Thila, Giri and Kandu Dives

Maldives Scuba Diving Guide

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August, 2019

With 26 atolls and about 1,200 islands, the Maldives are undoubtedly one of the best diving destinations in the world. In fact, every diver wants to dive at least once in his life in this amazing area of the Indian Ocean. The variety of intact reefs and colorful marine life are truly impressive, especially for the first time, but the appeal of the Maldives is beyond the limits of the underwater world. Types of romantic white sandy beaches, palm trees and emerald thick vegetation are equally beautiful and unique.

The marine life of the turquoise lagoons surrounding the paradise islands of the Maldivian archipelago attracts visitors from all over the world who cannot wait to get in touch with the hypnotic marine life using scuba or just a mask and a snorkel. The Maldives well known as the home of the biggest fish on this planet, the whale shark, and manta rays as well. There are two places where the whale sharks can be seen, in the south of Ari Atoll, on Maamigili island and Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll. Allover the Maldives you can find some cleaning stations for manta rays, depends on the season they are more on the west or east side of the Maldives.

Therefore, it is not surprising that each island-resort in the Maldives has its own dive center, the menu of which offers exciting excursions to the most beautiful sites. The range of world class dive sites that cover the endless labyrinths of atolls is almost limitless, and divers of all levels and interests will find here the ideals of their aspirations.

trigger fish dance

House Reef Diving

Almost every island has a house reef, access to which you can get immersed right from the beach. These reefs attract divers of all levels, offering simple scuba diving or snorkelling at any time.

Typically, the house reef is connected to the shore by corals enters / exits. Divers and snorkelers can explore the beauty of the underwater world at any time without using a boat.

Even a quick dive to the easiest house reef will show you how abundant the marine life of the Maldives is; Graceful moray eels in small caves, colorful reef fish fluttering over coral, and schools of pelagics drifting in front of the deep blue ocean.

In some places, on almost every daily dive you can find napoleons, turtles, rays and reef sharks. Lucky divers can even spot here the majestic mantas or whale sharks.


There are 5 major streams working the maldivian indian ocean, by two monsoon seasons, and the moon positions. The South west monsoon, from approxemately end of may to mid, end of november, whitch is wet and stormy weather. North east monsoon, from november to may, brings clear warm water and mostly sunny weather, and mainly stronger currents.

yellow fusiliers

Inside Atolls: Thila, Giri and Kandu

In addition to house reefs, each diving school in the Maldives offers fun dive trips to popular diving sites that cannot be reached by swimming. Using Dhoni - a traditional Maldives boat, you can visit one or more places in the surrounding coral reefs. There are 3 important words we think you should know when enjoying your dives in the Maldives.

Thila, Giri and Faru are three different examples of reef structures, and among them divers can always find sites that have calmer conditions and are better suited for beginners, as well as more advanced areas that are more exposed to currents.

  • Thila is a pinnacle that is completely submerged in water and can often be large enough to explore the entire area in one dive. Typically, the top of Thila lies at a depth of eight meters and deeper. The coral formation, mostly in a circle shape different diameter, the top of the reef can be crossed by each tide and all weather conditions. Thila can be located inside the atoll or in the channel (kandu). The pinnacle is often exposed to strong currents and is usually covered with amazing soft corals and sea fans; As a rule, most fish can be found at the point where the current runs across a reef. The most important rule on diving in Thila is to dive quickly until the current takes you past the most interesting. Next - just take the side where Thila is washed by the current, and just have time to watch!
  • Giri is a separate reef not connected to the island. They are similar to Thila, but the main difference is that the tops of these coral spots often reach the ocean surface or may even be exposed during low tides. Most of the time around "Giri" there are very few currents, which makes them great sites for novice divers and night dives.
  • Faru is a small fringing reef, often in the shape of a horseshoe, the top of which extends and is visible from the ocean's surface. Sometimes it breakes the surface and goes outside to deeeps more than 300 meters. Although they are usually of interest only to divers in areas where the current is stronger, the shallow depths around Faru make them popular for snorkeling. Usually Faru roof (the top point of the reef) - depth from half a meter to three.
  • Kandu is a channel that's connect the inside and outside of the atoll.
  • Haa is it the same like a thila without any coral covered top reef.
  • Fushi is the name for a little island on top of a faru.
  • Finolhu is the name for a small island with limited vegetation.
  • Rha is the meaning of normal sized islands.
  • Atoll, means, a big coral boundery with a huge amount of islands inside, the max depth is around 70m
bat fish maldives

Diving in Outer Reefs and Kandu

In addition to diving at sites inside the atoll, many divers go by boat to explore the outer reefs and the famous "Kandus" of the Maldives. Fun for experienced divers is Kandu: channels that connect the outer ocean with the waters inside the atoll, creating a natural passage for water and ideal conditions for drift diving. Kandu is where the most exciting, but also the most difficult dives take place. Most often the bottom of Kandu is about 30-40 meters deep. Usually, the channel dives start as follows: divers are unloaded onto the reef wall, where they need to quickly dive to a depth of 15-20 meters - otherwise the current will drift over the top of the reef and pull it into the atoll. Further, at a depth of about 20–25 meters, divers have to drift along the wall, where the flow accelerates noticeably warning about the imminent entrance to Kandu! Here you need not to yawn, otherwise you will be dragged inside and in order not to miss the most interesting, the divers will have to start all over again.

The outer walls of atolls often descend to great depths and are not protected from strong currents. Only the most hardy coral species survive here, so divers usually should not expect large schools of reef fish. However, these open dive sites are an ideal place to face big pelagic species such as sharks, manta rays, eagles, and whale sharks.

The entrance to Kandu has strong currents and nutrient-rich waters that attract big hunters. Gray sharks and eagle rays gather in flocks along with barracudas and jacks, and tuna hunting is a unique spectacle for witnesses.

It is such a rich variety of dive sites that makes the Maldives a truly unique place for diving.

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