Meemu Atoll is the administrative name for the natural Maldives atoll known locally as Mulaku Atoll or Mulakutolhu. Most foreigners refer to it as Meemu Atoll, simply because it's easier to pronounce. It is quite a large atoll on the eastern side of the southern central Maldives. To its north is Vaavu Atoll / Felidhoo Atoll and to its south is Thaa Atoll / Kolhumadulu Atoll. Meemu Atoll measures 31 kilometres east to west at its widest point, and 47 kilometres north to south (in almost a straight line of sandbars and mainly-uninhabited islands. In total there are more than 30 islands, most of which are uninhabited. Within the atoll, most of the thilas are located on the western side.
There are approximately 15 channels (kandus) on the western side, but only one main channel on the eastern side which is made up of two long reefs. Compared to its neighbours, Meemu Atoll is quiet and attracts far fewer tourists. Most of the resorts are isolated luxury resorts.
Because the eastern side of Meemu Atoll has so much protection from currents, inside the atoll is a good place for new or inexperienced divers. The reefs and marine life are diverse and healthy. Advanced and experienced divers need not worry, though. There are still plenty of places to enjoy more exciting dives at Meemu Atoll. Large pelagic species often visit, and these include filter feeders such as Whale Sharks and Reef & Oceanic Manta Rays. Eagle Rays & Mobula Rays are often spotted and sometimes requiem sharks, such as Grey Reef Sharks. But even without seeing a shark or ray, this atoll and its many dive sites are an excellent place for scuba diving. The reefs and marine life are constantly fed by the nutrient-rich water that passes through the atoll via the channels. The Mulaku Kandu (channel) is located in the northeast of the atoll has many thilas (submerged pinnacles) which are home to lots of corals. Lots of life, especially shooling fish, can be seen here.
Medhufushi Thila is probably the best-known dive location at Meemu Atoll. It's located on the lower eastern side of the atoll. Here there are overhangs, hard & soft corals, caves and plenty of fish. But most visitors to Meemu Atoll come for the Manta Ray cleaning stations not far from Medhifushi Island. Sightings are never guaranteed, and it all depends on the time of year and sea conditions, plus the decision of these majestic giants! But on a good day, scuba divers just don't know where to look, because there can be more than ten or more Manta Rays in the water at the same time.
There are varying reports on the best time to dive at Meemu Atoll. Like the rest of the central Maldives, the best sea & weather conditions are from January to April, with December and May also being very nice most years. This period is known as the north-east monsoon / dry season. But because Meemu is known for its Manta Ray cleaning stations, and these attract most Mantas in the wet season, some people prefer to dive at Meemu Atoll from June to November. However, during this period the sea and weather conditions are more extreme and the visibility underwater is reduced.
There is a wide selection of diving at Meemu Atoll. These include sloping reefs in the lagoons inside the atoll, medium to strong currents in the channels (kandus) and plenty of overhangs, drop-offs and swim-throughs.
Meemu Atoll is in the south-central Maldives, on the eastern side. It's located 135 kilometres directly south of Male and the international airport. Meemu's neighbouring atolls are Vaavu/Felidhoo to the north, Thaa / Kolhumadulu to the south, and Dhaalu to the west.
Getting to Meemu Atoll for the best scuba diving really needs to be done via Maldives liveaboard diving. These trips normally start from Male at the weekend and cruise for seven days & nights. Maldives diving safaris that include Meemu Atoll are usually from January to April and include several other atolls. Some itineraries include central atolls, with Meemu being furthest south. And other itineraries go to the deep south, with Meemu being the furthest north.
All levels of scuba diver are welcome to enjoy safe liveaboard diving at Meemu Atoll. The lagoons inside the atoll are ideal for learning to dive or for new & inexperienced divers. However, for more experienced scuba divers, there are plenty of options, including deep diving, drift dives in the currents, and even some easy caves.
Most divers come to Meemu Atoll in the hope of seeing Manta Rays at the cleaning stations. But in addition to the chance of seeing these wonderful rays, you might be lucky enough to see a Whale Shark, or even a Grey Reef Shark. Other rays that are often seen at Meemu Atoll are Eagle Rays swimming and Stingrays resting on the sandy sea bed. But don't forget the many species of schooling and solitary reef fish, plus turtles, sea snakes, eels, crustaceans and mollusks.
Meemu Atoll is not the most exciting area for liveaboard diving in The Maldives, and it doesn't have as many dive sites as other atolls of a similar size. It's also located in between what's regarded as the central & southern Maldives regions, meaning that it's on the periphery of whichever itinerary it's included in. However, for those who are lucky enough to dive at Meemu Atoll, there's plenty to see, including a good chance of Manta Rays. In addition, it's a great place to dive for inexperienced divers, as well as those with more experience. Therefore, if you're a couple with different experience and needs, this atoll is ideal for you.