With the kind permission of iDive Maldives
MAAYAA THILA is located 3.4 km northwest of Maayafushi Island and is famous for night dives. Its diameter is a hundred meters wide and it is made of a shallow top reef going down vertically on almost all sides. Turtles can be found in overhangs at 15-20 meters, and grey reef sharks are often seen close to the sandy bottom. A small block is detached from the main reef and presents a tunnel and beautiful black corals.
This site is accessible to beginners, all year round, and can also be explored during the day even if it is famous for night dives. Indeed, at sunset or during the night, many fish are attracted to the divers' light and come swimming very closely. Whitetip sharks, grey reef sharks, moray eels and stingrays are easily spotted at Maayaa Thila. Schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish are also frequently seen swimming around the thila. But the reef is often overcrowded with divers and suffers from much damage.
Divers can sometimes enter the water at a rope when one has been moored to the thila, but the entry can also be done anywhere on the site. Be careful not to stay too long at the surface when the current is strong, especially at night.
Divers can swim anywhere on the thila, but the top reef is more interesting due to its active wildlife. Divers are recommended to swim in pairs instead of groups in order to swim more freely and not to damage the reef.
At night, even when many boats are present and the site well lit up, every diver should carry his own torch for safety reasons. The recovery by the dhoni can also be difficult, make sure to set a light code with the dhoni crew to make it easier.
Maayaa Thila is very damaged due to the many divers exploring it. Other sites in the whereabouts will soon suffer from the same damage if nothing changes. The best thing to do to preserve these sites would be to forbid diving there during several years.
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