Gentle giants of South Ari Atoll

Gentle giants of South Ari Atoll

The sea is an underwater museum
still awaiting its visitors.

South Ari Atoll is a scuba diver’s ultimate playground — home to large pelagics like the ever-graceful manta rays and whale sharks, and where you can swim alongside the gentle giants any time of the year. The quintessential bucket list experience awaits you as you take in the graceful underwater ballet of marine life. There are a few destinations in the world where whale shark sightings are year-round; lucky enough, our soul place happens to be one of them.

At Nova, we collaborate with Maldives Whale Shark Research Program to do our part in protecting these enigmatic marine creatures. With our workshops, you can discover more about their biology, the threats they face, and learn what we must do to protect and preserve them.

Maamigili Beyru: Gentle Giants
Just a short distance from Nova Maldives lies the famous Maamigili Beyru. It became the largest marine protected area in the Maldives in 2009 covering an area of 42 km2 because of its importance as a globally significant aggregation site for the whale sharks where encounters with them are very common throughout the year. Picture yourself diving or snorkelling alongside these gentle giants as they gracefully navigate the underwater realm. It’s a humbling experience that reminds us of the beauty and grandeur of the natural world.

Rangali Madivaru: Ethereal Dance
Let’s not forget Rangali Madivaru, a magical cleaning station for majestic manta rays. Witness their elegant dance as they glide effortlessly through the water, showcasing their ethereal beauty. It’s a sight that will ignite your soul and leave you with a deep appreciation for the wonders of marine life.

A snorkeller above a whale shark

Whale Shark Snorkelling

Picture this. A Whale Shark just meters away from you, gliding peacefully through the crystal waters. This enigmatic and gentle creature can be seen year-round at Nova. Catch the enigmatic sights of the world’s largest fish. The enigmatic and gentle creature can reach up to 12 meters in length and 20 tons in weight and dives deeper than 1,000 meters. These warm water residents are not only a unique sight to behold, but also play a critically important role in the health of our oceans.

Manta Snorkelling

Nova brings you a haven where your fantasies of swimming alongside the majestic Manta Rays as they perform a graceful underwater ballet can come true. With their diamond-shaped body and elongated wing-like pectoral fins, the highly intelligent animals put on an elegant show with fluid backward somersaults as they circle around the plankton to optimise food intake. Take in the graceful underwater acrobatics of the largest rays in the world, and let your spirit relish in a surreal moment.

A whale shark underwater

Protecting the gentle giants

With our collaboration with MWSRP, Nova ensures that all Whale Shark excursions at your soul place are sustainable. From in-depth briefings about the best practices when encountering the whale sharks, to Q&A sessions and sit-downs with field experts – you can learn more about the conservation efforts and immerse yourself in an experience unlike any other here at Nova.

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