December 9 to 16 2023
June 8 to 15 2024
November 23 to 30 2024
Within the marine paradise of the Maldivian atolls lives one of the most majestic subaquatic creatures, the whale shark.
These gentle giants glide through this part of the Indian Ocean all year round, making the Maldives one of the top hotspots to dive alongside these pelagics.
Join us as we celebrate the planet's biggest fish on a bucket-worthy expedition. With the help of our friends from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, you'll become an expert in all things whale sharks, including the threats they face and how you can aid their conservation.
Alongside the daily dives and explorations of the western side of the atolls, you'll enjoy ocean talks from local NGOs' guest speakers, PADI Specialty courses, and entertainment. You'll leave having made a real difference in conserving these ambassadors of the sea.
Best of Maldives Itinerary: Male - N Ari - S Ari - Vaavu - Male (no domestic flights required)
From start to finish, the focus of this expedition will be pinnacle and outer atoll walls dives alongside pelagic megafauna.
You'll spend two full days within the South Ari Marine Protected Area, where whale sharks call home, and mantas visit their cleaning stations.
As the evenings roll in you'll venture round to the back of the boat for unforgettable night snorkeling experiences with whale sharks. There's a high chance of you having more than one visitor of an evening, and if you stay up late, one-on-one experiences are likely.
Once we arrive at the Vaavu Atoll, you'll experience a once-in-a-lifetime night dive with nurse sharks and stingrays - residents of the iconic Alimatha Jetty.
Rounding off the trip, we'll cruise back to Male on Friday.
On top of daily diving you'll experience:
- Guest speakers from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme e (General whale sharks ,Whale sharks in the Maldives + how to swim with them, Research methods / our work / citizen science, Whale shark identification).
- PADI AWARE Specialty courses: Shark Conservation, Whale Shark Awareness and more.
- Project AWARE Specialty course INCLUDED: (theory-only course).
Love Ocean Talks
Big Fish Talks: A presentation to familiarize you with whale shark biology, behavior and conservation status. You'll learn about the importance of research and monitoring programs, and how you can become a citizen-scientist to help gathering crucial data for the preservation of our local whale sharks. The Big Fish Talks will cover the required theory section of your PADI Whale Shark Awareness course.
Shark Talk: Join the discussion about the world's most misunderstood fish. You'll discover the value of sharks to marine ecosystems and economies, and learn about the actions you can take to dispel misconceptions and act to protect them and their habitat.
Whale Shark Night: Spend the evening unraveling the mysteries behind these majestic creatures, whilst also learning what part you can play in their conservation. As we discuss our favorite gentle giants, the stern platform will light up to attract whale sharks for a plankton feast.
PADI AWARE Specialty courses
PADI Whale Shark Awareness: This course takes you on a deep dive into whale shark biology and behavior. You'll learn about monitoring programmes, research and conservation efforts, as well as the correct diving techniques for when you find yourself in the presence of the ocean's biggest fish. During the two course dives you'll practice identifying any whale shark distinctive features and markings, as well as fine-tune your buoyancy for a better ID photo. (To gain this PADI Specialty Certification you must be at least 10 years old and certified as min. Junior Open Water Diver).
AWARE Shark Conservation: This course will take your spark of interest in these fascinating creatures and set it alight. You'll discover the value of sharks to marine ecosystems and economies, and learn about the actions you can take to dispel misconceptions and act to protect them and their habitat. During the two course dives you'll demonstrate responsible diving practices and behaviors to minimize negative environmental impact. (To gain this PADI Specialty Certification you must be at least 12 years old and certified as min. Junior Open Water Diver).
Project AWARE: In this interactive workshop you will learn how to channel your passion for diving into protecting the dive sites you love the most. This course will provide simple diving ethics to live by, and how you can make a difference when traveling, diving, taking photos, and more. This course only requires a keenness to learn.
If you're looking to recharge and unwind whilst still reveling in the magic of these graceful, gentle creatures, join us at the spa deck to learn more about whale sharks.
Join the camera team duo Doug Anderson and Rick Rosenthal in 'Ocean Wanderers' on their journey filming oceanic white tip sharks without a cage. Relying purely on experience, observation, and nerves, you'll see how the powerful shark's behavior changes towards them throughout the expedition.
Up next in 'Whale Sharks: Gentle Giants' you'll be transported to Mexico and Western Australia, where you'll learn about how whale shark tourism can be both a blessing and a curse.
Whilst the clear Maldivian waters provide an aquarium-like view of these subaquatic creatures, join us on deck to bask in all you've discovered over some shark-themed cocktails and dinner.
If you're feeling competitive, enter one of our photography competitions. We'll be looking for the best photos of the biggest and smallest fish from our daily dives.
If you're ready for an experience possible in only a handful of places around the world, with one of the oceans' greats, we can't wait to welcome you aboard.