- Dive Sites of Noonu Atoll – Scuba Diving in the Maldives
Dive Sites of Noonu Atoll – Scuba Diving in the Maldives
Noonu Atoll is known as the gateway to the relatively undiscovered northern atolls. Its little-dived sites are in excellent condition and offer some wonderful pinnacle diveing. Deeper dives here provide good opportunities to see juvenile grey reef sharks and cleaning stations.
Christmas Tree Rock
This site takes its name from the large, colourful Christmas tree shaped reef formation which sits at the top of a pinnacle. It rises through a series of ledges and plateaus which provide shelters for fish to hide beneath. From the base of the pinnacle it is usually worth peering under the base ledge where white tip reef sharks or marble rays can sometimes be found resting, and as you wind your way up the reef watch for the blue-striped snappers, trevally and tuna. Towards the top of the 'tree' nudibranchs, blennies and glass fish can be seen amongst the reef. Follow the tubestrea coral 'arrows' at 12 metres pointing towards a nearby shallow reef and hard coral garden that comes within 2 metres of the surface.
The sandy channel around the base of the underwater mound here acts as a nursery and cleaning station for grey reef sharks, often with a large number of females and juveniles. Best viewed from the channel or from a ledge down-current of them, watch as they appear to swim in patterns over the top of a second reef, wriggling in response to the cleaners. Other highlights as you make your way up the pinnacle can include leopard and guitar sharks, eagle rays and sting rays, schools of barracuda, blue-lined snapper and soldier fish.
This pinnacle is located in the centre of the atoll and attracts large numbers of grey reef sharks which come here to feed. Other regular visitors include leopard and guitar sharks, eagle rays, tuna and schools of snapper.