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9 things you didn’t know about the Maldive Islands

 

 

 

 

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There are many amazing surf spots - we know. What are some less-known facts?

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 March, 2017 - Everybody knows the Maldives is a tropical island paradise with world-class resorts surrounded by amazing surf, bathtub warm water, and pristine, white sand beaches and idyllic palm trees for a little protection from the sun. However, there are plenty of other interesting bits of information about the Maldives that remain largely unknown.

Here are 9 of them that I’d like to share with you.

1. It’s sinking into the sea. 
The Maldives is the lowest lying nation on Earth, and due to natural soil erosion and rising sea levels caused by global warming, the country is slowly disappearing. It was the first country in the world to hold a Presidential cabinet meeting underwater to attract attention to the nation’s plight!

2. It’s a surf exploration gold mine. 
The Maldives is an archipelago consisting of 26 atolls made up of 1192 coral islands. Imagine how many surf spots are still out there waiting to be discovered.

 

 

3. It’s fit for a King. 
The capital Malé is known locally as the “King’s Island” because, according to Maldivian folklore, it is where a nobleman from Sri Lanka established his kingdom in the early 12thcentury.
 

4. It’s a bit of a mystery.
No one knows exactly how the Maldives got its name. Theories suggest it comes from translations of other Southeast Asian languages, meaning ‘Garland of Islands’, ‘Necklace Islands’ or ‘Palace Islands’.


 

5. It’s a shell collector’s dream.
From as early as 200 AD the Maldives were known as the ‘Money Isles’ by Arab traders, due to the large quantity of cowry shells found there, an early form of international currency.

6. It’s a relative newcomer to the tourist circuit.
Tourism has only existed in the Maldives since the early 1970s, with the first two resorts in the country opening to international guests in late 1972.

7. It’s a life-sized aquarium.
The waters surrounding the Maldives are home to 187 species of coral, over 1000 species of fish, 21 species of dolphins and whales, 5 different kinds of sea turtles, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 species of shrimp. There is even a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve surrounding the Baa Atoll in the northern end of the archipelago.
 

8. It’s all about the boats. 
From the luxury surf charters criss-crossing the archipelago to the speedboats transferring guests to and from the many resorts, boats are the number one form of transport in the Maldives. The most common is the traditional Maldivian sailboat, mostly used for fishing and usually handcrafted from coconut palm timber called a ‘dhoni’, which means literally, a small boat.
 


 

9. It’s only been surfed since the 70s.
Australian-borne Tony Hussein Hinde is considered the “father of surfing in the Maldives”. Hinde and his countryman Mark Scanlon, first surfed the Maldives after the fishing vessel they were sailing on was shipwrecked in the North Malé Atoll in December 1973. Hinde was so impressed by the waves in the area that he never left, eventually marrying a local Maldivian and opening the country’s first surf resort.

Author: 
Suzi Allen
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