Rising sea levels and diverse marine ecosystems are just some of the reasons why scuba diving holidays in the Maldives are becoming increasingly popular, but if Mother Nature Network online magazine recently hailed the Indian Ocean nation as top diving destination because of its many options for not only the average diver but for the real pros too.
The Maldives is made up of 1,190 coral islands situated in the Indian Ocean with 400,000 inhabitants occupying approximately 200 of them. The average ground level is just 4 feet 11 inches above sea level and the island nation is the lowest-lying nation in the world. Because of this nature has blessed the region with breathtaking scenery and thriving marine life, but the area has also been the victim of her wrath with devastating results including the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
Rising sea levels are said to be caused by global warming and if the predictions come true and levels rise by just another three feet, the beautiful archipelago could be underwater by 2100. If and when this time comes, President Mohamed Nasheed has set up a sovereign wealth fund which could see the entire nations residents moved to higher ground such as Australia, India and Sri Lanka.
In the meantime, the biodiversity has led to a surge in travellers booking scuba diving holidays, with diving enthusiasts keen to explore the local diving sites before the islands become inaccessible by land.
Shallow lagoons provide excellent conditions for first time diving in the Maldives, where deeper, clear, warm waters offer spectacular sites for PADI certified divers.
Divers can explore the sites alongside an abundance of marine life made up of hard and soft coral gardens, barrier reefs, sea grasses, turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, stingrays, moray eels, eagle rays, reef sharks and over 2,000 species of brightly coloured fish.
On land, the islands feature pristine white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, mangroves and many luxurious oceanfront hotels, resorts and water villas.