THREE things that we did not know about the Maldives:
- The Maldivian beaches are very rare: So white and pure, Maldivian beaches are famous for their staggering beauty. In fact, one of the main reasons holidaymakers choose the Maldives is for the quality of these island beaches – selfies from paradise generally induce a lot of holiday envy. There is a reason that they are so special – they are made from coral. Unlike most beaches which are made of quartz, a coral beach is made from dried and sun-bleached algae. Coralline beaches are rare and constitute only about 5% of the world’s beaches. You really won’t find stretches of sand like this in many other places on the planet.
- It is the lowest nation in the world: On average, its 1,200 islands are around seven feet above sea level. Even at its highest natural point, the Maldives is still only eight feet above sea level, which is still lower than every other nation in the world. Natural coral reefs act as a barrier, protecting the archipelago from monsoon season swells.
- You can swim with the biggest fish in the sea: The Maldives is a hub for all sorts of diverse marine life, but the most remarkable has to be the whale shark, the biggest fish in the ocean which can grow up to 20ft long. Despite their size, they pose no danger to humans and live off a healthy diet of plankton. South Ari Atoll is the best place for year-long whale shark sightings in the Maldives, especially around the southern part of Sun Island’s reef. The Rangali Island on the Alif Dhaal Atoll and the uninhabited Hanifaru Bay on the Baa Atoll are also excellent whale shark spotting spots. We were lucky enough to snorkel with them on two ocassions.