House reefs and dive sites are key selling points for many of the Maldives' island resorts. Yet for those with time to spare on Male' and other inahibted islands, oppurtunities do exist for more independent exploration of the country's water.
While Male' does itself have an articifical beach and surf point, snorkeling oppurtunities are somewhat limited on the capital. Two nearby options can be found on the islands of Villingili and Huhlumale' that can both be travelled to by ferry services that should cost no more than 10 Rufiya (just under one US Dollar) per journey.
Villingili, a very quiet island with some local cafes has a fantastic reef that descends into a dark blue abyss from not too far off the shore providing a huge variety in colour of both coral and other sea creatures along the way. The ferry times can be irregular though and will be closed for a few hours around early Friday afternoon for prayer. It is also advisable to travel with companions, expecially if female, and perhaps bring a water proof pouch for your valuables, though the locals are often friendly and curious about visitors. Perhaps not so spectacular for snorkelling - though a bit more of a serene paddle experience is the beach front of Huhlumale'. The island a lot more populated and with a fairly large number of shops, cafes and beach front hotels has a fantastic white sand beach and offers a spot of coral as you travel further out into the protected reef.
A "cheeky" beverage
Often used by locals and a number of expats, the beach can be populer, with regular ferry services running until the early hours of the morning to commute to and from Male'. An airport bus service also runs from the island to Male' International Airport and the Hulhule' Island Hotel (HiH), where thirsty travellers can legally purchase an alcoholic beverage not supplied elsewhere on inhabited islands.
Both Male' and Hulhumale' also have independent dive groups that take expats out on diving trips. Though anyone snorkelling is reminded to adhere to local dress codes that do not permit clothes like bikini on women, though daring men can get right down to their speedos!!
Agree or Disagree? Do you have questions of your own? Please share your tips and experiences diving and snorkelling outside of the Maldives' resorts.