Baa Atoll

Mantas and whale sharks visit in large numbers, not to be missed

Since 2011 Baa Atoll has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The atoll comprises 75 islands scattered across nearly 1200km2 of sea. Only thirteen islands are inhabited. The atoll is known for its remarkable gatherings of manta rays and whale sharks, particularly at Hanifaru Bay. Considered one of the world’s best diving experiences, with tens, sometimes even hundreds, of manta rays congregating in the small bay, as well as whale sharks that feed on plankton here. The manta ray and whale shark season at Hanifaru Bay runs from May to December, with the best times usually from late July to early October around the full and new moons.

Dhonfanu Thila consists of a pinnacle which comes to a point and faces into the prevailing current. The current splits at the point and runs down either flank of the reef. A good tactic is to drop in advance of reaching the thila so that while descending the current will take you to the point of the reef at about 22 metres (72 feet). It is home to manta rays.

Depth m/ft

8-32/8-104

Visibility m/ft

15-25/49-82

Temperature C/F

27-29/80-84

Humpback and bluestripe snappers at Baa atoll (photo by Markus Fritze)
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Anemone at Baa atoll (photo by Markus Fritze)
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Moray eels at Baa atoll (photo by Markus Fritze)
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Manta rays on Baa atoll (photo by Kozy and Dan Kitchens)
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