Secrets of the Sands
The Maldives has been at the top of most people’s wish list of holiday destination since the countries’ first resort in the country opened in 1972. 44 years since then it is still one of the best places in the world but only now, it has more than a hundred resorts operating in the country from the north to the south. Among them are, world renowned brands such as Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Outrigger, Conrad as well as Soneva, who have taken advantage of the Maldives and its natural beauty to attract thousands and thousands of guests each year.
Every single island in the country, describable as a treasure chest of mother natures’ beauty shrouded by the vast and powerful Indian Ocean has many traits that make it so enviable for people from all over the world.
From the innumerable amounts of exotic marine life, wading in its waters to its inviting hot climates, it is one of the best places in the world for the perfect equatorial retreat from the troubles and woes of the world. Yet, one characteristic has remained as a particular favorite for both the local inhabitants and the many vacationers visiting the country. The white sandy beaches snaking along the coast, with translucent waves lapping at it.
Maldives is blessed with the unblemished white sands that are so soothing and remarkable for the eyes. Mostly found in tropical beaches, the sand has been so touching for the viewer’s eyes, that it adds to the image of the perfect paradise along with the surrounding transparent waters.
White sands also known as coral sands are not actually made up of coral particles, however coral remnants are also found in the sands. Corals are added to the mixture due to the actions of living organisms that feed on them such as the Parrotfish, which nibble on the corals for food, digest the living tissues and excrete the remaining inorganic components such as silt and sand. The main contributors for the pearly white sand banks that we see in abundance today in the Maldives, are actually remnant skeletal fragments of foraminifera, which are members of a phylum or class of amoeboid protists and calcareous algae, mollusks, and crustaceans. White sand is usually made up of limestone. The sands color varies from the available sources and local rock formations found throughout the world. To define white sands in the easiest manner would be to say that they are eroded limestone with additional remnants and shell materials. However white sand is not ideal for agricultural uses as they do not the contain ingredients such as magnetite and olivine, which are found in for sands such as the more fertile black sand, which also gives the sand its distinctive colors.
Sand is an important part of the ecosystem and throughout time the activity of sand mining has proven to be devastating for the environment. Problems such as soil erosion and damage to reefs leading to dangerous tides and waves are caused by it. It has been estimated that over a year, almost 500,000 tonnes of sand are mined from small island nations such as Mauritius.
This magnificent product of nature contributes heavily to the biggest industry in the Maldives and it may take a long time to replace even a small amount. Ways to conserve and find substitutes for them is an important task resting on the shoulders of mankind.