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With the kind permission of iDive Maldives
Vattaru Atoll in Maldives presents a single channel VATTARU KANDU, which is located at its south end. The 150 meters-wide canal presents a bright white sandy bottom, a vertical wall on its west side, and a gently sloping reef on its east side, and an edge at the south.
Many stingrays are present on the sandy bottom, while many fish are concentrated on the eastern reef.
During incoming currents, sharks, tunas and other large fish can be seen on the outer side of the reef and on the edge at the south of the channel.
During outgoing currents, Manta rays are present and attract most of the attention. They can be seen in the channel, on the east side or on the west side around the vertical wall.
The current at this site is easily predicable: it is incoming during the rising tide, and outgoing during descending tide.
During incoming currents, the water entry can be performed south of Vattarurah Island on the outer reef. During outgoing currents, the entry can be done in the channel, at around 150m north of the entry. Divers will need to stay minimal time at the surface during strong currents.
Divers can dive on the outer reef, in the channel or at the edge, according to the current and the species they wish to encounter. For example, Manta rays can be found at different places on the site, and are often worth a thorough exploration.
There are good chances of encountering big fish on the sandy bottom during incoming currents, even if this area is not protected from the current.
Visibility is particularly good during incoming currents, but will be degraded during outgoing currents.
The ascent can be performed either along the reef or in open water and will require the use of an SMB.
If divers plan to spot Manta rays, it is good to know that it takes them a little while to join the cleaning stations after the tide changes. In order to encounter Mantas, prefer waiting about an hour after the slack high tide before entering the water. However, visibility is much better right after the tide change, that's why photographers may prefer diving at this moment.
This protected site is almost free from human activities, which is much enjoyed by the Mantas. It is up to everyone to keep ensuring this tranquillity for the rays, and to behave properly and respectfully in the area. This diving site is accessible throughout the year and is suitable for beginners.
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