The Republic of Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of 26 atolls stretching in a north-south direction, about 435-miles south-west of Sri Lanka. There are some 1,192 islets, around 200 inhabited, spread over 90,000 sq. km. of ocean, with a highest elevation of only 2.3 metres (7ft 7in). The nation’s population is approximately 305,000, around one-third of whom live in the capital, Malé. The official language is Dhivehi and the inhabitants are all of the Sunni Muslim faith.
Situated on the western atoll chain is Baa Atoll, geographically three natural atolls, comprising of around 75 islands, of which some 13 are inhabited, with a population of 11,000 (2008). Fishing is the main occupation, although most of the lacquer ware souvenirs sold everywhere in the Maldives is the work of the people from Thulhaadhoo, in the south of Baa Atoll. The reefs of this atoll are in pristine condition, the fish life is dazzling and whether you are a diver of snorkeler, the unspoilt beauty of the underwater life is readily apparent.