Snorkelling In The Maldives
With its amazingly rich marine life, visitors to the paradise islands of the Maldives will definitely want to get in among those dazzling fish and other sea creatures. If you're uncertain about diving or fancy a less expensive alternative, then give the relaxing pastime of snorkelling a go.
Imagine putting your face under the water and being able to clearly see the colourful clownfish (where better to find Nemo than the Maldives?) and blue stripe snapper swimming right past your nose. There are few other places where the wildlife comes so close. It's no wonder that many think Maldives snorkelling is the best in the world. A pair of flippers for your feet will help you to get about quicker, though you're in no rush so it's fine to just gently drift along the surface. Relax, you're on holiday.
You won't be able to go a long way down, so this is ideal for those of you who are nervous at the idea of diving. No need for a wetsuit either, the water's lovely and warm in the Maldives. Sea temperatures rarely drop below 25℃ and are usually closer to 30℃. Snorkelling equipment is readily available in the resorts and easy to master. You'll get an adjustable face mask attached to the snorkel itself, a tube which goes above the surface, supplying oxygen to your mouthpiece so you can breathe underwater.
Amid the sun-drenched waters, as you drift with the current above and through the coral reefs, you will be able to spot some of the 1,200 species of marine life. Schools of striking parrotfish, blue-toothed triggers and angelfish are here in abundance. Look below for large Napoleon wrasse, about four feet long, lurking in the depths. You are also likely to spot turtles, giant clams, stingrays, octopus, barracuda and even sharks. But don't worry, they aren't in the least bit bothered about you!
Set off from any Maldives beach with a snorkel and you'll have something fantastic to see. But there are some places which are particularly good for spotting sealife. The best part of a reef for snorkelling is the drop-off point, the edge of the reef where the shallow lagoon meets the deep blue sea beyond.
And where to go snorkelling in the Maldives? Baros Maldives in Malé Atoll has a 4km reef that's easy to access and has a rich diversity of marine life. Also popular with snorkellers and manta rays is Mirihi Island, with a 6km reef you can reach from a jetty.
Reethi Beach (meaning ”nice beach') in Baa Atoll is a haven for snorkellers so just kick off from the sand to find the fish. Also in Baa Atoll is Soneva Fushi Resort with the longest and some say best house reef in the Maldives.
You know you're in for a treat at Lily Beach Resort in South Ari Atoll when you can see lots of fish from the jetty before you even get into the crystal clear water. Just jump off, follow the current and keep your eyes peeled for large stingrays and red snapper.
For safety, always snorkel with a buddy and wear a life jacket if you're not a strong swimmer. Stay close to the island if you're not with a guide and don't touch anything in the water, but don't forget to take lots of stunning photos.
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