Ari Atoll / Maldives

Whale shark © Mousa Hassan
      Ari Atoll is 96km/59mi long and 33km/20mi wide, situated to the south west of Male. It consists of 70 islands and plenty of sandy barrier beaches. 18 islands are inhabited, while 52 are uninhabited and 26 of which are resorts. Being an internal part of the Maldivian channel, the east of the atoll has depths that reach 300m/984ft while the western part is connected with the ocean and reaches 2km/1.2mi depth.
     There are more than 70 dive sites of various types at this atoll. Ukulhas Thila in Maavaru Kandu is known for its cleansing station and plenty of fish. Miyaruga Thila is remarkable for underwater caves and canyons. Kudarah thila has 20m/65ft deep cave and a shallow canyon. Kudadhoo Faru and Kudadhoo Beyru at the south of Ari atoll are excellent places for watching rare species of underwater predators. Atabu thila has caves with lots of fish colonies.
Location: to the south west of Male
What to see: mantas, groupers, tunny fish, napoleon fish, eagle rays, turtles, various sharks (including whale sharks), colonies of wrasses and amazing gorgonarias.
Depth: 15-40m/49-131ft
Currents: 1-3 knots
Visibility: 10-30m/32-98ft
Season for diving: All year long, but the best period is from December to April.
The average temperature in January is 26-29C/78-84F


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