HISTORY OF THE MALDIVES

Under the water in the Maldives lies a veritable wonder of nature - a superb coral garden filled with rich flora and fauna. Snorkeling is the simplest way to take a look at this amazing world. The prerequisite knows how to swim! All you need is a good mask, a snorkel tube and an optional pair of fins. Most tourist resorts and cruising vessels have these items on offer. If you want the fuller experience, a dive is what you need. If you are a novice, you are an experienced diver already, be prepared for the time of your life. Ask to be taken out to one of the famed diving spots in the vicinity and enjoy the sheer beauty and the plethora of life in the crystal clear water.

When diving or snorkeling in the Maldives, observe the following considerations. Do not swim or dive in the nude. Ask for and observe all environmental protection guidelines. Use the right equipment. Follow all instruct ion s given by your diving instructor or dive master. Put safety first.





Diving

Maldives is home to some of the most diverse marine fauna and flora in the world. Tens of thousands of reefs, a thousand recorded species of fish, over two hundred species of coral and hundreds more species of other marine life; no wonder many see this as one of the greatest dive destinations on earth.

Dive Sites

There are thousands of dive sites; so numerous that you can literally swim over from one to the other. Only a small percentage of the Maldives reefs have ever been dived. Each dive site has its unique characteristics in form, fauna and flora, the currents and other elements that shape and mould them. Resorts concentrate on dive sites within a one or two-hour radius, while cruise boats cover more ocean and therefore a greater variety of sites.

Dive Facilities

The dive centre is one of the most important facilities in any resort. Each resort has a dive centre and are staffed by qualified dive instructors. Divers may, if they wish, bring along their own dive gear, however the centre carry a wide range of rental equipment. At resorts diving is conducted daily all year round. Even in Male there are some dive centers, mainly serving the residents of Male. There are two decompression chambers in the Maldives located in Kaafu Atoll and Ari Atoll. The brilliantly colorful coral reefs, making the Maldivian seascapes amongst the most enchanting in the world, is a nature's treasure house, an EI Dorado for diving enthusiasts, providing opportunities to experience the unique and beautiful underwater scenery which is a realm of a great variety of fish, corals, and other marine denizens. Several years of experience of the diving centers, has guaranteed high standards in the selection of resort islands as well as the quality of equipments used and the expertise of the diving staff. Couple of diving programs are on the offer. Guided dives under the supervision of diving instructors are for novices and those who still haven't gained the necessary confidence. The non-limit, or unguided dives, documents the confidence one feels in his or her dive. However it is the diving instructor who decides as to how confident and how experienced one is in their diving skills. All the dive operations are affiliated with PADI, NAUI, and CMAS and/ or employs PADI or NAUI diving instructors. You can also be assured of finding highly trained professionals qualified to conduct courses by meeting diving's highest instructor training standards. The PADI Open Water Diver course, where you can practice and master real ski lls, offers tremendous flexibility depending upon class requirements. It also features state-of-the art education that makes learning simple and fun. Though diving is considered to be one of the easiest of water sports, carelessness can prove to be dangerous. The beginner not only tends to overestimate himself, being presumptuous, but the problem clearly lies in underestimating t he dangers of the ocean and not understanding its ways carefully. As a rule, one must always remember that they're diving at their own risk. For this reason one should definitely comply with the diving regulations issued by the concerned authorities. Generally these are:

    1 .Decompression dives are prohibited, even if a dive computer is in use which measures the levels of nitrogen vis-a-vis the respective depth over dive time,
    2. Diving below depths of 90 feet is prohibited, and
    3. Wearing a BC is mandatory. Besides these, there are other diving safety rules to be followed. One must never dive alone, despite the numerous shallow diving sites. One must also get acquainted with the site's special features, such as the location of the reef's edge, opening in reef channel, direction, strength and direction of currents, the sun's position, and so on. Special care must be taken during current diving. Here one must make sure of not venturing faraway from one's boat. Further one must also dive against the current for in case of an emergency the current will bring one back to the boat. Thus training by qualified hands coupled with one's enthusiasm, and a little bit of cautious approach takes one to another world. The mystery of the ocean beckons one and all, and diving provides an excellent and thrilling opportunity to unravel some of these, the fascinating world of corals being one of them.

Water Sports

All resorts without exception have water sports centers that provide a range of water sports and fun activities. The most popular among these are snorkeling, windsurfing and catamaran sailing.

The water sports centers are equipped with boards and sails of different sizes and some offer courses for beginners and advanced windsurfers and sailors. Among other popular water sports activities are parasailing, kayaking, kite-surfing, water-skiing and jet skiing. Some resorts even offer you the opportunity to tryout your sailing skills on a local dhoni.


Surfing

Today surfing is the fastest growing water sport in the country, with several surf breaks that are documented and well-known by surf enthusiasts.

The most important surf event is the annual international surf event which has placed Maldives firmly on the world's surf map. The best season to surf in the Maldives is the Southwest Monsoon from April to October. Surfers are most likely to enjoy the biggest swells from June to September. The surf generally ranges in size from 3-8 feet.



Surfing Breaks

The best known surf breaks are in the North and South Male' Atoll and most surfers stay in resorts close to these breaks. However cruise operators offer specialized surfing cruises, that give you the opportunity to test some of the less known surf breaks in the atolls further away from Male' Atoll.