Any time of the year, Maldives offers good diving. Visibility may vary from season to season but 15 to 30 meters (50 to 100 ft.) can be expected at most dive sites.
Water temperatures vary from 26°C to 30°C. A 3-5mm wetsuit is recommended year round.
Climate in Maldives is determined by 2 seasons:
- The northeast monsoon (winds from the northeast) runs from November to early May. At this time of year the skies are blue and the lack of wind means the seas are calm. The visibility on the eastern side of the atolls is good at 20-30+m, and 15-20m on the western sides. The eastern atolls generally have the best visibility during this time too, and December to March normally enjoys the best overall visibility. This is because the currents flow through the atoll channels from east to west. Reef sharks gather in large numbers at the channel entrances on the eastern side of the atolls; whereas mantas are drawn to the western sides because plankton flows out of the channels into open sea on west at this time. The current is strongest at this time of year too.
- May to November is the southwest monsoon and the above process is reversed: currents flow through the channels in an easterly direction; mantas to the east, reef sharks and better visibility to the west. It is at this time when the skies are cloudier, the winds are stronger and seas a little rougher, although the season does still get nice, sunny spells.
Mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are found in the Maldives all year round; if anything, manta rays are found in even greater numbers in the southwest monsoon. As for the other big creatures, diver encounters are dependent on non-seasonal factors: whale sharks are more frequently sighted at high tide.
Divers also have to consider that dive sites can get busy during the high season from December till April. More and more scuba divers therefor consider to travel in the low season: quality of diving is superb year round, dive sites are calmer in low season, and rates are substantially cheaper.