Maldives Itineraries:

Project Shark with Elke: Southern Maldives (10 nights)

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Dive sites: Huvadhoo - Laamu - Thaa - Meemu - Vaavu - South Malé
Duration: 10 Nights
Number of dives: Up to 3 dives per day
Ports: Malé/Kooddoo or Kooddoo/Malé

The aim of 'Project Shark' is to highlight the global issues facing sharks, with a Maldivian focus, as well as enjoying some of the most exciting dive sites the southern atolls have to offer. Project Shark in the Southern Maldives also includes a special focus on manta rays as they are a highlight of this destination and closely related to sharks.

This exciting trip cruises between Malé and the far south of the Maldives - taking in the finest dive areas along the way. The far south offers the opportunity to swim with hundreds of schooling sharks, vast schools of fish and squadrons of eagle rays - on top of this, the incredible hard coral reefs packed with colour and critters. And don't worry - we've found manta and whaleshark points! The far south offers exciting diving for experienced divers with adventure in mind. This is a stunning trip so expect some amazing scenery and varied diving.

The week will involve close encounters with sharks, manta rays and whale sharks (although these sightings cannot be guaranteed!) with the possibility to observe them in their natural habitat and donate vital information to local Maldivian marine research organisations.

You will be joined on board for the duration of the safari by our experienced blue o two Project Shark trip host, Dr Elke Bojanowski.

Founder of the 'Red Sea Sharks Trust', experienced dive guide and marine biologist, Elke Bojanowski Ph.D, began the Longimanus Project in October 2004 and since this date she has been actively collecting underwater photographs and video-clips of Oceanic Whitetip Sharks for catalogue, review and analysis. Since 2012 the project has expanded to become Red Sea Sharks ( and increased its scope to include Grey Reef and Silky Shark catalogues and monitoring for many shark species.

QUALIFICATION NEEDED: You must be certified to dive to a depth of 30 meters as well as be experienced and comfortable with diving in medium to strong currents. Southern itineraries are not for beginners as the dives can be enervating due to the strong currents; deep water is to be expected. Please refer to our itinerary checklist for additional information.

Itinerary Checklist:

Common sightings: Large fish and pelagics
Reefs: Submerged reefs & channels
Wrecks: None
Night dives: None
Experience required: Moderate to advanced
Currents: Varies - None to very strong
Important Information: Drift dives & negative entries required
Amount of travelling: 1 long overnight / day sail (depending on weather)

The week will offer the opportunity to:

- Learn about the biology and behaviour of sharks and manta rays within the Maldives
- Learn and develop skills in marine biological studies; collecting data and species identification
- Learn about globally endangered marine species and what we can do as divers to ensure their protection
- Enjoy fantastic diving on some of the most unique dive sites in the world
- Identifiy specific manta ray individuals which directly contributes to Manta Trust research
- Experience potential close encounters with sharks, manta rays and whale sharks

Expertly run:

Project Shark is delivered by our resident marine biologist Dr Elke Bojanowski, who will conduct seminars giving divers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the biology and behaviour of sharks. There will also be a chance to learn about globally endangered marine species and what as divers we can do to aid their protection.

Our planned dive guide for this trip is Dr Elke Bojanowski. However, if for any reason Elke is unavailable to host this trip due to circumstances outside of our control, we will provide you with an alternative, suitably qualified and experienced dive guide. For the avoidance of doubt, any change in dive guide does not give you the right to amend, change or cancel your holiday, and any changes made will be subject to our normal terms and conditions."

Why join this itinerary?

Encounters with endangered species allows divers to add a greater purpose to their Maldives holiday, so anyone who has an active interest in the preservation of the marine environment and its inhabitants would enjoy this itinerary. However, it is important to bear in mind that as well as learning from experts about marine bio-studies within the Maldives, divers will enjoy exciting diving with possible encounters with some of the largest pelagic animals on the planet.

During this trip, you will be able to play a part in adding to valuable research efforts by the 'Manta Trust' who work towards the conservation of manta rays worldwide. Throughout the week, you will record your sightings for identification and submit them to existing Maldivian marine life charities, including The Manta Trust.

Itinerary highlights:

**PLEASE NOTE** The dive sites below are just an example of the route taken and are not guaranteed. All dive sites are subject to weather conditions and local seasonal knowledge and the final route taken is at the absolute discretion of the captain and dive guides.

Huvadhoo Atoll
The second largest of the Maldivian atolls and the second largest in the world (in terms of overall surface area), Huvadhoo has an outer reef dotted with deep passages connecting the open waters of the Indian Ocean with those of the interior lagoon, making for some fantastic diving and marine life sightings! It is well known for its large populations of grey reef sharks, and whale sharks feeding at night. It is also possible to see scalloped hammerheads, tiger sharks and silkies, while other dive sites have a high likelihood of zebra sharks and shovelnose guitarfish.

Fushi Kandu - Laamu Atoll
One of the most popular channel dives; although relatively shallow, it stretches for 250m and whitetip reef sharks are frequent visitors. So too are schools of jacks, as they surge in among tuna and eagle rays.

Olhugiri Kandu - Thaa Atoll
Schooling fish and jacks attract large numbers of white tip reef sharks. Tuna and eagle rays wait for the leftovers and the occasional large Napoleon wrasse can be seen nibbling on corals.

Guraidhoo Corner - Thaa Atoll
Best done as an early morning dive in the hopes of spotting scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Mulaku Kandu - Meemu Atoll
The north east is peppered with submerged pinnacles covered predominantly in soft corals, whilst the west will see you surrounded by jacks and snappers. Keep an eye open for whitetip and grey reef sharks!

Guraidhoo Kandu - South Malé Atoll
Since the eastern side of the channel is open ocean, large predatory fish can regularly be spotted here. This site is famous for sightings of grey and whitetip reef sharks, schools of eagle rays and the occasional sail fish and hammerheads. The best condition to do the dive is when the current is flowing into the atoll. The dive begins on the outer reef following the current into the atoll. Most of the pelagic species can be observed on the eastern side, where the reef drops off into the deep ocean. At the end of the dive in the channel, along the reef you can find overhangs with plenty of soft coral growth and small fish.

Itinerary Map:


Want to explore these stunning dive sites for longer? Then why not complete your PADI Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox) speciality course whilst on your trip? You can also learn how to make the most of the currents by completing your PADI Drift Diver speciality course onboard. Contact our expert travel team today for more information.

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