The Maldives is most popularly known for its spectacular dive sites. One of the most visited dive spots that never fail to delight divers is Lion’s Head, which was named after a large overhang rock formation that looks like the head of a lion. It is one of the oldest dive points in the Maldives and has now been designated by the Maldivian government as a protected marine area.
A few years back, the government didn’t regulate divers and tourists, but as the country became more and more popular for its dive sites, the state realized it had to do something before the country lost all its beautiful underwater treasures. Tourists used to chip off corals and take them home as souvenirs. In 1995, the government identified and placed 35 dive sites under special protection, one of which is Lion’s Head.
There are three reasons why divers come to Lion’s Head: the fishes, other marine creatures, and amazing rock formations.
Located in a channel off the North Male Atoll, Lion’s Head offers so many amazing underwater sites that are teeming with all the marine animals that divers want to see, making it a perfect diving spot for experienced divers. Diving aficionados and enthusiasts travel from all over the globe to see and swim alongside these colorful underwater creatures: sea turtles, red-toothed triggerfish, bassets, basslets, fusiliers, tunas, napoleon wrasses, eagle rays, stone fish, leaf fish, anthias, surgeonfish, batfish, octopuses (typically found hiding in crevices), and, of course sharks, most especially the grey reef sharks that swim here in numbers. These fish are always here, unlike in other dive sites that often disappoint because the fish have gone swimming elsewhere.
Other things to see at the spot are intriguing caves, cliffs, overhangs, and crevices about 80 feet down. The deep wall reef has many projections, thus creating unique rock formations and profiles. From a shallow 15 feet, the wall sharply drops all the way down to 120 feet until it disappears in the darkness. One has just got to wonder what lurks deeper in the Ocean where sunlight cannot penetrate.
The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean just below India and Sri Lanka. The archipelago is a string of coral reef islands that all breed amazing underwater flora and fauna. In no other country could anyone see the beauty of the Indian Ocean better than in the Maldivian dive sites.
Back to Lion’s Head, divers all know that fishes are not the only living and beautiful creatures in the deep. There are also brightly colored fans, sponges, anemones, crinoids, nudribranches, and, of course, hard and soft reef corals, which are what the Maldives is primarily known for.
There are, however, two downsides here. One, the currents are strong, and therefore only intermediate to expert divers can enjoy the underwater magnificence of Lion’s Head. Divers normally take temporary shelter from rocky outcrops when the currents begin to surge; and two, there are oil and gas facilities in the nearby Thilafushi Island, which some tourists consider an eyesore. Other than these two, Lion’s Head is perfect.