The beautiful island-nation of the Maldives is sinking. One only needs to look at Google map to see that the 1,200 islands and atolls that make up this country are just the visible top part of a submerged mass of land. As the world’s sea levels continue to rise due to global warming, the Maldivian Islands are more and more threatened from an eventual engulfment into the Indian Ocean. Because of its peculiar geographic location, the climate and weather in the Maldives is unpredictable and may be threatening to the Maldivian people.
Any point in the Maldives is not higher than 8 feet above sea level. It is the lowest lying country in the world, and so there is much concern when rains pour and when sea level rises. Strong winds and storms hit the islands from June until the end of August due to the southwest monsoon. These months remind the local residents of the constant threat of sinking and make them worry for their beautiful atolls. Tourists, on the other hand, take note not to book a flight during these months. Then again from November to March, there are occasional showers due to the northeast monsoon. The best time to visit the Maldives is still in the summer, the dry season, which is from December to April. This is when resorts and hotels are full, which is why bookings and reservations should be made months in advance.
The upside in having so much water is that the Maldives has the most beautiful atolls, islands, beaches, and dive sites. It has 200 aquarium-like reefs that are found in 26 atolls. This truly is a diver’s paradise.
Because the Maldivian islands are basically protected by South Asia to its north, the monsoon allows all kinds of sea life to inhabit Maldivian waters. Monsoon tides from the Indian Ocean bring in small marine animals, planktons and microscopic plant cells, which in turn lure in their predators such as shrimps, reef fishes, mantas and sharks.
The wide coral reef area of Maldives is home to about 300 species of fish, seven of which are new species. It also has five species of turtles, five species of sea grasses and 285 species of sponges, crustaceans, and tunicates. In Baa Atoll alone, a diver can expect to see Moray Eels, Puffer Fish, Jackfish and Lionfish. In the Kaafu Atoll, there are Sweetlips, Sharks, Groupers, Eels and Snappers. In the North Ari Atoll, Groupers, Rays, Moray Eels, Wrasses, Banner Fish, Bat Fish, and Stingrays await a diver, while the Ari Atoll is filled with Eagle Rays, Spotted Rays, Scorpion Fish, Puffer Fish, Reef Fish, Lobsters and Groupers. In other islands and atolls are Turtles, Butterfly Fish, Scorpion Fish, Squirrel Fish, Soldier Fish, Glass Fish, Unicorn Fish, Tunas, Barracudas, Surgeonfish, Gray Reef Sharks, and Tip Reef Sharks.
Overall, the Maldives is a tropical country with plenty of water to offer. Weather in the Maldives does not follow typical South Asian weather, but there is still plenty of time for tourists and visitors to enjoy the islands, atolls and reefs, which is why residents hope and pray that their beautiful country will not sink into the Indian Ocean, at least not soon.