With feeding manta rays, graceful whale sharks and schooling hammerheads, the Ari Atoll is a pelagic dream. Most of the dive sites here are not protected walls or coral reefs. Rather, the region favors thilas (pinnacles) and kandus (channels) perfect for drift diving. Because of the exposed nature of the atoll, currents can be quite strong.
Divers will delight in the schools of colorful fish, flying formations of eagle rays and even the occasional guitar shark. Fish Head, which is under marine protected status, is one of the best places in Ari Atoll for spotting sharks.
The pinnacle which plunges from 32-115 feet (10-35 meters) is covered in black coral bushes and dotted with caves and overhangs. Residents include up to 16 grey reef sharks and thousands of blueline snappers.
Male Velana International Airport is well served by flights originating in Europe, although a stop-over in the Middle East may be required. If coming from Asia, expect to stop in Sri Lanka before continuing on to Male.
If you’re staying on the Ari Atoll, you will need to transfer by seaplane (30 minutes), speedboat (1 hour) or by local ferry (4-6 hours).