More than a
1000 beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean across the Equator .......
most beautiful anywhere! Perhaps the best way to see these
and reefs is by cruising through them.Whilst some people prefer
to a sail
on a live-aboard safari yacht, others love to be lazy and
lie on the white
sandy beaches enjoying the sea and the sun.
With us you
can do all of that and much more...
an independent Republic. An international airport provides access, with
from Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as a growing number of other countries.
Modern telecommunications facilities keep the Maldives in contact with
the rest of the world.
: 238,000, growing at 3% per annum.
: Divehi, an indigenous language spoken only in the Maldives.
people in Male and tourist resorts speak English.
: Islam. Maldives is perhaps the only country
with a 100% Muslim population.
was introduced around A.D.800, and the moderate form practised in Maldives
remained virtually unchanged.
industries : Fishing, tourism.
larger on the map than a few ink splashes by a busy cartographer, the Maldive
the south western tip of India all the way to the Equator. One of the most
attenuated countries in the world,
1,196 islands, in 26 distinct coral atolls, are spread over a total area
of 90,000 square kilometres (about 36,000 square miles)
the Indian Ocean, yet less than 0.5 percent of this is land. Some 200 of
the islands are inhabited. Until the arrival of
fishing was the main occupation in this nation of seafarers, and the relaxed
pace of life seems to have carried
into the twentieth century. The graceful sailing dhonis of old may have
given way to motorised versions,
fishing with pole and line is still a common site throughout the islands.
Maldives has the most beautiful tropical scenery, graceful coconut palms
leaning over crystal-clear lagoons,
reefs promising great snorkelling and scuba diving, and lots of sunshine.
In fact, all the ingredients that make
the classic desert island. With the increasing pace of life in the modern
world, it has become the ultimate
for those who like sun, sand, sea and doing nothing ...the last Paradise.
Maldives has gained a reputation as one of the best diving destinations
in the world. And deservedly
with hundreds of breathtaking dive sites, a colourful and fascinating
underwater world, perfect conditions
the year and a visibility every photographer dreams of "An Oasis
in the Ocean" . Few places on earth quite
the Maldives' coral reefs in terms of beauty and variety. As one flies
over the reefs, the aerial view presents
huge abstract painting of bold green strokes against an infinite blue canvas.
But seen from beneath the surface,
is a living kaleidoscope of everchanging colours, patterns, shapes and
textures that never fails to fascinate.
the coral reefs of the Maldives have been rated some of the most impressive,
with an endless
of marine life beyond our total imagination. The word "atoll", which describes
around a coral island, is Maldives' contribution to the English language.
varied as the corals that grow on the reef are the thousands of marine
creatures that live in and among them.
the corals, these highly diversified inhabitants have evolved to live in
the oasis of this ocean, finding in it food and shelter. For the wide spectrum
of animals, life on the reef is a precarious affair. The rule of the game
is survival and nothing goes to waste. No feeding opportunity is ever over-looked.
From the minute zooplankton to the largest of fish,
species is part of an intricate food chain that makes up the reef eco-system.
The Call of
the years, the dhoni has evolved to tackle treacherous coral reefs and
the narrow channels
the atolls with ease. Despite the onset of modernization, there have been
few changes to her form,
testament to the skill of the ancient shipwrights. Faithfully serving the
sea-bound fishermen and travellers
the generations, the dhoni has established herself as an inextricable part
of Maldivian culture.
their forefathers, the Maldivians still look to the sea for many of their
needs, the most important being food.
remians the main occupation of the Maldives, and fish the main source of
fishing practice makes use of a pole-and-line fishing method on a "masdhoni."
of fish are located in the open sea with the help of sea-birds. Using tiny
bait-fish, the bigger fish are
to the hooks after being driven into a feeding frenzy by the beating of
for a livelihood is very much a team event and, on a good day, adept fishermen
fill a dhoni in less than two hours.
City of Contrast
few minutes by boat from Hulule International Airport brings one to the
capital city of
Male (pronounced "Maa-Lay"). Approaching Male, the most eye-catching feature
is the golden dome of the Islamic Centre,
reflection of the prominence of Islam in the lives of the Maldivians. The
city of Male is the centre of all trade,
administrative and governmental affairs in the Maldives. It is also a meeting
and people from all over the atolls and from the growing nuumber of tourist
any physical measure, Male is small, especially for a capital city, but
with an area of approximately
square km and 60,000 people, the population density is amongst the highest
in the world.
to this the thousands of islanders and tourists who come here daily, and
the situation can get pretty tight.
walk from one end of the island to the other takes about 20 minutes, which
gives wonder to the hundreds of motor cars, pick-ups, lorries and motor-bikes
that blast their way through the narrow streets at about 25km per hour.