Did you know that before, whale sharks would only visit the Maldives during the South-West monsoon season which runs from May to October? Now, they can be seen around the warm waters of the Indian Ocean all year round, particularly in the South Ari Atoll where Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa is located. Our island’s prime location puts us in proximity to whale shark spots. Some guests have even been lucky enough to see whale sharks directly on our house reef!
Known as the largest fish in the world, whale sharks belong to the shark family. They swim by moving side to side, unlike sharks, which use their tails for swimming. As their bodies weigh around 20.6 tonnes, it is no wonder that they move so slowly. Despite their size, whale sharks are docile creatures. In Vilamendhoo, there are plenty of opportunities to swim with whale sharks. Through regularly scheduled excursions, you can take a trip to known whale shark points where if lucky, you can spot, swim and photograph these gentle giants. These excursions are the whale shark excursion, the family adventurer full day excursion and the ocean discovery full-day excursion.
While swimming with whale sharks, it is essential to remember to respect their space. Always listen to your guide, and do as instructed for your safety and the whale sharks’ safety. As a general rule, you should always stay 10 feet away from the whale shark’s tail, to avoid being accidentally swatted, and about 3 feet away from the head. Do not attempt to touch or feed a whale shark. Observing these safety rules will ensure you have a pleasant experience swimming with the majestic creatures.
Here are some of our favourite photos captured by past guests.
Image by @sergeykbn.
Image by @karel_frait.
Is the Maldives suitable for diving? This is a popularly asked question when guests are trying to plan their adventures. The answer is, ‘Yes! Absolutely!’ The Maldives is truly a diver’s paradise. The spectacular underwater world beneath the crystal-clear turquoise sea hosts a variety of marine life of unimaginable beauty, inviting adventurers to embark on unique adventures. The Maldives offers up a variety of dive sites from gently sloping reefs, plunging drop-offs with overhangs and so much more.
Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, is located in the South Ari Atoll, a famed diving location. A magnificent house reef encircles Vilamendhoo, with direct access from almost every point on the island. A mere swim away from the beach, you will discover the stunning house reef, and spot an abundant variety of marine life including over 150 species of tropical fish. Be sure to bring along your underwater camera to capture the magnificence of this magical underwater world.
At Vilamendhoo, Euro-Divers operate our 5-Star PADI certified dive centre. The professional team provide a variety of services including a complete PADI instructional programme, regularly organised dive trips, equipment rental services and much more. The courses offered under the instructional programme include a variety of beginner and continuing classes for anyone above eight years. Further, the centre has professionals of various nationalities to help you learn in the language you are most comfortable with. Once you are ready to explore the sea, Euro-Divers provide different diving packages at very competitive rates. View the full price-list here .
While you dive, be mindful not to step on or touch the fragile coral reefs. Do not place your equipment on the coral and as always, respect the marine life.
We look forward to welcoming you to your next diving adventure!
Despite their size, manta rays are gentle, magnificent creatures. They are a flattened type of fish with wide fins that look like wings and no bones. They are found in tropical waters such as the Maldives. In Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, we offer a variety of excursions allowing you to hopefully spot, swim and photograph manta rays. Before heading out on this adventure, here are a few things you should know about manta rays.
Manta Rays, whose width exceeds 3 metres, are quite large. Female mantas are usually larger than their male counterparts. Manta rays have the biggest brains of all fish and do display some intelligent behaviour. They feed on plankton, which they filter through their gill-rakers.
Manta rays are peaceful and gentle creatures that do not pose any threats to humans. As they are very sensitive to disturbance, there are a few things to consider when swimming with mantas. Manta Trust advises swimmers to enter the water calmly and quietly, no closer than 10 metres away from the manta ray. Once in the water, keep your fins below the surface and avoid splashing as noise can scare away manta rays. Do not approach them any closer than 3 metres and always approach from the side, giving manta rays a clear path ahead. Finally, never touch a manta ray or chase after one.
As with most marine-life, we cannot predict their schedule. We do, however, have excursions that transport you to known manta spots where if you are lucky, you can see and swim with them. Join our Ocean Discovery or our Manta and Turtle excursions for great adventures. Should you happen to spot some manta rays and photograph them, tag #vilamendhoo in your posts so we can see too!