With the kind permission of iDive Maldives
MAAMINGILI BEYRU is located south of Maamigili Island and airport, on the southern outside reef of Alifu Dhaalu Atoll (South Ari Atoll). The reef starts at 4-12m with a plateau covered in corals, and slopes down to 35m on a sandy bottom.
The reef is accessible all year long but visibility there depends on the season and tide. It is exposed to a lengthy flow, especially during the southwest monsoon, that creates visible erosion.
Maamingili Beyru is famous for encountering not only whale sharks but also many big fish. If you are looking for whale sharks, snorkeling is the best option as it allows a longer observation time than diving. Snorkelers are advised to use an SMB and beware of the boats that do not always respect the speed limitation.
Most of the time, divers look for whale sharks from the boat and then choose between diving and snorkeling. If you cannot spot whale sharks from the boat, it is recommended to enter the water in front of the resort and then drift with the current along the reef.
If you are looking for whale sharks, you should stay on the edge between the top reef and the slope at around 15 meters, and look around yourself for a darker shape. Divers usually spot several whale sharks during their dive. Descending along the reef will allow you to encounter stingrays, eagle rays, mobulas, leopard sharks and whitetip sharks.
The ascent should be done slowly to finish on the reef top. Be careful not to get too close to the shore in order to avoid strong surge.
South Ari Atoll is a protected area, which is well known for its very diverse shark population. Your chances for encountering whale sharks there are high, whether snorkeling or diving. The use of an SMB is necessary because of the high boat traffic in the area. You don't need to follow other snorkelers for a whale shark, your chances of spotting another one are high and the encounter will be more enjoyable. This diving site is accessible for beginners.
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