Scuba diving with whale sharks in the Maldives… finally!

Scuba diving in the Maldives was epic because we spent an entire day snorkelling and diving with WHALE SHARKS! I’d never seen them in the wild before this trip and finally managed to see 3 on this trip. Read on to find out what it was like to snorkel and scuba dive with whale sharks in the Maldives, and don’t forget to check out the video I put together of my whale shark encounters.

Where to find whale sharks in the Maldives

One of the highlights of our scuba diving live on board (LOB) was the prospect of seeing whale sharks. We found our whale sharks at Maamigilli Out Reef in the South Ari Atoll. I was there in November when the waters are plankton-rich, whale sharks favourite food which makes sightings more likely, but also lowers the visibility in the water as it becomes less clear.

Maldives Whale Shark
I like the look of this shot in BnW :) Taken by P

Spotting whale sharks

An entire afternoon was dedicated to hunting down these whale sharks after our first morning dive. We were one of many boats out on the water, ready with our snorkels and fins as the eagle-eyed dive guides and boatmen squinted at the sea from the roof of the boat, scouring the waters in search of these gentle giants. 

Once there’s a shout, all the boats zip over to the spotted whale shark while everyone on board hastily straps on their fins and masks and gets into position, all ready to jump in the water. The minute the boat stops, it’s all JUMP! GOGOGO! and madness ensues as everyone plunges in and swims frantically towards the direction of the whale shark while the people on the boat shout directions.

Maldives Whale Shark
This was the second whale shark that we saw. I love the patterns and colouring – did you know each whale shark’s spots are unique like fingerprints? Taken by P

Whale sharks really amazing creatures. They are HUGE. The first two whale sharks we saw while snorkelling were not very big by whale shark standards, but the last one we saw while scuba diving was at least 8m in length.

Photographing whale sharks

Getting decent footage of the whale sharks was pretty tough because there were a lot of people blocking the shots. You have to be really quick and position yourself well to get a clear shot.

Also, while it seems like the whale sharks are moving really slowly, their sheer size means that the moment you stop finning, you quickly fall back and lose sight of them. You need a wide angle lens to properly capture this giant creature.

Maldives Whale Shark
A close up of the head of Whale Shark #2. Taken by P

The video footage consists of footage from the Sony Action Cam HDR AS-15 that Sony kindly loaned me and my trusty old Canon S90.

Besides whale sharks, the other highlight of scuba diving in the Maldives was getting up close with manta rays

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10 thoughts on “Scuba diving with whale sharks in the Maldives… finally!”

    1. Hi cloudandsea, I did have my dive license already before going to Maldives, I have rescue diver certification (level after open water and advanced for PADI). Personally I would recommend you get your license and a bit more experience before going to Maldives because the waters there are not the easiest to dive – some spots have strong currents / cold waters which will make it rather painful for the newbie diver who doesn’t know how to deal with it.

      That being said, I think you could get your license in Maldives, you need to check with your dive centre if that’s possible. Bit of a waste though because basic level certification requires you to do basic drills in the water, you don’t really want to waste your time in beautiful maldives waters doing that! I recommend somewhere like Tioman to get certified, near to Singapore and not as expensive.

      Also, some dive centres offer fun dives which don’t require certification, that’s an option. Or you can just go snorkeling – if you’re looking for whale sharks specifically, you don’t actually need to scuba dive with them, you can see them as a snorkeler!

  1. Totally delayed comment here, but that video kicks it! Laura and I just got back from diving in Honduras. I shot with a GoPro and did alright with it, but need more practice with stability (very shaky on the camera). Loved your video!

    1. Thanks Lance! You should check in with Murissa too – she took a gopro with her to Hawaii I think.

      But yeah video is a lot harder than it looks! Appreciate the comments, and I definitely want to check out your Honduras diving stories… I’ve never dived in that part of the world before!

    1. Thanks Helen! I know it was seriously quite amazing to see them in real life so up close, you have to do something like this at least once in your life…

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