The Maldives is a chain of 26 atolls of over 1,000 coral islands in total running in a North-South line of about 500 miles roughly 430 miles South West of Sri Lanka. It is one of the world's most geographically dispersed nations and it is this fact that hits you when you arrive. The main international airport, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, is on Hulhule island, next to the capital island, Male, but little more than a runway and terminal buildings taking up the whole island. Our transfer to the resort island was by boat (a fast dhoani) - so after leaving baggage claim we were led to a quayside and shortly boarded a fast speedboat for the 40 minute journey to Summer Island in North Male Atoll.
Once the boat left the airport quayside you quickly realised just how spread out the Maldives are, only seeing roughly 3 miles from sea level to the horizon the various islands appear as mere dots on the horizon and we wondered exactly where our island would be. But eventually the roar of the boat's engine eased off and Summer Island came into view : 500m long by 120m wide. Our walk along the jetty to the reception area was the last that had to be done wearing shoes as the island paths are all sand and easier to negotiate with bare feet.
Distance from BHX : 5,471 miles
Language : Dhivehi, English
Currency : Maldivian Rufiyaa, USD
Wet Season (May - Oct), 29°C, 220h sun/month, 200mm rain/month
Essentially a holiday in the Maldives is a relaxing beach holiday where the choices are nothing more arduous than deciding what to read next, when to snorkel or swim or when to go to dinner. However, we did take an excursion to the capital Male for a tour around the city, its port and markets. But the main draw of the islands is undoubtedly the idyllic beaches and warm Indian Ocean, made more so by the ring of coral forming an lagoon around the island, keeping out any colder currents and waves.
I will always remember the colourful fish swimming around my legs whilst wading out into the lagoon, the dramatic lightning out to sea one night of a tropical storm and the beauty and peace of the island.