Bliss on the Baa Atoll
Everything about the Maldives combines to create the ultimate sun-worshipper’s destination: palm fringed islands, sparkling white sand, warm crystal clear seas and spectacular coral reefs, deep blue skies, wall to wall sunshine and inviting shallow lagoons perfect for snorkelling.
An archipelago of 1,190 coral islands clustered into 26 coral atolls, the Maldives is heaven on earth. Scattered across the equator 500km south west of India in the Indian Ocean, 200 of the islands are inhabited and 80 have tourist accommodation. A fortunate freak of geology, the Maldives is 90 percent water and only 10 percent land formed as series of coral reefs that grew up around the sides of ancient volcanoes long submerged beneath the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, the volcanoes are now extinct and all that remains are coral islands of unparalleled natural beauty.
When it comes to choosing which piece of perfection in the Maldives you might want to taste, take a long hard look at Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, better known as Baa Atoll. It consists of three atolls: Maalhosmadulhu Atoll, Fasduthere Atoll and Goifulhafehendhu Atoll in the north. Located on the west of the Maldives atoll chain, Baa Atoll is as fine an example of the Maldives as you could hope for. Local waters teem with wildlife including turtles, dolphins and over 2000 species of marine life including reef sharks, moray eels, and a wide variety of rays including manta rays, stingrays and the rare eagle ray. Rare whale sharks congregate to mate at Hanifaru Bay.
It wasn’t until 1972 that the Maldives entertained its first visitors. Since then over 10 million tourists have been to sample the unique delights of the area and flights to Male are getting more popular every day. Sunshine assured with temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark mean that many return year on year with the express intention of doing very little other than catching up on a bit of holiday reading and a few rays. If you’re feeling in an adventurous mood you might want to amble down to the sea for a cooling dip or paddle on over to the bar for a something on the rocks. If you’re feeling particularly active then you could push the glass-bottomed boat out and take a window on the sub-aqua action. Slip on a diving mask and a pair of flippers and join the fun. While you’re in play mode what about the vast range of water sports on offer? You might need to break your vow of idleness but chances are the fun you have will overcome any guilt. Take your pick from windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, parascending and kite surfing. It you’d prefer something on dry land try a couple of sets of tennis. When you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite then come on in for a well-earned meal. You’ll enjoy a wide range of international food but make a point of trying the local dishes based on Sri Lankan and South Indian dishes.