Best Snorkeling in the Maldives for underwater photography

Banyan Tree - Vabbinfaru - North Ari Atoll - The Maldives

An established 5-star resort with a focus on it's environment

East side of North Ari Atoll (west by south of the Maldivian capital, Male).

20 minutes by speedboat from Maldive's Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.
We visited the Banyan Tree twice while staying on the adjacent sister resort island of Angsana Ihuru.

One visit was a snorkel lasting well over an hour around half the island.

As we only visited, rather than stayed at, the Banyan Tree, we are lacking photos for the usual resort gallery and any in-depth report.

Vabbinfaru is a small island (100 x 85 metres).
It's the same size as the adjacent, sister island, of Angsana Ihuru.   Angsana is the more recently built resort and appears to be more modern.   Both resorts are run by the same company.
The latter is the older of the two resorts but this is not to say that it lacks style.

The Banyan Tree resort has 48 villas.   15 minutes and you can walk around it.

From what we saw, the resort fits it's luxury billing and as is run by the same company, we expect the food and service to be of a high standard.
There is a free boat taxi (10 minutes) between the two islands so allowing snorkelling on both.

Banyan has it's 5PM stingray feed.

It is licensed to receive baby turtles from other islands to raise to a bigger size, to give them a much better chance of surviving to adult-hood upon their release.

outine map of Vabbinfaru Island importantly, 4 reef access points (RAPs)
The two jetty's allow easiest access into the lagoon (or off the beach) and head for nearest Reef Access Point (RAP).

At both snorkels, strong Westerly current so ...

Day swim - entered RAP 1, turned left and emerged at RAP 7.   Current lessened from about 10 o'clock point and lagoon widens but visibility seemed to deteriorate.

At RAP 1 outer reef well defined, with much plate coral.

Seemed less defined as go towards say 9 o'clock and further around.   Well defined again by Rap 6 with pick-up in current.

Judging from Google earth, reef is likely to be well defined in the Eastern quarter.

Assuming current often Westerly, then based on experience at Angsana, would expect good corals, anemones and fish in the Eastern area (but can't be sure obviously).

Night snorkel - out at RAP 4, turned left, probably got to 3 o'clock against the current, then turned and came in via RAP 7 (nearly two hours in all).

Towards the west, the inner lagoon is wide - 350M at widest western point.
So, if tired and pop your head up the beach looks a long way off.

If following the outer reef from RAP 1 to RAP 7, plus photography, will be swimming for a while.

Is possible to head for the beach from outer reef at 9 o'clock, wending through the coral outcrops and ensuring only swim over the sand.

Could be tide dependent though.
Best?   On the Banyan night snorkel likely to see nurse sharks.   Dodgey making a call when not snorkelled the Banyan Eastern quarter but ...

Suspect I prefer Angsana, if for no other reason than the outer reef is closer to the shore meaning more time snorkelling there (rather than over the inner lagoon which in both places is relatively much less interesting).

Direct link to Banyan Tree - Vabbinfaru

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(captions below needn't be read as you will have seen them with the gallery pictures - repeated below so are visible to Google/ search engines)
captions to Banyan Tree 'fish and critters' gallery pictures

captions to Banyan Tree 'seascape' gallery pictures

captions to Banyan Tree 'night snorkel' gallery pictures