By Sarah Harvey
Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities in the Maldives, and for good reason. The placid surface of the Maldives’ turquoise lagoons belies the hub of frenetic activity going on beneath the surface. From the second you immerse your head under the water you find yourself in an ethereal world full of vibrancy and beauty.
I joined a half day snorkelling trip setting off from Filitheyo resort to check out the best snorkel spots in Faafu Atoll and discovered some of the most beautiful coral reefs and aquatic life in the world. Due to the secluded location, Faafu Atoll is virtually pristine and you won’t bump into crowds of tourists underwater either. As such, the coral is thriving and there’s been very little man-made impact on the marine environment.
Jumping into the ocean at a site known as Kings Corner I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of colourful juvenile reef fish surrounding us. Large shoals of baby butterflyfish, convict surgeonfish and squirrelfish swam in formation, sometimes in numbers so large it temporarily filled up my entire field of vision. Swarms of orange, yellow, blue and silver filled the scene in a deluge of colour. Larger Maldives anemonefish, parrotfish, oriental sweetlips, powder blue surgeonfish and unicornfish added to the multicolour spectacle.
With so much movement and so many incredible colours to take in during the first few moments the coral reef itself was momentarily in danger of playing second fiddle to the fish. But then it hit me – spectacular table coral, staghorn coral, organ pipe coral and lobe coral (amongst other varieties) stretched as far as the eye could see. The reef slope started at less than five metres in depth (making it perfect for snorkellers to explore) and stretching down to about 28 metres (this site is also excellent for scuba divers). The healthy coral garden was home and sanctuary to countless species of fish as well as moray eels. Further excitement came in the form of visiting green turtles and a white-tip reef shark passing by.
I swam along with my right shoulder to the reef, reveling in the visual feast for about 45 minutes. I duck-dived down to take a closer look at anemonefish and to follow a green turtle, wishing to fully immerse myself in the incredible underwater world for as long as my lungs would allow me. And then it was with great reluctance that I realised it was time to return to the boat, having experienced one of the best snorkel/dive sites I’ve ever seen in the Maldives.
All of AAA Resorts’ properties offer snorkelling excursions and you can also hire snorkelling equipment from our Werner Lau Dive Centres to explore the spectacular house reefs at each of our resorts.