Diving with Whale Sharks in the Maldives
In the Maldives, you can swim with the sharks — literally. While Africa has its ‘big five,’ the Maldives have become known for the ‘big five’ of the sea: moray eels, manta, grey reef sharks and turtles. Perhaps one of the most popular draws in the oceanic world, though, is the whale shark, which can be found year round in the Maldives.
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, reaching up to 40 feet long. This gentle giant is a filter feeding shark that feeds mainly on plankton. It can be found in warm, tropical waters, and has a life span of about 70 years. Since it swims so slowly — only around 3.1 mph — it’s possible to snorkel or dive alongside whale shark. One way to see these amazing creatures is at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island offers resort guests an opportunity to get up close and personal with whale shark.
The MWSRP is a charity that exists to conduct whale shark research and to foster grassroots conservation initiatives within the Maldives and throughout the Indian Ocean. Based at Conrad Maldives until February 2012, the program’s volunteers conduct invaluable whale shark research and hold educational programs.
In addition to their research, the MWSRP workers take guests on snorkeling and diving excursions to see the sharks. Their expert knowledge of whale shark behavior helps to provide the best possible chance of finding these elusive fish. An excursion by speedboat/luxury cruiser is available on Fridays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and an excursion by dhoni is available on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Price is $200 plus 10% service charge and 3.5% T-GST per person.
While the whale sharks are ever popular, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is an attraction all its own. Located in a picturesque corner of the Maldives, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island combines three distinct resort experiences on two islands, linked by a bridge and surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and lagoon. Accommodations include 50 luxury Water Villas in the country, 79 Beach Villas and 21 Spa Water Villas.
For more information, see www.conradmaldives.com.