Rising out of the ocean depths, this small atoll has found fame as the best location in the Maldives for encounters with hammerhead sharks. The atoll is also the site of some spectacular dive experiences with other sharks species, manta rays and schooling fish, and visitors can explore its deep reef walls and dramatic underwater topography. Combined with beautiful beaches and the welcoming community on the local island, Rasdhoo easily ranks as one of the Maldive’s best shark diving destinations.
At Hammerhead Point, divers head out into the blue at dawn in search of the resident hammerheads that are regularly encountered, but Rasdhoo Madivaru is arguably the most famous site in the atoll. Reaching out across one of the southern channels, a horse-shoe shaped ridge is patrolled by grey reef sharks, whitetip sharks and schools of eagle rays whilst an expansive sandy bowl is home to whiptail rays, marble rays and patches of garden eels. Throw in the occasional spotted eagle ray and a school of large barracuda and divers have all the ingredients for a near-perfect Maldivian dive experience. Between November and April, manta rays enter the atoll through the northern channel in search of a particular coral bommie, known as Manta Block. Here these gentle giants hover over the reef waiting for small cleaner wrasse to help pick parasites and detritus of their skin and gills. Divers can simply sit back and relax at a respectful distance and enjoy the spectacle.
Great for: Reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, big stingrays and schooling fish.
Best time to dive: January to April. The dry northeast monsoon usually brings blue skies and calm winds - perfect weather for a topical holiday - along with manta rays that can be seen at cleaning stations. However, Rasdhoo can be dived year round.
Best place to stay: The stunning Kuamathi Resort on one of Rasdhoo’s tiny islands offers divers that perfect Maldivian mix of luxury, beautiful beaches, incredible diving and fantastic service.
Image courtesy of Scubazoo.