A SNORKELERS AND DIVERS DELIGHT
The house reef at Thilamaafushi is located at the north of the island. It is sheltered from the elements and therefore accessible for practically the entire year for both divers and snorkelers alike. It offers four different dive sites and includes a thila (sea mountain), which is a typical Maldivian reef structure .
House reef west – buoy 4-5:
The western side of the house reef forms a gentle lagoon barrier consisting of a slope which drops down from the reef top at approximately five meters to the bottom at 25 meters and offers a wide variety of hard corals which is home to a healthy fish population. The main feature of this section is an area with coral blocks full of glassfish and cracks with lots of lobsters. It is always a good idea to keep an eye on blue not to miss some bigger fish friends swimming past.
House reef center – buoy 3:
The central part of the house reef is a real delight for both snorkelers’ and divers. The different types and colours of corals provide a lively meeting place for large schools of tropical reef fish.
The reef is bordered by patches of seagrass at about 2-6 meters depth. These truly spectacular seagrass areas form one of the many highlights of the Le Méridien house reef. They are home to a myriad of stingrays including feathertail rays, porcupine rays, jenkins’s stingrays, (ornate-) eagle rays and marble rays. This part of the reef however is always good for a surprise such as passing manta rays or big barracudas in the blue and the area is also the feeding ground and home for green turtles.
For divers, the fun does not end at six meters depth. A sandy slope leads to a fairyland of surprises for the avid macro enthusiast. Discover a “magic field” of Sabellidae (little tube worms), which disappear when approached. You will also find tons of shells which serve as houses for hermit crabs and you’ll be able to observe the legendary handover fights when the crabs are changing their houses for bigger ones. This part of the reef also hosts glassfish, prey for their hunters like lionfish or sepias. The shy but beautiful mantis shrimp with its 360-degree view is also well worth seeing.
House reef east – buoy 1-2:
At a depth from 3-12 meters a colourful and vibrant coral reef waits to be explored. Secluded coral blocks not far from the main reef attract photographers to linger.
The resident marine biologist uses this part of the house reef to regenerate corals and to create new habitats. Admire the beautiful artificial reefs which use coral frames, steel drums or a small (lorry) wreck and see the various stages of a successfully growing reef. The seagrass fields in the vicinity have proved an attraction to many different marine species.
House reef thila – follow the rope at buoy 2:
A thila is a submerged sea mountain which doesn’t reach the water surface. The top reef is first seen at about 5 meters and drops away to a depth of 30 meters.
The thila contains a rich and diverse marine life and is also home to grey reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, eagle rays and trevallies hunting in the current. Nurse sharks sleep in the sand or rock cavities and turtles use the thila as resting and feeding ground. Trained eyes are necessary to see one of the many octopuses and/or spot the beautiful lionfish. Advanced divers will be able to visit a hole in the reef at 25 meters, filled with glassfish and cleaner shrimp.