A long reef curved at the western edge giving it its name, Banana Reef on the south eastern side of the North Male Atoll was one of the first Maldives dives sites to be discovered and to gain international recognition. Known for the quality of it coral coverage supporting a high density of marine life, it is one of the most popular dive sites with thousands of scuba divers and snorkelers visiting each year.
While large shoals of reef fish are found everywhere in the reef, the eastern side is known for its enormous school of banner fish, sometimes so dense that a diver’s visibility is affected. This area also attracts morays seen slithering and coiled amongst the coral.
On the western side where the semi circular reef wall drops sharply to 25 metres, the underwater landscape boasts of a large cave (15 metres) inhabited with a host of exotic reef fish such as squirrel fish, soldier fish, grubbers, puffers, groupers, small wrasse, large schools of moon, striped and blue dash fusiliers, sea fans and angel fish among a host of others. In some sections the fish are quite tame being regularly fed by divers. During the monsoons the caves experience strong currents that wash through them and are best avoided at this time.
One of the best dive sites of Banana Reef is at the north eastern end where the underwater landscape supports spectacular caves, rock faces, deep gutters and steep overhangs. Here divers will encounter predators such as sleek barracudas and sharks among giant trevallys, black snappers and lumbering giant wrasses. Equally spectacular are the coral formations that include some of the best examples of table corals on top to colourful underwater soft corals and sponges below.
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