Azure Waters - Coral Reefs Lagoons – Beautiful Islands
The Maldives , officially Republic of Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls stretching in a north-south direction off India’s Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and Chagos Archipelago. It stands in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka and (250 mi) south-west of India.
This chain of islands is the centrally located archipelago among the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are in reality the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The atolls
of the Maldives encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most dispersed countries in the world in geographic terms. It features 1,192 islets, of which two hundred are inhabited. The Republic of Maldives’s capital and largest city is Malé, with a population of 103,693 (2006). It is located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, in the Kaafu Atoll. It is also one of the Administrative divisions of the Maldives. Traditionally it was the King’s Island, from where the ancient Maldive Royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located.
The Maldives are the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in).
Maldives waters are home to wide variety of ecosystems, but it is most noted for their variety of colorful coral reefs, home to 300 species of fish. Seven species have been described as new to science, several more await description. Over 400 have been identified and catalogued and many are now held in the reference collection, including 5 species of turtles, 51 species of echinoderms, 5 species of sea grasses and 285 species of alga & sponges, crustaceans, and tunicates.
The total number of coral species recorded from the Maldives to date is about 200, representing over 60 genera, 5 species of turtles, 51 species of echinoderms, 5 species of sea grasses and 285 species of alga & sponges, crustaceans, and tunicates. In the Uthuru Province, Baa Atoll, Maldives you can find Moray Eels, Puffer Fish, Fusiliers, Jackfish and Lionfish. In the Kaafu Atoll, Maldives you can find Sweetlips, Sharks, Groupers, Eels and Snappers. In the North Ari Atoll, Medhu-Uthuru Province, Maldives you can find Groupers, Rays, Moray Eels, Banner Fish, Bat Fish, Hump head Wrasse and Stingrays. In the Medhu-Uthuru Province, Ari Atoll you can find Eagle Rays, Spotted Rays, Scorpion Fish, Puffer Fish, Reef Fish, Lobsters and Groupers. In the West of the Hinnavaru Island you can find Moray Eels, Nudibranches, Groupers, Turtles, Rays, Angelfish, Butterfly Fish and Scorpion Fish. In the South of Filitheyo, North Nilandhe Atoll you can find Squirrel Fish, Soldier Fish, Banner Fish, Glass Fish, Fusiliers and Unicorn Fish. In the Outer West of the North Male Atoll you can find Napoleon Wrasses, Tuna, Barracudas, Surgeonfish, Snappers, Gray Reef Sharks, White and Silver Tip Reef Sharks and Eagle Rays.
Maldives Quick Fact:
|Official Name:||Republic of Maldives|
|Location:||Indian Ocean, Southwest of Sri Lanka|
|Area:||90,000 km (of which only 10% is land)|
|Religion:||Islam (100% Sunni Muslim)|
|Time difference:||+5hrs GMT|
|Currency:||Rufiyaa (Notes) and Laari (Coins)|
|Average Temperatures:||30.7 º Celsius (Max) & 25.7 º Celsius (Min)|
|Average Rainfall:||1868.9 mm|
|Major tourist attraction places:||national museum, grand Friday mosque, Sultan park, mulee aage palace, Islamic center, fish market and beaches & coral reefs in Maldives|
|Number of islands:||1190 (approx.)|
|Major Industries:||Tourism, Fishing and Shipping|
|Major exports:||dried and salted fish, coconuts, shells, tortoise shells, coir rope, and ambergris|
|Major imports:||rice, flour, sugar and other consumer products|
|Electricity:||240 Volts, 50 Hz|
|Banking hours:||Sunday to Thursday 8.00 am to 1.30 pm|