The Land

Where is the Maldives? That's almost always the first question people ask when you tell them about going on holiday here. Confused with Mauritius, Martinique, Montserrat or Madagascar (there are indeed a strangely large number of tropical beach destinations beginning with M), or simply an unknown quantity, the Maldives is effectively a tiny country, whose land totals far less in area than the tiny European principality of Andorra, despite an overall area of 90,000 sq km, 99.9% of which is the Indian Ocean.

This 300 sq km of land is split up into an almost incalculable number of islands, spread out Tike a string of pearls' (copyright all guidebooks) due south of India and west of Sri Lanka, deep in the Indian Ocean. The number of islands is incalculable simply because the islands, or what we

The tsunami, while still a national disaster, was actually far less damaging to the Maldives than it could have been. Scientists suggest the islands were saved by the deep channels running between the atolls, which absorbed much of the power of the waves.

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