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SUB-OCEANIC

FAIRMONT MALDIVES

LE MÉRIDIEN

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UNTOUCHED EXCELLENCE

Located in the south of Lhaviyani Atoll, Le Meridien Maldives offers easy access to untouched reefs. Southern Lhaviyani Atoll still remains one of these peaceful and isolated atolls that the Maldives have on offer to divers. The atoll is famous for enormous and unmatched schools of colourful reef fish, which can be enjoyed by snorkelers and divers alike. In addition, Lhaviyani still features a healthy coral populations and the North is home to world famous dive sites. 

1. HOUSEREEF

Please find a detailed introduction to the Le Meridien housereef here.

2. OLHUVELI HULANGU FARU

Description: Not so far and yet so beautiful. A five-minute boat ride to the east take us to the neighboring local island Olhuvelifsuhi. The shallows are covered in sand which is why we also call this dive site “the milky sand reef”. However, the milky sand part is great for spotting all kinds of stingrays. Feathertails, marble rays, jenkins rays and their brothers and sisters can be seen resting in the sand during the day. During the season even mantas frequent this reef. You’ll also find great and healthy coral blocks that follow each other like a string of pearls at the reef edge at about 12 meters. Olhuveli Hulangu Faru is great for spotting both hawksbill and green turtles as well as nurse sharks, batfish, barracuda and lobsters.  Curious batfish follow divers around and if you are lucky, you’ll spot a rare longnose hawk fish.

Depth: 2 – 30 meters          

Experience Level:  All levels

3. OLHUVELI MEDHU FARU

Description: Olhuveli Medhu Faru is located 5 minutes to the east of Le Meridien Maldives. The dive site features an abundance of healthy hard corals that are pleasing to the diver’s eye. The reef structure is very unique. It starts from 2 meters and connects into separate reefs and small thilas all the way down to 30 meters. It is spread very wide and gives endless possibilities how to dive the area Ever wanted be able to differentiate between different stingray types? This is the place to learn that. During the season even mantas come by and you might get lucky to spot one of the animals that are on most diver’s bucket lists. Large green turtles have made Olhuveli Medhu Faru their home, but you will also find hawksbill turtles that are usually smaller and more hectic. Dragon heads have also been found here.

Depth: 2 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

4. HALAAKU THARI THILA

Description: Halaaku Thari Thila lies a 10-minute ride to the north. The name translates into “broken star thila” and this is exactly what the topography looks like. Overall, the dive site offers a beautiful underwater landscape with lots of healthy hard corals around. Anemone fish and batfish are often seen here and both humpback and blue line snappers make the dive a very colorful and also “fishy” experience. At a depth of 16 meters at the southern end of the dive site we find a narrow and almost vertical wall which attracts a lot of tropical reef fish and is home to moray eels. Eagle rays can be seen a little bit off the reef swimming in the blue water and stingrays are often found on sandy patches next to the thila.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

5. THIN SEHLI THILA

Description: A thila is the Divehi word for an underwater mount that does not reach the surface. This thila is located about 10 minutes west of Le Meridien Maldives. The dive at Thin Sehli starts fairly shallow at around 5 meters then gradually drops down to 25 meters on all sides. The dive site features some really nice coral blocks and is home to several cleaning stations where cleaning wrasses are waiting for larger fish to come by to get “cleaned”. They cleanse involves the removal of dead or infected skin and parasites from the gills or surface of the skin. Thin Sehli Thila on a lucky day is a good place to come eye to eye with the elusive ornate eagle ray who has been spotted here a few times already. We also often see nurse shark that are sleeping in or in between the blocks after a night of hunting.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

6. GAA VEHTUNU THILA

Description: 10 minutes towards the west take us to Gaa Vehtunu Thilawhich translates into “fallen stone”. The fallen stone actually describes a reef structure west of the main reef consists of a big mushroom coral block at 19 meters depth. The main thila has a small top reef at 5 meters from where it drops gradually to about 20 meters. The thila is used by turtles as feeding grounds and by stingrays as a resting place. Watch out for moray eels who are looking out of their little holes. They provide a really nice picture opportunity, especially when they get their teeth cleaned by cleaner shrimp or cleaner fish. We find areas full of glassfish on the northern part of the dive site while the south is the territory for snappers. Both blue line and humpback snappers make this dive a very colorful experience.

Depth: 5 – 26 meters

Experience Level:  All levels

7. BOAVA THILA

Description: A 10-minute boat ride to the north and we arrive at Boava Thila. Located north of Le Meridien and in the inside atoll, the dive site is suitable for beginners and experienced divers alike. It is a great spot to find turtles. The endangered hawksbill turtle is a very common inhabitant on this part of the reef.  The reef features large patches with beautiful black coral – a certain kind of soft coral which isn’t actually black. Only the skeleton of this coral species is black, the polyps surrounding it are colorful. Small cracks and overhangs are home to lobsters, moray eels and stone fish. Stone fish are the world’s most venomous fish and are hard to find since they blend in perfectly with the reef. A stonefish will never willingly attack you, but watch out where you place your hands.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

8. TALABO THILA

Description: About a 15-minute boat ride to the north west of Le Meridien we find the small Talabo Thila, a nice and easy dive sites for all experience levels. Talabo is Divehi for “bald person” and the name resembles the program here. We do not dive this dive site for the beautiful coral life because it doesn’t exist. There are only a few coral blocks on Talabo Thila but they know how to amaze with their abundance of fish surrounding them. The dive starts at about 5 meters and then drops down to a sandy bottom at around 20 – 25 meters where we can often find rare porcupine stingrays that nap the day away in the sand. On the reef itself we also often meet sleeping nurse sharks. Both the sharks and the rays are active at night and spend the days not only napping, they are often cleaned by cleaner wrasses as well.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

9. SALLEYDHOO THILA

Description: Salleydhoo Thila is another lovely dive site located about a 15-minute boat ride to the north of Le Meridien Maldives. A thila is a typical Maldivian reef structure and describes an underwater mount. However, Salleydhoo Thila has a very interesting topography. The southern part of the dive site doesn’t have the usual round-ish shape of a thila, but we find two tongues here that reach a depth of 20 – 22 meters. The highlight on these tongues are surely the thousands of glassfish that live here. On the thila itself we usually see an abundance of marine life such as a great variety of surgeonfish.  You will surely find the antennas of lobsters underneath coral blocks and scorpion fish are also often found. In addition, Salleydhoo Thila is a great place to look for anemone fish.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

10. OOKOLHU FARU

Description: Ookolhu Faru is located towards the east of Le Meridien in the inside atoll. It takes 15 minutes by boat to reach the reef. The dive site itself actually consists of two dive sites that are divided by a sandy plateau at 8 meters. South of the plateau we can find a large lagoon with an average depth of about 12 meters.  On the other side towards the north and north west a sloping and long reef called faru ranges from 10 to 30 meters. The reef not only has some very nice coral life but is also home to turtles and various kinds of rays. Some of the blocks are full of glassfish. Don’t forget to watch out for the cleaner shrimp but also moray eels that usually life within proximity of the glassfish inhabitats. During the season you might get lucky and spot a manta ray here since these majestic animals use the area as feeding grounds.  

Depth:            8 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

11. NEYFAI HAEH THILA

Description: This pretty dive site is located west of Le Meridien Maldives. The reef starts at about 5 meters, where you’ll find a few rocks and hard coral blocks. Make sure to have a look underneath the various blocks to spot some lobsters.  The main thila drops to about 25 to 30 meters and features some very nice coral gardens in the north east that are teeming with life. Tropical reef fish, nudibranches and glass fish are common to appear in front of the divers’ mask. Make sure you check rocky parts or sandy patches for sleeping sting rays and usually we will also see a large green turtle during the dive. Green turtles were hunted in the past for their meat so they tend to be a little shyer than hawksbill turtles. If you see a part of coral moving, have a second look because the reef is also home to a few octopus.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

12. EGAARA THILA

Description: A nice and easy site 20 minutes to the north east of Le Meridien Maldives. Often sheltered from strong currents we will take our time to explore the beautiful top reef with its healthy hard coral gardens at about 5 meters. This top reef is perfect to start and end a dive without having to do a safety stop hanging in the blue water. We can simply admire the magnificence of the reef while waiting for our computers to clear us for a safe ascent. The dive site reaches a depth of a maximum of 25 meters and features a large and very nice coral block in the north east at approximately 20 meters depth. You’ll have the joys of schooling blue line snappers as well as other colorful reef fish such as surgeon fish, angel fish and many damsels. Turtles often visit Egaara Thila to feed and rest and octopus are also often found.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

13. MADUVVARI HAA

Description: This beautiful thila is located south west of Le Meridien Maldives. “Thila” is Divehi, the language of the Maldives, and describes an underwater mount that does not reach the surface. The top of the reef is at about 5 – 8 meters, going down to around 30 meters. Overall, Maduvvari Haa is teaming with life. South west of the thila is a nice overhang and the north east you’ll find a beautiful coral garden mainly consisting of hard corals. Not far from that we will find a large group of schooling blue line snappers as well as quite a few groupers. Interestingly blue line snappers are actually yellow. Check underneath rocks and corals for some lobsters. Usually, you can only see their antennas, the body is hidden for the eye. Make sure to keep an eye out for the dogtooth tunas and eagle rays that circle the thila.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

14. HUDHU THILA

Description:   Hudhu Thila is a great site for macro diving. Appreciating the little things in life is important, and macro diving is all about enjoying the tinier critters that call the ocean home. While ‘macro’ may actually mean ‘large-scale’ the term macro diving refers to the kind of lens underwater photographers use to capture smaller marine life. Hudhu Thila is located north east of Le Meridien and has a top reef at approximately 5 meters.  From there it drops to the bottom at 25 to 30 meters and features some lovely overhangs. Rare pipefish which are in the same family as seahorses can be found as well as scorpion fish and nudibranches. Lobsters, octopus and lion fish and various kinds of anemone fish such as the endemic Maldivian anemonefish are also at home at Hudhu Thila.

Depth: 5 – 25 meters

Experience Level: All levels

15. MADUVVARI IRUMATHI KANN

Description:   A great dive site for shark lovers. Maduvvari Irumathi Kann is located on a channel corner towards the west of Le Meridien and it requires only a 25-minute boat ride to get there. We start the dive on the faru (long reef) and drift with the current. The closer to the channel we get the livelier it will become under water. We usually see grey reef sharks that hunt in the current and feathertail stingrays that either sleep or can be spotted when swimming past. Make sure you don’t miss out on tuna and jack fish as well as the lovely napoleon wrasse which is often seen here. Madhuvvari Irumathi Kann can be experienced by divers of all levels since we can adapt the dive style to the experience level of our divers. However, to venture deeper and stay there longer we recommend an advanced and nitrox rating.

Depth: 6 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

16. MADUVVARI DHEKUNU KANN

Description:   One of our best dive sites! Maduvvari Dhekunu Kann is located on a channel corner west of Le Meridien Maldives.  A 25-minute boat ride takes us to this prime dive spot, which is suitable for experienced divers who feel comfortable with deep dives in potentially strong currents. However, also beginner divers can enjoy the beauty of this dive site with a separate guide at lower depths. The rewards are great! There is fish just about everywhere with fusiliers and snappers in massive numbers. Located right on the corner we will find a huge coral block in between 15 and 25 meters that is teaming with life. Off the reef and in the blue water you’ll be able to spot schooling sharks, napoleons and all other pelagic a diver could wish for. During the north east monsoon chances for manta rays are also great!

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

17. VARIHURAA KANN

Description:   Channel corners often promise clear water and a lot of fishy action. Varihuraa Kann does not disappoint us in this regard. Located 30 minutes west of Le Meridien, the dive site is close to the small island of Varihuraa. We start the dive on the reef at a depth in between 8 and 10 meters. Conducted as a drift dive, we simply hang in the current and see how far we can get. On the channel corner itself we often find large groups of rainbow runners, jackfish and also schooling barracuda. Stingrays are often spotted while sleeping on the reef but if you are lucky, you will see one swimming pass you. Both green and hawksbill turtles use the reef to feed and rest and it is nice to see the differences in these two turtle species. If you’d like to know more, you can also ask our marine biologist.

Depth: 8 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

18. LHOHI DEKUNU KANN

Description:   Yet another channel corner and another dive site what we highly recommend you to see. Lhohi Dekunu Kann is located north west of Le Meridien Maldives. It requires a 35-minute boat ride to get there and jump into the blue and warm waters surrounding the lovely reef. We conduct the dive as a drift dive and it is therefore suitable for divers of all levels. However, to explore deep you will have to have an advanced rating and we also highly recommend Nitrox. Lhohi Corner is famous for the green turtles that seem to live on the reef permanently. Green turtles always appear clean and indeed they spend a lot of time per day to make sure their shell is neat. Apart from the beautiful turtles expect sharks, rays, fusiliers, rainbow runners, snappers, surgeonfish and many other tropical reef fish.

Depth: 7 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

19. ALIGHAA BEYRU EDGE

Description:   Alighaa Beyru Edge isn’t only located at a channel corner; the dive site actually sits directly at the south western corner of Lhaviyani Atoll. Drive time from Le Meridien Maldives is 35 minutes. The highlight of this dive site is surely the very impressive oceanic edge. Best dived on a nice south western current during the months of May to December. Since the edge is at a depth of an average of 30 meters this part is best explored by experienced divers with advanced and nitrox certifications. We find some nice coral blocks on the main reef as well but overall, the coral live is not as inspiring as on other dive sites unless you are diving the edge. However, we can find some turtles on the main reef which make the trip one to matter. Also expect to encounter grey reef sharks as well as sleeping rays.

Depth: 7 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

20. ALIGHAA BEYRU FARU

Description:   A faru is a typical Maldivian reef structure and describes a long reef which is usually located on the outside atoll. Alighaa Beyru Faru is located about 40 minutes south west of Le Meridien Maldives. As with most farus, it’s a relatively easy drift dive along a beautiful coral covered reef. The top is at 5 meters and then slopes down to 30 meters and beyond. You won’t see the bottom because it is located at more than a hundred meters depth. At various depths you will find overhangs. The overhangs are a great place to see stingrays as well as other smaller marine life such as soldier fish and nudibranches. Keep an eye out for grey reef sharks cruising along the reef as well as napoleon wrasses and of course tuna. Snappers and other beautiful tropical reef fish make this dive diverse and colorful.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

21. FAADHOO KANDU

Description:   Faadhoo Kandu is one of the two magnificent channels located north east of Le Meridien Maldives. Channel lovers will find here what the Maldives are famous for: Sharks, napoleons, jack fish, stingrays, eagle rays, dogtooth tuna, bluefin tuna, bonitos, trevally as well as nice corals. But with all the pelagic fish around many people forget to check out the beautiful coral life that is especially located on the northern corner. If you can take your eyes off the sharks then you’ll find a great variety of fish life here. The potential strong current is not for the faint hearted and a crossing is only possible on a mild current since the bottom is too deep to be able to hide from it. If you are a beginner and would still like to see a Maldivian channel on a quiet day, talk to us.

Depth: 10 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

22. FAADHOO BEYRU

Description:   Imagine a wall! A real drop off that doesn’t stop dropping! A reef that disappears into the blue! Do you have the picture in front of your inner eye? Then you are right at Faadhoo Beyru, one of the best dive sites we have on offer in the proximity of Le Meridien Maldives. The coral life is stunning and we can also find some very large and old gorgonians. The dive site itself is quite diverse. We can see lobsters, sweetlips, schooling snappers, many different types of schooling jackfish as well as turtles. Also expect a few curious batfish to come and check you out. Sometimes they even suckle on your fingers if you keep them really still. Away from the reef, sharks and eagle rays can be seen swimming in the blue water. They cruise the reef heading towards or coming from the channel. The beautiful napoleons wrasse tends to prefer the reef itself.

Depth: 8 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

23. MEYYAFUSHI KANDU

Description:   A site not to be missed by the experienced diver. With the right current Meyyafushi Kandu is a great channel to cross and experience what so many people come to the Maldives for: The classical Maldivian channel crossings that in general involve every large fish a diver’s heart is beating for. Starting from either one of the corners the actual swim only takes about 20 minutes if there weren’t all those grey reef sharks to watch hunting in the current. Imagine schooling jack’s and trevallies, napoleon fish swimming in between and then the tunas that appear almost clumsy in between all of those gracious predators. If you have time to look at the reef, you might find a rare honeycomb moray eel or other colorful tropical reef fish. A site only for experienced divers. Nitrox highly recommended!

Depth: 12 – 30 meters

Experience Level: Advanced

24. MEYYAFUSHI BEYRU

Description:   Diving doesn’t get much better than at Meyyafushi Beyru! We find this gem of a dive site after a 50 minutes boat ride to the north east and the boat trip is worth it every minute. The dive site offers a wide variety of reef structures. You can experience a great sandy plateau with several cleaning stations and a wall with beautiful overhangs and soft corals during the same dive. Mantas frequent the reef during the season in which case you might have to come to visit Meyyafushi Beyru twice: Once to meet the mantas and the second time to see the reef. But not only that – all types of stingrays, eagle rays, tunas, nurse sharks, curious batfish and turtles are also home at Meyyafushi Beyru. The good news is: The site can be experienced by all levels of divers but it is better with a nitrox certification.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

25. DHIHFUSHIMAADHOO BEYRU

Description:   The dive at Dhihfushimaadhoo Beyru is usually a gentle drift dive towards a channel or vice versa. Located on the outside reef you can expect great visibility and very nice hard corals. The lagoon in front of the island is connected to the open ocean and offers the perfect breeding and nursing grounds for all types of fish. We usually start the dive in the shallows at 5 to 7 meters and then work our way down to a maximum depth of 30 meters fo. At depth we find some large and very interesting coral blocks that act like a magnet for tropical reef fish. Watch out for eagle rays that cruise the reef and of course look underneath rocks and coral blocks for sleeping nurse sharks. Leopard sharks are also often seen here, as well  as lion fish, groupers, and different types of anemone fish.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels

26. IHI THILA

Description:   Ihi Thila is located far north in the atoll. It takes us 55 minutes by boat to get there from Le Meridien. Ihi means “lobester in the lingo of the Maldives and there are lots of them around. The dive site is also a super beautiful macro haven and can be easily combined with Nemo Thila. The dive at Ihi starts at shallow depth of 5 to 8 meters. In the north it drops steeply to approximately 25 meters. This part of the dive site is covered in beautiful overhangs where we find amazing macro life such as pipefish and nudibranches. Soldierfish tend to hang out in the overhangs as well as smaller and transparent shrimp. The dive site could also be called lion fish thila because of the great abundance of these beautiful fish.  We only dive the northern side of the thila.

Depth: 5 – 30 meters

Experience Level:  All levels

27. NEMO THILA

Description:   Just insane! That exclamation best describes Nemo Thila which is located 60 minutes to the north of Le Meridien. The dive site will blow your mind and not surprisingly, it is located inside a national park. Stunning colors and more juvenile fish and small sardines than you could ever imagine live here. Leopard sharks and grey reef sharks are the bigger sized candidates to be found here but lion fish, lobsters, mantis shrimp, moray eels and octopus are also a common sight here at Nemo Thila. Schools of blue striped snappers will part when you swim towards them and don’t forget the fields of anemones and their inhabitants to which the reef owns the name.

Depth: 12 – 30 meters

Experience Level: All levels