Diving In Baa Atoll
With the diverse marine life around its reefs, thilas (submerged islands), overhangs and swim throughs, Baa Atoll deserves its UNESCO status.
Located to the east, and part of the atoll’s protected reef, is the Horubadhoo Thila at a depth of 39-52 feet (12-16 meters). The thila is covered in different hard and soft corals, lots of macro life and large pelagic. On either side of the thila are large rocks where schooling black jacks hunt fusiliers. The south-west monsoon (May to November) sees manta rays using the thila as a cleaning station. Shoals of glassy fish also swim around the coral. Depending on the light and density of the shoal, it can be a spectacular sight. The coral appears through them, distorted, as though you’re wearing glasses with the wrong prescription.
To the south-east of the atoll is Nelivaru Haa. The topography around this site is unique. The top of the reef is found at 46 feet (14 meters) and drops off to 98 feet (30 meters). Star shaped canyons are found in the middle and overhangs, which are covered in hard and soft corals, are found on the reef’s walls. Amongst the caves and overhangs, you’ll also find stingrays, big g roupers, friendly batfish or a school of oriental sweet lips. This entire reef becomes a cleaning station during manta season, and while they hover to be cleaned, you’ll be able to observe them closely.
Advanced divers can explore Dhonfanu Thila and its swim through. The thila starts at 26 feet (8 meters), and as you descend you may see manta rays. Located at 82 feet (25 meters) is the base of a narrow swim through lined with black coral. You'll ascend to its exit at 59 feet (18 meters). Amongst the reef’s overhangs are yellow-lined snapper, soldierfish and cleaning wrasses. Expect to see lots of other fish: redtoothed triggers, black pyramid butterflyfish, parrotfish, angelfish and starry rabbitfish.
The popular whale shark spots may be full of ravenous snorkelers, but Baa Atoll’s dive sites are well chartered and offer lots of diverse diving and marine life.