Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Travel the World - Maldives

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Nestled southwest of Sri Lanka and India, Maldives is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean and also the smallest country in Asia.

The islands extend more than 510 miles from north to south and 80 miles from east to west. The northernmost atoll is about 370 miles south-southwest of the Indian mainland, and the central area, including the capital island of Male (Male’), is about 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka.

Maldives is the world's flattest country.

The Maldive Islands are a series of coral atolls built up from the crowns of a submerged ancient volcanic mountain range. All the islands are low-lying, none rising to more than 6 feet above sea level

The 1,200 islands in Maldives are less than two feet above sea level on average, making the area more prone to rising sea levels, erosion and other environmental factors. As a result, the country is slowly sinking into the ocean. 

Maldives has some of the smallest islands in the world, only a few square feet in size.

Of the 1,200 islands as clusters and atolls in Maldives, only about 200 are inhabited, and 110 are reserved for tourism. The rest of the uninhabited islands are used for agriculture and other sources of livelihood.

Maldives likely formed from a sunken chain of volcanoes.

Maldives lies just across the equator. Since it lies on the equator, sunlight hits the country at a 90-degree angle. A very high sun protection is needed to prevent the risk of sunburn.

Unlike most “white sand” beaches that have yellowish sand, the beaches of Maldives have true white sands. The sands of Maldives beaches are made of coralline. Other beaches often have sand from quartz with a yellow tinge. Coralline sands are rare and only present in around 5% of beaches worldwide.

Maldives is the smallest Muslim country in the world.

More than half of the population of Maldives is considered rural. With the exception of those living in Male, the only relatively large settlement in the country, the inhabitants of the Maldives live in villages on small islands in scattered atolls. 

Only about 20 of the islands have more than 1,000 inhabitants, and the southern islands are more densely populated than the northern ones.

Maldives has the biggest whale shark population in the world. It is also one of only a few places in the world where whale sharks can be encountered all year round.

Its seas are home to five of the seven marine turtle species in the world. You can see loggerheads, leatherbacks, Olive Ridley turtles, green turtles and hawksbill turtles when you visit popular dive sites in the country.

The underwater marine world of Maldives displays clownfish, jellyfish, parrotfish, pink whip rays, and zebra sharks.

There are many land animals too in Maldives, too. For instance – flying boxes, cats, deers, elephants.

The coconut tree is the national tree of Maldives, and you’ll see it on their flag. These trees can last for at least a hundred years and grow up to 100 feet tall.

Traditional Maldivian houses were originally made from corals due to coral mining. These houses used coral rocks from shallow reef flats. Since most citizens used lumber and coconut leaves to build their homes, coral was reserved for mosques, tombstones and monuments because they were a symbol of opulence.A house made of coral was a sign of luxury and prestige. Even though coral reefs are now protected, you can still see old coral houses in Maldives.

Bodu Beru is a local music and dance show accompanied by a wood drum made from the coconut tree trunk. The Inhabitants of Maldives believed that the BoduBeru concept was started by the sailors from the Indian Ocean. 

The shape of the famous traditional Maldivian boat, the dhoni, might have been inspired from the ancient Arabian sailing dhow, commonly used as a trading ship in Indian Ocean around the 11th Century. 

Seasoned dhoni captains and crews still refrain from using GPS or compasses to navigate the various atolls and islands. Instead, they observe the movement of water in the lagoons to avoid dangerous reefs. Sometimes they navigate the waters by looking at the stars.

Fishing, long the traditional base of the economy, has been far surpassed by tourism as the main source of gross domestic product (GDP). While the sector still produces the bulk of the country’s exports and continues to grow (albeit at a slower pace than the tourism industry), it employs less than one-fifth of the labour force and contributes less than one-tenth of the GDP. 

Tuna is the predominant fish caught, traditionally by the pole-and-line method, although a good deal of the fishing fleet has been mechanized. Most of the fish catch is sold to foreign companies for processing and export.

Those willing to spend $50,000 for the night can stay in luxury underwater accommodations that include such luxuries as round-the-clock butler service, flights to the villa’s own private seaplane jetty, as well as the use a speedboat for the duration of its guests’ stay. Above the waterline, the top floor houses two bedrooms, a sun deck, infinity pool and a bathroom with an ocean-facing bathtub. The living room and king-sized master bedroom are 16.4 ft below the sea and feature transparent acrylic domes that look directly onto the surrounding coral reef and sea life.

Maldives' former president Mohammed Nasheed held an underwater cabinet meeting in Girifushi. On October 17, 2009, Nasheed and 13 other government officials participated in the first underwater cabinet meeting. The agenda was to address the looming threat of global warming. The officials signed a document asking all countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and prevent climate change during the meeting.

The cuisine of Maldives, like the lifestyle, is dependant on the sea. Therefore, fish is an integral part of the culture of Maldivies. Another primary ingredient used in Maldivian cuisine is coconut and its products, such as coconut oil and milk. 

Unlike the majority of the countries that consider Saturday and Sunday as the weekend, Maldives have their weekends on Friday and Saturday.

Maldivian women run the household while men fish for tuna.

Maldives has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 98%.

The legal age for marriage in Maldives is eighteen, although half of the women marry by age fifteen. Marriages are not arranged. 

In accordance with Islamic law, a man can have four wives at any time if he can support them financially, but polygamy is uncommon. 

Maldives has one of the highest divorce rates in the world; according to a 1977 census, nearly half of the women over the age of thirty had been married four times or more.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Maldives... The Maldives often attracts honeymooners as a romantic retreat perfect for honeymoons and secluded getaways. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: SU Wonderful Moments stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Basic Black CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Sizzix Domes

Embellishments: Studio Katia Sparkling Crystals

1 comment:

kiwimeskreations said...

A exquisite card Jeanette - love those waterdrop embellishments - they are perfect!
What a fascinating place the Maldives are - I think I would probably find it a tad too warm, being on the equator.