The dawn of 13 February 1981 brought with it news of the unfortunate demise of Maldives Victory. The 35,000-ton freighter had run full-speed into the Hulhulé reef ledge and sunk, taking with it a wealth of goods.
Back then, this caused much grief. It was a staggering loss of foodstuff and supplies needed for the resorts, a blow to the budding tourism industry of the Maldives. But the passage of a few decades have changed the tune; now, the wreck is celebrated. It has become one of the best diving spots in the Maldives.
The wreck rests at the Hulhulé reef tip in North Malé Atoll. It’s one of the easiest locations to access because the Velaanaa International Airport is built on Hulhulé Island. Travelers can choose between a luxurious stay at a nearby resort or a budget stay at Hulhumalé island of Malé City.
The Maldives Victory lies 15-35 meters below the surface. Coral and sponge growth has been swift in taking over the structure. Scattered across the metallic body of the ship are soft corals rich in algae. Over time, it has attracted a variety of fish to the wreck.
The ship is 110 meter’s long with several nooks and crannies where one can drop in to experience a thrilling adventure; the cabin and stern bridge especially boasts a giddying cornucopia of marine life.
Groupers, batfish, and puffers are among the most noticeable denizens in and around the ruined ship. Schools of fusiliers and jacks swarm around, while a turtle or two forage at the railings and ledges. Moray eels lurk in shadows at the deeper end. The stern and bridge area are heavily populated as well. You can spot lionfish, squirrelfish, and hawkfish scooting around.
Maldives Victory has become a miniature reef all on its own. Compared to the busier reef nearby, the marine life can only be called average… but the sight is still surreal and vibrant. Visibility is good in the vicinity within a 10-15 meter range. But novice divers will have to keep their wits and caution about them, since the current may get a bit too strong at times.
The Maldives Victory is a magical dive that should definitely be on any divers bucket list if a visit to the Maldives is around the corner.