clouds of colourful reef fish that others do. That is not to say that there is nothing to see. The larger animals and fish more than makeup for it. Green and hawksbill turtles thrive on the shallow coral reefs and the hard coral gardens are vibrant and healthy. Dogtooth tuna and trevally can be seen in huge numbers.
The currents bring in pelagic life such as eagle rays, napoleons and grey reef sharks - and the rare opportunity to dive with manta rays all year round. If you’re very lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of tiger sharks and hammerheads. If huge marine encounters are your aim, try to book your trip to coincide with the full moon. This brings in the strongest currents and therefore the biggest fish.
Best places to dive
The wreck of the British Loyalty is the biggest and most famous wreck in the Maldives. Lying at 33m, this behemoth is 140m long. It has a fantastic history, including a swim through caused by the torpedo strike which finally brought it down. This dive site is an excellent photo opportunity, with sights such as the propellers, now encrusted with black coral, and the diverse marine life such as turtles, leaf fish and schooling trevally. The only negative about this site is that the visibility is not always crystal clear, especially during the monsoon season.
Maa Corner is a manta ray cleaning site, located between 20m and 30m, but it can be dived at shallower depths too. It can be dived year-round and is most active during rising tides. The currents can be fierce here, so take your reef hook, hang on, and gaze around in wonder at the huge reef mantas surrounding you - there are sometimes up to 50 at a time.
Maa Kandu Beyru offers a beginner-friendly drift dive which showcases fantastic brain and table coral formations. Schooling fish along with green turtles, eagle rays and sometimes manta rays make this an amazing dive. The slope descends to 30m and the marine life stays consistent, with clouds of colourful reef fish on show.
Another great dive site is Shark Point. Enjoy a 30m dive on a sandy bottom, surrounded by over 20 white tip and grey reef sharks. The brave can even look over the drop-off and see even more sharks circling in the blue below!