Drei Taucher tauchen zusammen mit einem Walhai auf den Malediven und machen Fotos

Your trip at a glance


  • Enjoy a twelve-day research expedi­tion in the Indian Ocean
  • Live aboard a research vessel and roam the waters of the Maldives
  • Experi­ence the spectac­ular scenery of the Maldivian under­water world
  • Spot whale sharks, dolphins and other marine megafauna
  • Get an insight into marine research, pristine nature and the Maldivian culture


Dhigurah and the remaining island archi­pelago
Nahaufnahme einer Gruenen Meeresschildkroete im Indischen Ozean
Teilnehmer der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven laeuft am Strand entlang, haelt dabei Flossen und Taucherbrille
Eine Teilnehmerin und ein Teamleiter der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven stehen zusammen auf dem Forschungsboot
Aufnahme eines Walhais, der von einem Forschungsteam in den Gewaessern der Malediven gesichtet wurde
Fuenf Teilnehmer der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven sitzen am Rand des Forschungsboots und blicken auf das Meer
Teilnehmer der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven springt vom Foschungsboot ins Meer zum Tauchen
Aufnahme eines Walhais von hinten; das Tier schwimmt langsam von der Kamera weg
Nahaufnahme eines Tuemmlers, der auf den Malediven aus dem Wasser hervorschaut
Eine Teilnehmerin der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven hat soeben ihren Tauchgang beendet und ist wieder an der Oberflaeche
Eine Teilnehmerin der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven hat soeben ihren Tauchgang beendet und ist wieder auf dem Boot
Blick auf eine kleine, scheinbar unbewohnte Insel im Malediven-Archipel
Gruppenfoto der Teilnehmer der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven
Teilnehmerin der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven blickt vom Forschungsboot auf eine kleine Insel im Meer
Aufnahme eines Walhais, der in den Gewaessern der Malediven gesichtet wurde; unter ihm schwimmen kleine Fische
Die Abendsonne auf den Malediven scheint in sanften Pastelltoenen durch eine eindrucksvolle Wolkenformation hindurch
Blick vom Forschungsboot auf den Indischen Ozean vor den Maldiven bei Sonnenuntergang

Whale shark expedition in the Maldives

Join this twelve-day research expedition in the breathtaking Maldives archipelago, become involved in marine wildlife research and experience an unforgettable diving adventure in the Indian Ocean.

Luftaufnahme des Forschungsboots der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven

Arrival and orien­ta­tion in the Maldives

You will fly to Malé International Airport, where you will arrive on the day the expedition starts. A staff member of our partner will meet you at the airport and take you to the research vessel.

Ein Taucher taucht zusammen mit einem Walhai auf den Malediven und macht Fotos

Activ­i­ties during your marine adventure

The mission of this trip is to look for the Maldivian megafauna – whale sharks, dolphins, turtles, mantas, whales and other species of sharks – as well as collecting data on environmental variables in some of the less well travelled regions of the island state. As a participant of this unique expedition you will be invited to join in and assist in any of the research work planned. This mainly focuses on whale shark habitats and movements, on seasonal shifts in megafauna and on microplastic abundance in the water column, in plankton and in whale shark faecal samples.

Eine Teilnehmerin der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven haelt Ausschau nach Tieren im Wasser

As a participant you are encouraged to capture images of all marine megafauna during the trip for individual identification purposes. Afterwards, you will be taught how to put these sightings into national scale databases. If possible, background information on the individual animals will be returned to you so you can directly see the results of your efforts.

Blick in eine Standardkabine auf dem Forschungsboot der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven

Accom­mo­da­tion during the whale shark expedi­tion

During the whale shark expedition you will be accommodated aboard a well-equipped and spacious research vessel. Here you will share a comfortable standard cabin with another participant and use shared bathrooms. You will be provided with three meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and receive drinking water, coffee, tea and small snacks throughout the day.

Blick auf das Aussichtsdeck auf dem Forschungsboot der Walhai-Expedition auf den Malediven

Free time as a partic­i­pant

During the trip you will always have time in between which you can use for yourself. This is usually around lunchtime or in the evening. You can read, relax together with other participants or simply enjoy the comfort of the vessel’s outside relaxation area. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to do a good amount of recreational diving at world class sites!

Mehrere Taucher tauchen und schnorcheln zusammen mit einem Walhai in den Gewaessern der Malediven

Special notes for partic­i­pating in the expedi­tion

To gain a broad overview of what is required from you in order to take part in our nature trips we ask you to take a look at our general information and requirements on our nature and adventure travel programmes.

Apart from that, joining our whale shark expedition in the Maldives requires that you are passionate about marine life, a confident swimmer and owner of a diving licence, preferably equivalent to PADI Advanced Open Water. Additionally, all divers are required to have valid insurance that covers diving accidents.

Vegetation auf den Malediven: Nahaufnahme einer roten Bluete

To allow maximum flexibility, the route of the trip is not fixed. On the day of departure from Malé your group will decide where you are going. On the basis of current weather conditions and sighting reports you can spontaneously decide the best regions to see megafauna in the following days.

Furthermore, this project has a strict code of conduct as the Maldives are a Muslim country. Purchasing and consuming alcohol is strictly forbidden. It is important that you cover up and avoid wearing provocative clothing when among the local community. You will be given details about the code of conduct before you leave.

Last but not least, we ask you keep in mind that we will never guarantee sightings of whale sharks or other (marine) wildlife. For more information please take a look at our notes concerning animal sightings and wildlife interaction or reach out to our team.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

Learn what others say about their Natucate adventure.

Review Volunteering Maldives – Roland

“The whole experience was intense and accompanied by mixed feelings, i.e. "bittersweet". The encounters with a multitude of animals at close range were always unique, at the same time our "footprint" in the form of pollution, dead corals, injured animals and unregulated tourism is unfortunately omnipresent.”

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Review Volunteering Maldives – Alain

“Ocean and underwater world lovers should definitely book this project!”

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Review Volunteering Maldives – Doris

“Our community was great, with nice volunteers and staff members.”

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Review Volunteering Maldives – Martina

“The project is beautiful. You work in an idyllic landscape and have the opportunity to experience a lot. Encountering all these impressive sea creatures was incredible. The team on site is fantastic and the other volunteers were like close friends after a very short time.”

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  • reiseorte-malediven-malediven-archipel-corallen-natucate
    1. Dhigurah and the remaining island archipelago

    The Republic of Maldives is an island state in the Indian Ocean. While its total area is about 90,000 km², the actual island area is only 298 km². The Maldives archipelago consists of several atolls with a total of 1196 islands and belongs to the Asian continent.

    Just like the entire archipelago, the island paradise of Dhigurah is famous for its white, palm-fringed dream beaches, turquoise lagoons and a breathtaking underwater world. When travelling to Dhigurah you will surely experience an unforgettable stay abroad, characterised by peace, beauty and untouched nature.

    Learn more

Background of the whale shark expedi­tion

The Maldives are an excellent habitat for the largest fish on earth: the whale shark. With a maximum length of 18 m and a weight of up to 30 tons, the whale shark (Rhincodontypus) is the largest living fish in the ocean. While it doesn’t pose any danger to people, the giant itself is facing big threats – reaching from marine pollution to finning and injuries caused by fishing nets or boats. In order to conserve this incredible species and be able to develop suitable conservation measures, it is necessary to monitor whale shark populations and their movement patterns.

The goal of the whale shark expedition is to venture further afield and see what marine wonders can be found in some of the less travelled areas of the Maldives. Besides from searching and researching whale sharks, the team will also be monitoring and cataloging every other species of megafauna that is encountered. Building on the knowledge of previous expeditions, collecting important data and, in this way, to contribute to marine megafauna research is the expedition’s aim.


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