17 Sep 2018
As any visitor to the Maldives knows, the wonderland beneath its azure seas is as mesmerising as the lush landscapes above them. Scuba diving and snorkeling are essential activities that bring you face to face with tropical fish and turtles galore. But for underwater adventurers, there’s an even bolder frontier to conquer; going eye-to-eye with a shark. Take the plunge with our guide to swimming with sharks in the Maldives.
How dangerous is it?
Swimming with sharks in the Maldives isn’t as terrifying as you might expect. Banish all images of descending into watery depths in the confines of a cage as aquatic predators surround you. Lured by bountiful coral reefs and a rich marine life, 26 species of shark can be found in the Maldives, and most of them are entirely harmless.
What sharks can I see?
With its elongated flat head and cavernous mouth, the majestic whale shark is an incredible sight to behold. In fact, the Maldives is the only destination in the world where you can see these gentle giants all year round. You’ll find schools of hammerheads occupying Maldivian waters, too, along with graceful, spotted leopard sharks and sinister-looking – though totally harmless – blacktip reef sharks.
When is the best time to swim with sharks?
Shark season is a small window between January and March each year. Being the Maldives’ dry season, it’s during this time that the seas are at their calmest. Some species like whale sharks occupy the waters all year round, however.
How to swim with sharks?
The best way to swim with sharks in the Maldives is on a shark safari or private excursion. Experienced divers will take you to remote sites where you can snorkel or scuba dive in the company of whale sharks as they glide peacefully alongside you. Most resorts offer excursions and tours or have their own dive centre.
With Best Dives Maldives at Jumeriah Vittaveli, you can head out from the South Malé Atoll on a traditional wooden dhoni boat. With an array of dive sites that include colourful reefs and submerged shipwrecks, it’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with feeding reef sharks and whale sharks. Want to get your PADI diving certification? You can do that at Best Dives Maldives, too.
Who can swim with sharks?
Shark snorkeling in shallower waters is available to anyone who is a capable swimmer, while deep-sea diving should only be undertaken by those who have experience. Strong currents and deep depths underpin many swimming environments so it’s not advisable for beginners to go shark diving. Check with your diving centre or excursion provider to see what level of proficiency is required.
What should I bear in mind when swimming with sharks?
As tempting as it may be when you’re in the company of a gentle hammerhead, never touch sharks and always keep a respectful distance. Don’t use flash photography either, as it will startle them.
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