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Ari Atoll or Alifu is the second most popular dive destination in the Maldives especially interesting for its sublime pinnacle diving.
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The oval shaped Ari Atoll (Alifu) is after the two Male Atolls the most popular atoll for tourists. It is roughly 90km long and 30km wide, offering many pristine island resorts and small inhabited villages. All islands are surrounded by circular shaped reefs providing excellent blue lagoons and thrilling channels. Some of the larger islands include Maamigili, Feridhoo and Dhigurah. Popular island resorts can be found at Rangali and Mirihi. Nearby smaller atolls in the north such as Rasdhoo Atoll and Thoddoo Atoll are parts of Alifu and therefore included as stunning dive regions. Although reef protection and marine environments are top priority, unfortunately still many sharks are caught for the Japanese shark fin market.
Ari Atoll is one of the most reliable places to dive with passing whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays. It is different from most Maldivian atolls because of its pinnacle diving, which takes place inside the atoll and not like most other dives in the enclosing reef or separating channels. The beauty of these pinnacles is the amount, richness, colorfulness and diversity of marine life. You can find anything from small ghost pipefish to larger batfish feeding of the coral. The channels bring in lots of nutrient rich waters and offer plenty of food for many pelagic species such as tuna, barracuda and trevelly. Most of the popular dive sites are in the north and because Ari is the second largest atoll in the Maldives, we suggest to book liveaboard tours to experience its wicked underwater world. Some of the best dive sites include Broken Rock Thila, Fishhead (Mushimasmingali Thila) and Hammerhead Point. There are also the interesting Fesdhoo Wreck and the Halaveli Wreck which was sunk as an artificial reef on the Halaveli Island House Reef. Wherever you dive, this atoll offers many resort islands with excellent white beaches and pretty dive sites both for experienced as novice divers.
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