Believe it or not, the word “cruising” has a definition in the dictionary. An online dictionary says it is a “leisurely travel by boat, yacht, or cruise ship”. To use this term in the beautiful islands of the Maldives then, “cruising in the Maldives” becomes a “leisurely travel by boat, yacht, or cruise ship in the most idyllic island paradise in the world”.
A Maldivian cruise is simply amazing. This is how it typically happens: you recline on a luxurious yacht or humble dhoni boat, whichever is your preference, along a chain of coral reefs in the warm blue-green waters of the Indian Ocean with a soft breeze blowing to your sunbathed face. You stop in a deserted island and explore the mysterious destination ala Robinson Crusoe or waste some more time beach bumming along on the island’s white-sand beach. You jump back to your boat and check out a few more islands along your route. You approach the next island and you notice below that you don’t really need to plunge to see the beautiful underwater because the waters are so clear and calm it seems as though you were in a giant aquarium. You decide to snorkel anyway and without going very far you see candy-color corals and tiny glowing reef fishes. You relax, swim, and snorkel some more, then relax again under the tropical sun while sipping a cold glass of fruit shake. You continue to move on and along the way you see water-sport resorts, local villages, coral atolls, and many other blinding-white beaches.
The Maldives is in the Indian Ocean near India and Sir Lanka. It is a ribbon of coral islands that looks like a garland when seen from an airplane. It is a South Asian country whose economy and popularity depend largely on its tourism.
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The only other bankable commerce involves fish trade, especially tuna. The Maldives is known by ecologists and environmentalists as the sinking country. Led by no less than the Maldivian president, concerned groups have been fighting to slow down if not completely stop global warming. They fear that if more polar ice melted into the ocean, the overflow of ocean water could completely engulf their country. Today, 80% of the archipelago is less than 5 feet above sea level, while the highest elevation is only 8 feet.
The capital city and only commercial hub is the city of Male. All tour packages begin here since there is only one international airport in the archipelago. While the islands are known for many other tourist attractions such as cultural establishments, religious centers and white-sand beaches, most tour packages still revolve around the world-famous dive sites. Cruising in the Maldives on liveaboards is the best way to enjoy the most beautiful dive sites. Although teeming with amazing resort and island dive sites, movements here are limited. Descending into the middle of the Indian Ocean from a liveaboard gives a diver a feeling of freedom and oneness with the ocean. So, next time you dream about that leisurely traveling on a boat, think about cruising in the Maldives.