Dive Sites: Diving the Kandu

The dive sites in Laamu Atoll can be broken down in to 3 different types: the Kandu, the Thila and Giri, the Inner Reef.
The channels or Kandu dive sites like Fushi Kandu and Mundhoo Kandu are usually associated with blue water, strong currents and big pelagics like sharks, barracuda and rays,as well as schooling fishes like fusiliers, jacks and snapper. The two channels to the north of Laamu Dive and Surf have very shallow lips compared to other kandu’s that you may have experienced in the Maldives.
This is an (admittedly crude) representation of the two kandu’s to the north of Laamu Dive and Surf. There are two ways to enter the water- either a blue water ‘negative’ descent where one descends fairly far away from the entrance allowing the current to push you in, or a simpler technique of jumping to one side of the entrance and swimming. The  entrances are not wide and can be crossed if conditions permit.
The lip of the entrance is at a depth of around 12m/40ft. The current however can be extremely strong- strong enough to flood masks and cause regulators to free-flow.
Diving in such conditions requires absolute confidence in not only basic diving techniques, but also full awareness of your surroundings, buddy/group, remaining gas, depth, time and no-decompression status at all times. It is the equivalent of driving at speed on a crowded motorway…. and trying to take photos at the same time. The ride in can sometimes be ‘bumpy’ as the flow of water rushes through and ‘washing machines’ and down-currents are probable in the strongest conditions. Regardless of apparent conditions, diving the kandu is one of the most challenging/rewarding types of diving- it is never to be taken lightly but this is what has made diving the Maldives so famous around the world.
Normal maximum depths for these two dive sites are around the 25m/80ft mark, with experienced Open Water divers to 18m/60ft. For experienced Advanced Open Water divers, thresher sharks and hammerhead sharks are possible at around 30m/100ft if the conditions are right. Otherwise grey reef sharks are common, as are eagle rays, green turtles, napolean wrasse, great barracuda, stingrays and possibilities of nurse and zebra sharks and even mantas. Schooling fish such big-eye trevally, surgeonfish and fusiliers are all but guaranteed.
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