Archive for the ‘South West Monsoon’ Category

SAVE Constellation Fleet Maldives 1 Night Free

June 10th, 2015 Comments off

Constellation Fleet Maldives


8D7N Cruise only Pay for 6 Nights!


Join Maldives premier liveaboard diving fleet in August and September 2015 from as little as USD1500 per person for 8D7N with 17 dives, full-board accommodation, and all the comforts that diving with the best of Maldives entails.

For more information please contact us with any questions on

The Constellation Fleet in Maldives is an Award winning provider of Diving and Liveaboard services, with a dedicated and professional team to take care of your every need while on your well deserved holiday.

The boats are all currently in for their annual 2 month rest and maintenance period. All 3 boats are being given a fresh lick of paint, and minor renovations. The boats will all be getting new air-conditioning systems this year which will add to the already high levels of client comfort.

Why not join Constellation Fleet in August and September to be the first few to experience the fresh feel of these wonderful Liveaboards?

For bookings and more information please contact us on

Experience Maldives Manta Rays

March 19th, 2015 Comments off

Dive the Maldives. Experience mantas like never before and take part
in key conservation research

Hanifaru Manta 27 300x199 Experience Maldives Manta Rays

Manta feeding frenzy in Maldives

Constellation Fleet Maldives has teamed up with Manta Trust to bring guests the chance to dive with manta experts, Niv Froman and Guy Stevens. Not only will guests dive with the best, but there will be the chance to experience and take part in cutting-edge conservation research to protect these most majestic of animals as well as name new mantas.

MV Orion Port Side 300x199 Experience Maldives Manta Rays

Orion on the way to a new diving cruise in Baa, Rhasdhoo and Ari Atoll

30th August – 6th September 2015
Manta Madness, Male, Baa Atoll and Ari Atoll
Trip leader: Niv Froman

Join Constellation Fleet’s MV Orion and the Manta Trust’s Niv Froman on this trip dedicated to sightings and interactions with manta rays, focusing on the Central Atolls of North Malé Atoll, Baa Atoll and North Ari Atoll.

27th February – 7th March 2016
Southern & Central Atolls Sharks & Mantas
Huvadhoo, Laamu, Thaa, Meemu, South Ari Atoll
Trip Leader: Guy Stevens

Join Constellation Fleet’s MV Orion and the Manta Trust’s Guy Stevens. Dedicated to sightings and interactions with manta rays, focusing on the Southern & Central Atolls with the chance to really understand the magnificent manta.

Manta Trust scientists will be collecting photographic identification images of all mantas encountered throughout the expedition, a task that guests are welcome and encouraged to take part in. Sightings of all the manta rays encountered will be added to the Maldives database and guests will be invited to name any new individuals. Every manta sighting, whether it’s a new manta or a re-sighting of an individual which is already known, is an important piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle, allowing the manta team to better understand the population size, composition, migratory routes, reproductive output, native ranges and areas of critical habitats; all of which is crucial information in developing effective management and conservation strategies for these increasingly vulnerable animals.

About The Manta Trust
Manta rays are among the most charismatic creatures that inhabit our oceans. With the largest brain of all fish their intelligence and curiosity make encounters with these creatures a truly amazing experience. However, despite their popularity with divers and snorkelers many aspects of these creatures’ lives remain a mystery, with only snippets of their life history understood. More worryingly, in recent years, a fishery for these animals has developed with devastating effects on populations of these animals globally.

The Manta Trust was formed in 2011 to co-ordinate global research and conservation efforts for these animals, their close relatives and their habitat. As charismatic megafauna, manta rays act as the flagship species helping to promote and engage the general public in the wider message of marine ecosystem conservation. Through this top down approach to conservation the manta ray becomes the catalyst for change, engaging and motivating the general public, governments and local communities alike. As a UK Registered Charity, the Trust brings together a number of projects from around the globe, both new and long-standing, including the Republic of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Indonesia. By conducting long-term, robust studies into manta populations in these locations the Trust aims to build solid foundations upon which Governments, NGOs and conservationists can make informed and effective decisions to ensure the long term survival of these animals and their habitat.

Niv Photo 2013 300x320 Experience Maldives Manta Rays

Trip Leader, Niv Froman
Join Niv’s entertaining talks on the highlights of manta lives and cutting edge research, and gain an insight into the life of a manta researcher.

Niv has been passionate about nature for as long as he can remember; his dream has always been living in close contact to the wilderness and to try to understand its fascinating mysteries.

After graduating summa cum laude in Natural Sciences at the University of Milan, Niv completed a Masters degree in Environmental Management focusing primarily on animal behaviour and evolution.

In 2010 he began work as a marine biologist in the Maldives, an experience that brought him closer to marine life and developed his passion for the underwater domain.

The complex and still poorly understood behaviour of manta rays particularly intrigued him from his first encounter. It was the desire to better understand their biology and help the conservation effort that introduced him to the Manta Trust. Since 2013, Niv has worked full time as Project Leader of the Maldivian Manta Ray Project, managing and coordinating the conservation and research of these majestic creatures.

Guy Stevens portrait 300x443 Experience Maldives Manta Rays

Trip Leader, Guy Stevens
In 2005 Guy founded the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) with the aim of helping to conserve the Maldives’ manta population through active research and education.  In 2011, Guy formed The Manta Trust along with a collaboration of scientists, conservationists, photographers, filmmakers and communicators. His work with manta rays now takes him to other corners of the world, but the Maldives for him will always be the best place to see and study these amazing animals.

The research that Guy has conducted on the manta rays of the Maldives, especially in the famous Hanifaru Bay, has been featured in dozens of articles including a National Geographic Magazine feature and numerous television documentaries (BBC, ITV, National Geographic, Animal Planet, ABC, etc). Guy’s research at Hanifaru and his work with The Manta Trust contributed to the declaration of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2011. In March 2013 Guy and the rest of the Manta Trust team were key players in a coalition of NGOs which were instrumental in the successful campaign resulting in manta rays being listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), greatly improving the global protection for these vulnerable species.

Guy is now working towards the completion of his PhD focusing on manta rays at the University of York in the United Kingdom. Throughout the expedition, Guy will be providing lectures and informal talks on manta ray and whale shark research and conservation, general marine biology and highlighting the diverse and productive marine ecosystems of the Maldives.

Manta Rays Where and When in Maldives?

March 12th, 2015 Comments off

The Maldives is blessed to be one of the few places in the world where you have a permanent resident population of Manta Rays which move around the Maldives following the their food, the plankton around.  There are believed to be around 5,000 Manta Rays living in Maldivian waters, with the Maldives Manta Ray Project having already identified over 3,000 individuals, constantly increasing with new sightings from their team of Marine Biologists, volunteers and many ordinary tourists such as yourselves. If you would like to assist the Manta Trust and the Maldives Manta Ray Project with their research you can log on to and upload your pictures. Its a great way to find out more about the Manta Rays you have seen, as well as help a worthy cause to help us all better understand the habits of Manta Rays, which should help with their continued protection.

Hanifaru Manta 27 300x199 Manta Rays Where and When in Maldives?

Manta feeding frenzy in Maldives

So where will you find our beloved Manta Rays in the Maldives you might ask? Well the simple answer is it depends on what time of year it is. As mentioned previously, the Manta Rays migrate following their food. Plankton is moved around by the winds and the currents, so its position is determined by the Monsoons that affect the Maldives each year. The Maldives has 2 Monsoons, the South-west monsoon from May to October, and the North-east monsoon from December to March. April and November act as transitional months where the predominant winds can be pushing from either direction.

So what does this mean for your Holiday in the Maldives?

Well if you are wanting to stay on a Liveaboard it usually does not matter as they will alsways try to find you as many Manta Rays & Whalesharks as possible. However as a rule of thumb if you want to see Manta Rays, June to November look for cruises that take you to North Male, Baa Atoll, or South-west Ari Atoll.

If you are looking for Manta Rays December to May, then your best best is to find cruises that will take you to Ari Atoll, which has Manta cleaning and feeding sites year round, which are however most active in the North East Monsoon.


South West Monsoon May – October
Aveyla Manta Village
 Baa Atoll is one of the best value for money / budget land based options for finding Manta Rays in the South West Monsoon, with its close proximity to Hanifaru Bay, and surrounding Manta cleaning stations. A brand new establishment with an experienced dive team and fun friendly atmosphere.

North East Monsoon December – March
Casa Mia @ Mathiveri Dive Retreat in North Ari Atoll is a great year round diving destination, and is perfectly situated on the West coast of the Maldives during the North-east monsoon from December – March. In this period Mantas can be seen outside the harbour feeding, and there are numerous great Manta dive sites where you can sit with the Manta Rays for up to an hour while the cleaning wrasse clean then. Like a Manta car wash!

IMG 4968 300x194 Manta Rays Where and When in Maldives?

Manta Cleaning @ Lankan Manta Point, North Male

Black Pearl Liveaboard Returns to Hulhumale’ Island in Maldives

November 8th, 2009 Comments off

The Black Pearl liveaboard docks at Hulhumalé island in the Maldives after a great week of diving…

Book your liveaboard holiday on the Black Pearl now!

The Black Pearl liveaboard, whose mission is to comfortably transport divers to the Maldives’ best dive sites, has returned to Hulhumale’ island of the North Male Atoll after a great week of diving.

The Black Pearl liveaboard‘s final dives were performed at the Northern Ari Atoll (also called the Alif Alif Atoll), which boasts some of the Maldives’ most magnificent dive sites. The Southern Ari Atoll also features an area of beautiful diving destinations, including Broken Rock and protected marine area Kuda Rah Thila.

Black Pearl Liveaboard Dives to Lhamiyaru Gaa Thila & Maaya Thila

The Black Pearl liveaboard‘s initial dives took place at Lhamiyaru Gaa Thila and Maaya Thila.  The dive at Maaya Thila was an especially wonderful dive, where the current were very weak and the divers had the opportunity to closely observe the Malidves’ fish without much effort, such as Clownfish and Oriental Sweetlips.

The Black Pearl liveaboard‘s third dive was planned as a night dive to Maaya Thila. However, the dive was cancelled for safety reasons due to poor weather conditions.

Black Pearl Liveaboard Dives to Makaru Thila

The Black Pearl liveaboard‘s last dive took place at Makaru Thila, where grey reef sharks and juvenile white tips were seen up close.

The return trip to Hulhumale’ island began right after the last dive at Makaru Thila.

All the divers checked-out this morning.

The new groups of divers arrived this morning and right now the Black Pearl liveaboard is getting ready for the check dive.

Book your liveaboard holiday on the Black Pearl now!

Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

November 8th, 2009 Comments off

A new diving season has arrive in the Maldives…

For more information on diving holidays, visit Maldives Dive Travel now!

The Maldives, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean and comprised of over 1000 atolls, features some of the world’s best scuba diving sites

Maldives Diving Season

Iruvai, the North-East Monsoon, brings with her the Maldivian dry season, ushering in a distinct diving season.

Maldives Weather

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.

Two seasons dominate Maldives’ weather: The dry season, associated with the winter northeast monsoon “IRUVAI,” and the rainy season, brought by the summer southwest monsoon “HULHANGU.”

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.

Diver hooked on the reef using a current hook. Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

Diver hooked on the reef using a current hook

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.

Felidhu Atoll

The Felidhu Atoll, within the range of liveaboard diving, is often visited during the North-East Monsoon due to the high possibility of spotting some larger marine life.

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.

 Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

Gray Reef Shark

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!

For more information on diving holidays, visit Maldives Dive Travel now!

The coral gardens of Maldives.

October 20th, 2009 Comments off

Acropora or commonly called table corals is a genus of coral in the phylum Cnidaria. Depending on the species and location, Acropora may grow as plates or slender or broad branches. Like other corals, Acropora corals are actually colonies of individuals, known as polyps, which are about 2 mm across and share tissue and a nerve net. The polyps can withdraw back into the coral in response to movement or disturbance by possible predators, but when undisturbed they protrude slightly. The polyps usually extend further at night as they capture zooplankton from the water.

 The coral gardens of Maldives.

table coral at Kalhahandhi kandu

Acropora genus corals are most common in shallow reef environments with bright light and moderate to high water motion. Many small reef fishes live near acropora colonies and retreat into the thicket of branches if threatened.


These corals have zooxanthellae, symbiotic algae that live in the corals’ cells and produce energy for the animals through photosynthesis. Environmental destruction has led to a dwindling of populations of Acropora, along with other coral species. Acropora corals are especially susceptible to bleaching when stressed. Bleaching is due to the loss of the coral’s zooxanthellae, which are a golden-brown color. Bleached corals are stark white and may die if new zooxanthellae cannot be assimilated. Common causes of bleaching and coral death include pollution, abnormally warm water temperatures, increased ocean acidification, sedimentation, and eutrophication.


It’s not only the big fishes that you count on a dive, seeing some healthy coral growth brings the complete satisfaction on a dive.

In Maldives there are vast unexplored reefs which display beautiful coral gardens. These reef tops are rich in table coral growth. For example there are few reefs or dive sites on south and north Ari atoll that proves this.

 The coral gardens of Maldives.

Panettone table corals

Kalhahandhi kandu also know as Panettone is one of the best places to discover healthy table corals on the top reef between safety stop depths. Ideal location for snorkelers and scuba divers.

Rangali Madivaru at southern west of Ari atoll, the inner part of the reef has a fantastic stretch of table corals. The best time to dive here is the south west monsoon when the current flows from west to east.

Kandholhudhoo House Reef has a spectacular house reef that displays different species of hard corals mainly dominated by Acropora. This is fantastic reef for beginners, snorkelers and advanced divers to increase their knowledge in different species of hard corals.

Maldives Fly Fishing

September 15th, 2009 Comments off

Fly Fishing in the Maldives

The Maldives is an excellent destination for fly fishing. The clear, still blue waters mean you can see the bottom of the ocean in so many places, that fly fishing in the Maldives is relatively easy.

Maldives Island Maldives Fly Fishing

Fly Fishermen love the Shallow, Crystalline Waters of the Maldives

Maldives Fly Fishing Season

The fly fishing season in the Maldives runs from May until October, roughly coinciding with the Maldives season known as the Southwest Monsoon, when the Maldives weather is windier and wetter than during the other season, the Northeast Monsoon, when the weather is hotter and drier.

Maldives Fly Fishing Specimens

The amazing marine life that can be caught while fly fishing in the Maldives is another great attraction of this destination. Fly fishermen can expect to catch Tarpon, Bonefish, Blue Fin Tuna, Barracuda and Trevallies. The fish here grow to great sizes, so fly fishermen will be happy with their catches.

Fly Fishing Equipment

When preparing for a fly fishing trip in the Maldives, you should take the following fly fishing equipment. If you do not have it, you can hire it in the Maldives from one of the fishing tour operators.

  • Flyrod
  • Flyreel
  • Sun Cream
  • Sun Hat
  • Long-sleeved lightweight shirts
  • Polarized Sunglasses
  • Aquatic Footwear

Maldives Fly Fishing Tips and Hints

Fishing is a very important part of the Maldivian culture and economy. Scuba diving is also very important to the economy and so fish populations need to be protected. Most resorts here are located on private islands and many of them do not allow fishing on or around their coral reefs. Be sure to check with your hotel before making your reservation if you plan to partake in any kind of fishing. This way you will be sure to avoid disappointment.

Best of South West Monsoon

July 30th, 2009 Comments off

During the south west monsoon diving can be done on both east and western side of the atolls. While the eastern side remains protected from strong wind and rough sea, there are some precautions to take when diving on the western side if the weather is choppy.

Accessing dive sites on the western side can be difficult during rough seas and windy condition. The entry points on most of the channel are on the outside and with rough seas this can lead to a strenuous entry due to big waves and precaution must be taken.

Here are few top dive sites that are must do’s:

North Male’ atoll: Lankan Manta Point
Type of Dive Site: Outer Reef
Location: Lankanfinolhu House Reef
Depth Range: 5m – 30m
Coral Growth: Poor
Fish Life: average
Features: Manta Ray
Diving Hints and Current: This is the manta point in North Male’ Atoll during South West Monsoon from early April till late December. It’s fairly an easy dive if the current is not too strong. Usually divers being the dive a bit away from the cleaning station and the dive guides will guide all the way to the cleaning station. On a good day manta’s can be found circling above the cleaning station. Divers have to take a seat around the cleaning station coral block and watch the graceful show. Divers are not allowed to come on top of the cleaning station coral block as this would scare away the Mantas.

Manta Ray close to surface Best of South West Monsoon

North Ari atoll: Gangehi Kandu
Type of Dive Site: channel
Depth Range: 5m – 30+m
Coral Growth: average
Fish Life: very good
Features: channel, white tips, gray reef, leopard shark, caves and overhangs
Diving Hints and Current: This is one of the longest channels in Ari atoll, with more than 2.5 km to drift from the entrance of the channel and finish the dive at inside the atoll. When current flowing in dive begins a bit further out and drifts inside the channel. Once inside the channel start the caves and overhangs, few outcrops away from the reef. These out crops have interesting features and covered with excellent hard coral and soft coral.

The entire channel’s bottom consists of sand and this is the perfect resting ground for sting rays, white tip and a very commonly seen shark here is the leopard shark.

Gray Reef Best of South West Monsoon

North Male’ atoll: Voshimas Thila
Location: North Male’ Atoll / Rasfaree and Reethi Rah
Type of Dive Site: Thila
Depth Range: 16 to 30+M
Coral Growth: above average
Fish Life: very good
Features: white tips, gray reef, eagle ray, jacks, tuna
Diving Hints and Current: Best to dive when the current flows into the atoll from west to east (south west Monsoon) and with an ideal incoming current. Here the fish life depends on the current. Spend as much as time possible on the up current as the fish life can be very interesting. A quick descend is necessary as the top reef is 15m to 16m. Be prepared to make a safety stop in the blue water and safety balloon is a must on this dive.

Leopard Shark Best of South West Monsoon

South Ari atoll: Pannettone
Location: near Thundhufushi Resort
Type of Dive Site: Channel
Depth Range: 5 to 30+M
Coral Growth: Very good
Fish Life: very good
white tips, gray reef, eagle ray, jacks, tuna
Diving Hints and Current:
Pannettone is subjected to strong current at times and creates washing machines and turbulence underwater. A long overhang between 12m to 25m has fallen due to underwater disturbance to the bottom this part is easily noticed when you begin the dive for outgoing current. But here the water flushes back and forth; this channel receives replenishment on a continuous basis.

Along the reef wall is covered floor to ceiling with a plethora of multi colored soft corals, sea fans, sea whips, and sponges. Squirrelfish, Angelfish, Fairy Basslets, Butterfly fish, Scorpion fish, Coral Cod, Triggerfish, Puffer fish and Pipefish in various combinations of colors lurk among the corals and gaps.

The shallow part / top reef is the most ideal place to do the safety stop, endless table corals in perfect condition makes this reef a must to do.

Diving in the South West Monsoon

July 20th, 2009 Comments off

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.

rainfall graph Diving in the South West Monsoon

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.

Malosmadulu Atolls, Maldives. Diving in the South West Monsoon

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.