Grand Friday Mosque & Islamic Centre
The golden dome of this impressive but rather sterile mosque dominates the skyline of Male and has become something of a symbol for the...
The busy produce market gives a real flavour of the Maldives – people from all over the country gather here to sell home-grown and...
Hulhule Island Hotel
Most expats in town make the pilgrimage across the lagoon to the Hulhule Island Hotel bar for alcohol. There’s a dedicated ferry service...
Is this the largest restaurant in Male’? It’s certainly a contender, with its tree-house-like extensions into the sky. The huge menus...
Lonely Planet review
The Whale Submarine can hardly be described as a sight of Male, but it’s a popular excursion. First things first, this is not a submarine for whale watching – its name is slightly misleading. It is, in fact, a submarine for looking at life on a reef. It’s hard to recommend for divers, as the trip can’t really compare to a real dive, but for kids (under-threes are not allowed) and those who don’t dive, this is a great, if pricey, little excursion. As the submarine departs from a point off the coast, you have to get a boat either from the airport or Jetty No 1 (President’s Jetty). A boat picks up from both about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of the submarine. You should ring ahead and book a place (there are several departures daily) so the boat can pick you up. At the submarine dock (the ‘Whale House’) you pay your money, have a cool drink and board the sub.
The sub takes a few minutes to get to its dive spot, and then descends to about 35m while passengers gaze out at the view through large, lenslike windows. A variety of fish come very close to the windows, attracted partly by the food that the sub dispenses and partly by the sub itself. Surgeonfish, blue-striped snapper and unicornfish are among the most commonly seen, but you will have an excellent view of smaller creatures as well, such as lionfish and anemonefish. The sub goes very close to a reef wall, and its lights illuminate crevices and show up colours that wouldn’t be visible in natural light.
The total time spent underwater is about 45 minutes, but allow 1½ hours for the whole trip. Many people manage to fit in a submarine trip if they have a few hours to spare at the airport before their departure flight. The sub maintains normal surface pressure inside, so it’s quite safe to fly straight afterwards.