Addu Atoll used to be known as Seenu Atoll, and it is the southernmost Maldives atoll, and the only atoll south of the equator. It used to be a British Air Force base. The atoll measures 20 kilometres from west to east, and 14 kilometres north to south. Despite being quite small and remote, it has the second-largest city in the country. It's a one-hour domestic flight from the capitals and only international airport in Malé. Also, despite its remote location, the sea conditions are not extreme for liveaboard diving. In fact, currents are in general milder than many other popular Maldives' atolls.
Unlike many other Maldives atolls, Addu only has a few kandus, which are deep channels between the islands. There are four kandus at Addu Atoll, which are Gan Kandu, Viligili Kandu, Maa Kandu & Kuda Kandu. Inside the atoll, average maximum depths for the scuba dive sites are 30-35 metres, but in the centre of the atoll, it can get deeper than 70 metres. Of course, outside of the atoll the Indian Ocean slopes away in every direction becoming several kilometres deep. This deep water is perfect for the marine life that lives at and visits Addu Atoll.
The famous Manta Ray cleaning station is located at Maa Kandu. Here, there is an excellent chance to see Reef Mantas when diving on most days, usually in the morning when the current is on its way in. Another place why many people want to come scuba diving at Addu Atoll is the 'Shark Hotel/Point' which is at the north-eastern edge of Addu Atoll, at Humhuleedhoo Island. There's a sandy area that's quite deep but within range of recreational divers. It's a haven for up to twenty sharks at a time, which are mostly Grey Reef Sharks and Whitetip Sharks.
In addition to wonderful natural reefs, Addu Atoll is also home to The Maldives' largest wreck. British Loyalty was first built in 1928 as an oil tanker. After several incidents, it survived until the end of World War II before being sunk at Addu Atoll. This wreck is still in good condition and lies at a depth of 30 metres. Its shallowest part is at 16 metres, so you need to be Advanced (or certified to 30m.) to scuba dive there. At nearly 6,000 tonnes and 140 metres in length, there's plenty of it to see on one or even two dives.
The weather and sea are best from January to April. From May the monsoons change, and June, July & August are the wettest months. September to November has reduced visibility, but more filter feeders. However, Addu Atoll has plenty of filter feeders throughout the year anyway, so try to plan your Maldives liveaboard safari for January - April.
There's a wide range of dive sites at Addu Atoll. These include nice and relatively-shallow reefs for novice divers, The Maldives' largest shipwreck, and some very exciting dives with several species of sharks.
Addu Atoll is the southernmost atoll of The Maldives, and the only Maldives atoll south of the equator, and therefore in the southern hemisphere. It is 530 kilometres south of Malé, the capital city of The Maldives.
After arriving in The Maldives at Velana International Airport you can choose between a domestic flight to Gan airport or jump on a Maldives liveaboard diving cruise, which departs from Malé usually at the weekend. By far the best way to enjoy diving at Addu Atoll is on a liveaboard trip. Gan airport does also accept some international flights. This should not be confused with Gan, which is an island in Laamu Atoll.
Anyone can dive at Addu Atoll, including learning to scuba dive. However, it's important to note that novice and inexperienced divers are not able to dive at all dive sites, and experienced and professional divers will not be too interested in some of the easier reefs.
In addition to similar species to the rest of The Maldives, divers at Addu Atoll can look forward to seeing Grey Reef & Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. Also, Manta Rays and Whale Sharks are normally seen here throughout the year, unlike seasonally at other atolls.
You can dive all year round at Addu Atoll, and this atoll has the best chance of you seeing Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. However, it makes sense to visit between January and May. Also, requiem sharks are able to be seen at the northeastern corner of Addu Atoll. Inside the atoll the dive sites are calm and several are shallow and easy enough to learn to scuba dive. Around the four kandus (channels) there are lots of exciting dive sites. Addu Atoll is home to The Maldives' largest shipwreck, the 140-metre British Loyalty that was sunk just after WWII. Not all our liveaboard boats go to Addu Atoll, but those that do guarantee an excellent trip.