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Maldives Sunrise

Brendon Hayward


Behind the Shot

The Maldives are a chain of 26 atolls that stretch across a territory that spans approximately 115 square miles, about 430 miles from the mainland of India. The territory was first settled more than 2,500 years ago. Due to global climate change, the Maldives are considered the third-most-endangered island nation on Earth due to rising water levels. Projected to rise 23 inches by the year 2100, the nation’s 200 inhabited islands will be well underwater. The average ground level is just 4 feet, 11 inches above sea level, and the highest natural point only 17 feet above sea level.

Spread over 1,192 tiny islands and atolls, the Maldives are known for their coral reefs, clear warm waters, abundant marine life and bright white-sand beaches. Tourism is a crucial industry. With only 1% of the country land-based, the Maldives is considered one of the world’s best destinations for diving. Each of the 26 named atolls in the Maldives has its own unique dive sites and features.