Diving in the South West Monsoon
South West Monsoon Explained
One of the most commonly asked question by every diver, snorkeler or visitor to Maldives is “what’s the best time to dive”? Simple put diving in Maldives can be done throughout the year. The dry season is the peak months to dive in the Maldives and this could be a getaway from the cold winter period, while during the wet season despite the rain and tropical storms and choppy seas diving can be done on both side of the atoll.
Maldives is located in Indian Ocean and experiences monsoonal climate. Maldives has two distinctive season; Iruvai the dry season (North West Monsoon) from January to April and is generally considered the best months for diving.
Hulahngu the wet season (South West Monsoon) from May to November can be unstable weather with tropical thunder storms, gusty wind, and rough seas. The wet season prolong until December and late December bringing the dry season’s transitional weather.
South West Monsoon Visibility and Current
Many divers prefer the south west monsoon months for diving because of larger fish such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks that frequent to feed on Plankton.
During these months the current flow remains unstable and it flows both in and out of the atolls and channel bringing poor visibility and planktons to the eastern side. However on the western side of the atoll the visibility is clear with incoming current.
South West Monsoon Fish Life
While north east monsoon dominate the peak months to dive on the eastern side of the atolls offering spectacular drift dives, sharks, and specially the channel dives, the south west monsoon offers channel diving on the western side and gives the opportunity to see lager fish too.
During south west monsoon due to the flow of current Manta rays and Whale sharks are common on the eastern side.
Prime dive sites in North Male’ atoll during the south west monsoon include: Lanka Manta Point, Sunlight Thila are top dive sites for Manta Rays. In BAA atoll; Nelivaru Thila, Nelivaru Haa and Hanifaru Bay is considered as Manta Points while Hanifaru bring the opportunity to see both Whale Shark and Manta and keeping the cleaning station busy at times.
During the South West Monsoon, the dive sites on the western side are well accessible if the seas remain calm. These include; Kalhahandhi Kandu ( Panettone), Thundufushi Thila and Gangehi Kandu.