With the kind permission of iDive Maldives
VILAMENDHOO THILA in Maldives is a dive site located east of Vilamendhoo Island that is a must dive in the atoll, where rays and sharks are present whatever the direction of the current is.
This thila is made of a top reef at around 8 meters, gently sloping down to more than 30m on the east side, and sloping at 45° down to 20-25m on the west side. It extends in the middle of the channel on the south side, and the north part presents some detached blocks.
The various species you can encounter here include schools of snappers, sweetlips, fusiliers and jacks. You will always be able to encounter sharks and eagle rays near the turbulence areas or in the northern part. It is also possible to encounter large stingrays on the sandy bottom.
The water entry is usually performed upstream in the current and at a sufficient distance, in order to stay protected at 15m and deeper. Divers will need to enter with no air in the BCD and staying as little time as possible at the surface.
The dive often starts on the side exposed to the current. During outgoing currents, sharks will be more present around the northern blocks. During incoming currents, the back of the thila on the northern section will often be more interesting because of the eagle rays gliding in the turbulence.
Both the ascent and safety stop can be performed in open water. The recovery by the dhoni takes place at the divers' exit point. During incoming currents, because of the two channels present in the area, divers will need to agree on an exit route (going north or south) prior to diving, in order to facilitate the recovery by the dhoni.
This site is accessible all year long and is suitable for divers with experience at 20-30m. During strong currents, it is sometimes possible to be surprised by the current and being dragged to the back of the thila. In this case, divers should not attempt to go back to the front otherwise they may take risks for themselves or damage the reef.
The northern section of the pinnacle is sometimes more interesting in the turbulence area generated by the cracks in the wall.
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