One of the vital attraction activities for tourists in the Maldives is diving. The abundance of Indian ocean wildlife here makes exploring its calm, brilliant blue waters a genuinely life-changing experience.
One of the region’s more exotic species to swim with is the Tiger shark. This ocean predator is a highly sought-after sight in many locations across the pacific and Indian oceans, but the Maldives has recently laid claim to its own unique site.
Tiger sharks are sometimes seen around Huvadhu and Kaafu, but only Fuvahmulah Island offers near-guarantees for frequent sightings and encounters.
At Fuvahmulah Island, Tiger Sharks are reasonably common sightings. The island is growing in popularity as a tourist destination and a prime location for swimming with Tiger Sharks.
The Maldives is an archipelago made up of 1200 islands. Fuvamulah is an atoll comprising one single island of around 3 square miles. It is a lush island located in the far southern area of the Maldives, nicknamed the Maldivian Galapagos.
In part, it is known for its unique “shifting” sandy beach. The shifting is caused by seasonal ocean currents. Depending on which season you visit, it will be either on the eastern or western end of the island.
The island has two freshwater lakes, but the central area of interest for Maldive shark diving is its surrounding sea waters, which are regularly visited by Tiger Sharks.
Visitors typically access the island by ferry from neighboring atolls or by airplane. The island has its own domestic airport.
But, you might also be interested in chartering a seaplane for an even more exciting experience. In the Maldives, there are three reputable companies that handle seaplane transfers from Hulhule: Trans Maldivian Airways, Manta Air, and Maldivian Air Taxi.
Bear in mind that seaplanes have limited capacity for luggage. In most cases, you will be limited to 44 pounds (20kg) in luggage. Costs range, depending on distance, but $500 and up per person (for the plane that seats up to eight people) is standard. A privately chartered seaplane can cost between $7000 and $9000.
Fortunately, these companies work directly with the resorts and service providers, ensuring that your booking process is seamless and hassle-free.
Another option for exploring the waters of the Maldives (Fuvahmulah Island, in this case) is to consider a yacht charter. This is no doubt one of the most exhilarating and luxurious ways to spend your stay. Yachts can be chartered for around $1200 per day.
The factors that make yacht charters so enticing include the full service provided as part of the package. A small crew will be ever present to provide whatever you need while you concentrate on relaxing.
You can do your diving excursions straight off the deck, while others may choose to simply sunbake on that deck in the tropical rays. Talk to our experts about some of the fine options for yacht charters.
Yet another option to consider (if one is available) is a liveaboard. These are custom-designed boats that are specifically designed with SCUBA divers in mind. These boats can accommodate a number of divers, allowing them to live aboard the boat for days at a time.
One advantage is that you’ll never have to leave the waters and can take advantage of any dive time at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, this means that you will have to hope you get along with all the other guests (this usually isn’t a problem when you’re in the holiday spirit).
Liveaboards are popular options for those who plan to spend a lot of time in the water during their stay.
Maldives swimming with sharks is one of the fastest-growing attractions in the Maldives. There are several locations for diving to see whale sharks and hammerheads, for example. But, Fuvahmulah is the prime location for swimming with the Tiger sharks of the Maldives.
While diving to swim with Tiger sharks, you will also have a good chance of seeing a thresher shark or two in these waters. There are plenty of other sharks in this Maldives island’s waters.
The prime time to dive at this island to see these sharks is between December and April. This is the dry season where you are likely to encounter the best conditions in this region in general. Note that this is also typically the tourist season, so there’s lots of activity around the Maldives at this time.
There are actually two types of Tiger sharks. One is called the Sand Tiger Shark and is more closely related to the Great White. However, the Tiger shark is seen in the Maldives Galeocerdo cuvier and is not as closely related to either of the others. Here are some interesting things to know about Tiger sharks:
Tiger sharks are one of the largest shark species to see on an oceanic dive. They can grow up to 18 feet in length, weighing an impressive 2000 pounds. The name arose from a unique pattern on their bodies, notably stripes that can be seen especially in juvenile sharks. For early zoologists, the stripes resembled that of a tiger.
Tiger sharks are known to have an impressive talent for eating things. They have a seemingly voracious appetite and will eat most things available to them. As a result, they have earned a slightly unfair reputation for being dangerous as well.
They typically live near the coastline, preferring shallow waters. They tend to be solitary and are considered under threat because of hunting by humans. They also happen to be prey for killer whales.
The beautiful Tiger shark has also earned an unfortunate nickname — “The Garbage Can of the Seas.” This is because of its reputation for chewing on anything, including random items of garbage. Items as bizarre as car license plates have been found in its gut. This is alongside all kinds of sea life not typically associated with a single species of shark.
In truth, Tiger sharks do have a seemingly voracious appetite. This is also why it is considered the shark with the second most reported incidents of attack on humans. In most cases, these have been a result of curiosity more than predation.
When considered another way, we might also ask: why are humans contaminating the Tiger shark’s habitat with all kinds of garbage, like car license plates?
Aside from motor vehicles, Tiger sharks do have a very broad food spectrum, including:
- Various birds (believe it or not, some birds are actually caught by sharks)
- Dolphins (Tiger sharks are large enough to threaten them)
- Sea snakes
- Other sharks (incredibly, not even sharks are safe from these sharks)
Interesting fact: The Tiger Shark may be the only shark known to actively hunt sea turtles. This has been observed in Australia, especially during the turtle’s breeding season. It’s not all that easy for the sharks, as the turtles do employ various defensive techniques against their predation. Older or unhealthy turtles are more likely to succumb to attacks, though.
Tiger sharks tend to be curious, so they are not afraid of swimming up to divers to take a closer look. Their size is intimidating, and their reputation suggests that they are dangerous to divers. Tiger sharks register behind only Great Whites in terms of all-time recorded reported attacks of humans. However, attacks are still extremely rare when it comes to actual numbers.
By way of example: The International Shark Attack File reports 39 fatal Tiger Shark attacks recorded since records have been kept. Hippos, on the other hand, kill more than 500 people per year.
So, are tiger sharks dangerous? The fact is that being in close proximity to any wild animal carries an element of risk. Still, inexperienced divers may not be suited to very close contact as certain types of behavior may inadvertently provoke wildlife.
It’s also highly recommended that tourists are accompanied by an authorized and experienced dive operator. A guide will be very useful for advice and avoiding situations that may not be ideal.
If all of the above isn’t enough to tempt you into a visit here to swim with Tiger sharks, consider that the big ocean predator isn’t the only fish you’ll see while diving here. Fuvahmulah also plays host, home, and playground to lots of other sea life, including:
- Hammerhead sharks
- Mola mola
- Manta rays
- Pilot whales
- Silvertip sharks
- Thresher sharks
- Yellowfin tuna
The experience of Tiger shark diving is definitely one that is unique and thrilling. It can only be experienced in some very specific places in the world.
Fuvahmulah Island is fast becoming one of the favorites in this regard. Aside from seeing these majestic sea creatures up close, Maldives has lots of added key elements to make it attractive.
The superb glowing and golden beaches, for example, remain some of the eastern hemisphere’s best. Warm tropical weather, abundant sea life, and superb accommodations are more things to mention.
Why not consider enquiring with Go Ocean with regard to a getaway here in the Maldives?