Shimmering clear water, gorgeous coral reefs, and white sand beaches – the Maldives is a virtual heaven on earth. Shaped like a banana when seen from above, this amazing reef draws scuba divers from far and wide. The fish are far from scared of photographers, creating some of the best underwater shots the world has ever seen.
Located near Hulhumale Island, Banana Reef was, in fact, the first dive site to be discovered in the Maldives, and no matter how many other dive sites are discovered, this one continues to be the most popular. Colourful coral formations are the core attraction, along with a huge variety of fish such as bannerfish, sweetlips and squirrelfish.
Geography of Banana Reef
Banana Reef lies around 15 minutes away from the artificial island of Hulhumalé and has a little bit of everything in it. Also known as “Gaathugiri”, this reef lies just inside Kuda Kalhi, and on the West of Club Med. It is easily accessible by boat which is usually anchored a distance away. Diving is practical throughout the year thanks to the pleasant climate enjoyed by the Maldivian islands.
Ranging from a depth of 5 to 30 meters, the dive itself is extremely interesting to nature lovers with its overhangs and pinnacles. The reef stretches over a length of around 300 meteres from North-East to South, and lie near islands such as Club Med, Kurumba and Fullmoon Island. Banana Reef has a rare combination of a fragile reef and strong current, making it hard to anchor nearby. Floats are usually used to get there.
Not far away from Banana Reef, across the corner, is a berg that is perfect to enjoy a bit of diving through the coral garden. Some shallow caves lie in the reef wall on the North-Eastern side of the reef, which are also worth exploring. In fact, to this side lie many spectacular caves, rocks, precipitous overhangs and canyons that are almost as gorgeous as the reef itself.
Ecology of Banana Reef
Marine life abounds at Banana Reef with spectacular fish and brilliant soft blue corals that are a delight. The reef is full of fish, turtles, shrimps and crabs exploring the place as well, and watching marine life in their natural habitat is breathtaking. The large schools of bannerfish, for example, can number as many as a thousand at a single time and some schools of fish are so thick that they can be felt as they pass divers.
Banana Reef Maldives Snorkeling
Known primarily for its diving delights, Banana Reef attracts divers from all over the world. This dive site is more commonly referred to as a drift site and requires that one brings along a compass to fully enjoy it. The diving conditions at Banana Reef are among the best one can find, adding to its popularity. Tourists should watch out for currents that have a whirlpool effect, though, to avoid unpleasant experiences.