Maaya Thila - Maldives Dive Site
Type of Dive Site: Thila (Pinnacle), Protected Marine Area
Location: North Ari Atoll
Best Time to Dive: All year round
GPS Position: 04.05470, 072.51730
Depth Range: 5m – 30m
Coral Growth: Above average
Features: Caves and coral heads
Fish Life: Abundant
Experience Level: Novice
Dive Site Map - Maaya Thila
Diving Hints and Currents:
Maaya Thila is one of the most popular diving destinations in the Maldives, renowned to be the premier spot for white-tip reef sharks. Although grey reef sharks are also commonly spotted in the area, it is the white-tip reef sharks taking all the plaudits, with dozens of them patrolling the reef at any given time.
Barracuda spotted at Maaya Thila dive site
The Maldives dive site Maaya thila is about 80 meters in diameter, and can be explored in entirety on one long dive if the current is favorable, although many divers prefer to spend their time in a specific area of the dive site, to properly absorb the plethora of marine life and features it has to offer.
The reef top starts at 6 meters and the reef edge declines from 12 meters to below 30 meters. There a several coral outcrops on both the north west and south sides. Additionally you will find deep caves and overhangs all around the thila.
One particular cave on the north face of Maaya Thila dive site is known to harbor a feast of fish, ranging from white-tip reef sharks (usually found where the current is strongest), dog-toothed tuna, great barracuda, blue face angelfish, moorish idol, tallfin batfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, triggerfish, lionfish, stonefish and anglerfish. A huge rock on the south side has a one meter wide swim-through at 19 meters. The reef top contains many fusilier, blue-striped snapper and large turtles.
Baby White Tip Reef Sharks dwelling in the sand
This breathtaking Maldives dive site Maaya Thila is a highlight for fish lovers, and the beautiful underwater landscape, soft coral and gorgonians are simply too good to miss out on. Note that's diving boats will secure themselves with a rope tied to the reef on the upcurrent side, or at a permanent mooring on the reef top, so a controlled descent during times of strong current is possible.
Divers should ideally aim to return to the vessel with plenty of air, so the remaining time can be spent on the nearby reef top. Seeing as it is a popular spot for boats to anchor, make sure you don't forget which rope belongs to your boat!
If the current is not strong at Maaya Thila dive site, the diving is easy and divers can easily circle the Thila. Depending on the current, the dive begins at the up-current and dive guides will navigate to the coral formations in deeper waters.
Grey Reef Sharks congregate around the coral in the deeper water at Maaya Thila diving spot. Depending on the strength of the currents, Grey Reef Sharks and White Tip Reef Sharks sometimes come as shallow as the reef’s edge at just 12 meters. It’s not unusual to spend the entire dive at the up-current observing the fish life. The top reef is the perfect place to do the required safety stop. A safety balloon is necessary at Maaya Thila.
Maaya Thila is one of the best sites in the Maldives for a night dive. The dive boat is usually fixed to the mooring and a line is used for the ascent and descent for safety reasons. A strobe light is attached to the rope at 5 meters to identify the rope underwater.
Dive Guide Map of Maaya Thila - North Ari Atoll
On the Maaya Thila night dive, divers get to experience swimming close to White Tip Reef Sharks. Turtles rest inside caves / overhangs, while Moray Eels and White Tip Sharks hunt the vulnerable Fusiliers. Octopus and Stone Fish can be found around the top reef. The caves where the crevices are found are the ideal place for people who are interested in macro photography. Here you will find Cleaner Shrimps, Ghost Pipe Fish and many more seldom-seen species.
The Maaya Thila night dive is a must for all scuba divers visiting the Maldives and is a one-of-a-kind dive.
Popular Dive Spots in the Maldives:
- Makunudhoo Kandu - Kuda Faru
- Maldives Victory Wreck
- Nassimo Thila