In the Maldives outsiders used to be banned from islands not officially endorsed as tourist resorts, but now a thousand sandy shores can be visited in this remote nation deep in the Indian Ocean the flattest on Earth.
This is island-hopping for the twenty-first century, sailing around 600 miles of the most beautiful islands and atolls on Earth, often to communities that have not seen an outsider for decades, …and gatecrashing the odd posh hotel.
On my journey this nation had proved to be by turns blissful, troubled, joyous, delicious, fraught, and always very, very watery. With the blazing sunsets, gyrating currents in deserted lagoons, kaleidoscopes of coral, cascades of fish, crescents of perfect white sand, peaceful coral stone villages, emerald jungle…the Maldives has to be one of the most beautiful, colourful and sometimes complicated places on the planet.
A whole new country had effectively opened up, hundreds of islands seldom seen by outsiders. It is not all that often something like this happens in the twenty-first century. I was looking forward to making the most of paradise, and I was intending to take a voyage around the edges of perfection.