Maldives seasonal sensations

Hanifaru and North - Indian Ocean

  • Water temp 27-28C
  • Air Temp 30C++
  • Visibility 10-20m
  • Good for... Mantas, grey reef sharks, turtles, white tips
  • Suitable for beginners Confident beginners upwards
  • Highlights Hanifaru and North itinerary runs on the New Moon phase, resulting in a greater flow of plankton into the world famous Hanifaru Bay, where the massive majestic mantas venture in for a feeding frenzy between July and October each year

About Hanifaru and North

Visit the famous north Male atoll in the Maldives as well as the northern atolls on Baa and Lhaviyani on a single itinerary, which has been carefully timed around the New Moon phases July-October to try to optimise your chances of plankton feeder and pelagic sightings. Snorkel at the world famous Hanifaru Bay as well as exhilarating dives.

The goal of this itinerary is to follow the plankton streams, which are at their most dense around the new moons. This will hopefully bring you closer to the famous manta and whalesharks that visit the reefs Thanks to the currents that sweep plankton into the shallow lagoons, mantas follow in vast numbers to feed. Although diving is not permitted in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hanifaru Bay, you are allowed to snorkel with these beautiful beasts in the lagoon.

After a manta has had its feed it needs to get cleaned, which means dives at the known manta cleaning stations in both North Male, Lhaviyani and Baa Atoll can also be perfect places for additional sightings, as they loop and hover overhead. Of course, sightings can't be guaranteed but this itinerary is structured to try to optimise your chances.

Hanifaru and North itinerary does more than just look for manta. Dive the famous drift at Kuredu Express, and come face to face with turtles at Kuredu Caves. As well as mantas, you can get close to turtles, grey reef sharks and whitetip reef sharks. The thila dives are beautiful, with clouds of butterfly fish, red tooth trigger fish and banner fish. The colourful soft corals are nestled between sea fans. Travellay and barracuda zip along the reef, feasting on the smaller fish.

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Scuba Travel run the Hanifaru and North itinerary around the moon phases, so there is always a trip to suit!

Embarkation
Emperor fleet embark and disembark for Hanifaru and North at Male.

Trip Duration
All of our Hanifaru and North trips run for 7 nights with 7 nights spent on board your liveaboard.

There are normally 3 dives a day apart from on your first and last day. There is usually an opportunity for a night dive during the week. You are only allowed to snorkel in Hanifaru Bay, so a dive may be substituted to spend time in the lagoon when the manta are present.

Arrival
If your trip departs from Male you will be met on arrival from your international flight and taken directly to the boat. This is a short boat transfer and takes approx 20 mins.

North Male
North Male is a great place to get your toes wet at Beautiful Pinnacles. There is a chance to find your first manta at Lankan manta point.

Baa atoll
In Baa atoll there are many sites to choose from. Nelivaru Thila has a busy fish life and when current swept, sharks, eagle rays and napoleons will be seen. Dhigu Thila is usually the third dive of the day. A long ridge with good hard coral on top. In slack water it is a great photography dive, in pumping current a long drift revealing a series of pinnacles that takes you on to another reef.

During the Manta season at Hanifaru (July - October) one of the day dives will be substituted with a chance to dive or snorkel with this huge manta congregation. This is an incredible natural phenomenon and whalesharks are often also found, following the plankton into the lagoon.

Lhaviyani atoll
The diving is Lhaviyani is diverse. The Kuredu Express is a famous site, and when the current is running, it can be an exhilarating and speedy drift dive. Kuredu Caves is a hang out site for turtles, who swim on and off the many ledges and over hangs that pepper the wall. Fushivaru Thila can be another great location for manta, but also home to large schools of snappers, sweet lips and butterfly fish.

Experience levels
You don't need a minimum number of dives but you should be comfortable with drift dives. Currents can be strong. All your diving is made from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m.

Disembarkation
You will normally leave the boat after breakfast on your last day and be transferred to the airport to begin your journey home. Please do speak to the travel consultant at the time of booking to confirm the exact last day arrangements.