A new diving season has arrive in the Maldives…
Maldives Diving Season
Iruvai, the North-East Monsoon, brings with her the Maldivian dry season, ushering in a distinct diving season.
The Indian Ocean has a great effect on the climate in Maldives by acting as a heat buffer; absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of the Maldives ranges between 24°C and 33°C throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keep the air moving and the heat mitigated.
The weather in the Maldives is affected by the large landmass of South Asia to the north. The presence of this landmass causes differential heating of land and water. These factors set off a rush of moisture-rich air from the Indian Ocean over South Asia, resulting in the southwest monsoon.
According to the traditional Maldivian calendar, the IRUVAI begins in December with typically strong, unsettled winds and rough seas that gradually travel down the Maldives from the north. It is divided into nine “Nakaiy,” or periods, with the last “Nakaiy” finishing in April. The “Iruvai” brings the driest weather period to the Maldives, where the air possesses a comparatively short sea track compared with that during the remainder of the year.
Currents in the Maldives
The exposure of the Maldives to the vast Indian Ocean ensures that an immense body of water is constantly flowing across the plateau on which these atolls are built. Oceanic currents are largely influenced by the direction of the trade winds. They flow from the NE to SW during the Iruvai and from SW to NE during the Hulhangu. They are of great strength, where currents in the channels near Male’ have been recorded at four knots or more.
Tidal currents flow according to the height of the tide and the direction of the prevailing winds, and are said to be much weaker than oceanic currents, though they causes velocity variations in the flow. At the atoll passages, current streams can be quite irregular due to the islands, reefs and sandy shoals.
Best Time to Dive in the Maldives
The North-East Monsoon is considered the best period to dive in the Maldives, as a result of continuous flowing of water into the atolls, especially the channels the feature clear water and lots of food for the pelagic creatures, such as the gray reef shark and the whale shark.
Due to the continuous flow of the North-East Monsoon current, the visibility becomes crystal clear, which is why this is one of the best times to go scuba diving in the Maldives.
Almost all the dive sites are channels in local “Kandu” based dives. The incoming current attracts lager fish and channel crossing has become a common way of performing dives in these channels. The entrances of the channels are at a depth of 28 to 30 meters and the width of these channel are no more than 150 meters.
Maldives Fish Life
Due to the North-East Monsoon‘s currents, the channels’ entrances are attractive to bigger fish, such as gray reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, schooling silver jack fish, tuna, schools of eagle ray and many more.
Early morning dives to hammerhead shark point “Fotteyo Kandu” is also a highlight during this season. Hammerheads are not only seen during the early morning hours here, but have also been seen by divers during the day.
Channels like Miyaru Kandu, Devana Kandu, Diggiri Kandu and Alimatha Dekunu Kandu are also well known among the liveaboards.
In addition to Felidu Atoll, other atolls, North and South Male’, Ari atoll, Meenu atoll and Baa atoll are also considered to be excellent diving sites during the North-East Monsoon.
If you are booked for a diving holiday this season, I strongly recommend that all the divers possess a current hook, have your scuba gear tuned up and get ready for a new season of diving in the Maldives!