### Maldives dive sites
Some useful translations of commonly used Maldivian terminology…
- Atoll: A group of islands surrounded by a common reef formation
- therevari: Sheltered area inside an Atoll
- Falhu: Lagoon encircled by a reef sometimes with one or more islands inside
- Faru: Large reef partially exposed at low tide
- Finolhu: Island with few or no coconut trees
- Futtaru: Reef where waves break
- Giri: Small patch of coral a couple of meters below the surface
- Kandhu: Sea inside Atoll Kandu
- Kandu Olhi: Channel
- Maa Kandu: Sea outside Atoll
- Thila: Coral reef a few meters below the surface
Ari Atoll - Some of the popular dive sites
Type of dive: Reef dive
Description: One of the best dive sites for soft coral and fish life.
The marine life here is so abundant, that the divers have named it ‘fish soup’. The thila is in a circular shape and can be covered in a single dive at different depths, if the current is not very strong.
Type of dive: Reef dive / Night dive
Description: The thila is about 80mters in diameter.
The whole thila can be done at different depths in a single dive. There are manycaves and overhangs around the thila. The large rocks on the north eastern side have large black coral trees growing on them. The site is famous for the sharks and a great barracuda which reside here. The site can be dived at any time of the day, each with different activity going on the reef. The best chance to get close to these creatures is at night time, when they are hunting. You will see sharks, barracudas, rays and eels trying to grab a morsel.
Bathala Maaga Kanthila
Type of dive: Drift dive
Description: The northern tip of Magaa reef extends into Bathalaa Kandu and is home to a number of grey reef sharks and white-tip reef sharks. They can be seen patrolling along the reef looking for food.
Maalhos Thila (Blue Curves)
Type of dive: Drift dive / Reef dive
Description: The thila is known for the abundance of soft coral growth on the thila, particularly the blue/violet colored variety that grows on the ceiling of the caves and overhangs, thus the name ‘blue caves’. In addition a large variety of fish life can be observed here.
Type of dive: Drift dive / Channel dive
Description: The reef on the southern side of Rasdhoo drops vertically to the ocean depths. The site is home to a school of Scalloped Hammerhead sharks (sphyrna lewini). In the early hours of the morning they rise from the deep waters off the atoll into the shallower depths, accessible to divers.
South Male Atoll - some of the more popular dive sites
Guraidhoo Kandu South
Type of dive: Drift dive / channel dive
Description: Since the eastern side of the channel is Open Ocean, large predatory fish can regularly be spotted here. This site is famous for sightings of sharks, schools of eagle rays and the occasional Sail fish and Hammerheads. The best condition to do the dive is when the current is flowing into the Atoll. The dive begins on the outer reef following the current into the atoll. Most of the pelagic species can be observed on the eastern side, where the reef drops off into the deep ocean. At the end of the dive in the channel, along the reef you can find overhangs with plenty of soft coral growth and small fish.
Type of dive: Drift dive / reef dive
Description: Located in a channel, the reef is subject to strong currents at times. The ocean currents carry lot of nutrients to the reef, supporting an abundance of sea life. The site is well renowned for the soft coral growth, turtles, diverse fish life and invertebrates found on the reef. At the reef slope you may find sharks and eagle rays.
Embudu Kandu (Express)
Type of dive: Drift dive / channel dive.
Description: Similar to Guraidhoo Kandu, but more sharks are likely to be spotted here. The currents can be very strong at times. The stronger the current however the better chance of seeing sharks. Under the guidance of an experienced dive guide, the dive can be managed done easily.
The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island country consisting of a group of atolls stretching south of India's Lakshadweep islands between Minicoy Island and the Chagos Archipelago, and about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea of Indian Ocean. The twenty-six atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, of which two hundred islands are inhabited.
The original inhabitants were Buddhist, probably since Ashoka's period,in the 3rd century BC. Islam was introduced in 1153. The Maldives then came under the influence of the Portuguese (1558) and the Dutch (1654) seaborne empires. In 1887 it became a British protectorate. In 1965, the Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area; it is the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in).