Imagine you’re on holiday in the Maldives sinking your toes into the white sand that decorates the shore. You might then wonder, why is the sand white? The color of the sand is a fascinating occurrence, especially in the Maldives.
The sand in the Maldives is white because of the Parrotfish. Parrotfish eat coral from the reef, so if the coral does not digest, fish will then excrete it in the form of fine particles of white sand. This sand gets pushed to the shore producing beautiful Maldivian beaches.
Going on holiday to visit these beaches has many wonders, its pristine sand being one of them. There is more to know about this famous white sand. It is a world that brings a newfound appreciation for its beauty. We also know some of the best Maldivian beaches to visit!
Parrotfish are the leading creators of Maldivian sand. By biting their food off the coral reef, coral and other organic matter are consumed and processed by their special digestive system.
Since the Parrotfish can’t absorb all this matter that they’ve eaten, it gets broken down in their stomachs and excreted as tiny white grains. These grains are also bleached by the sun leading us to the white beaches that travellers visit from far and wide!
If you go snorkeling in the famous reefs of the Maldives, you will find the colorful Parrotfish doing their sand-making duty. Besides their brilliant array of colors, they are named after their teeth which are fused and shaped like a beak.
A few species of Parrotfish swim in the stunning blue Maldivian waters. A study has said that these lovely creatures create up to 85% of the white sand seen around the islands! These fish also help keep the reef healthy by eating off the coral.
By nibbling on coral, the Parrotfish create space for more coral to grow and stop algae from rising too much. Since Parrot fish are so important in the Maldives, they are fully protected by the law, and you may not catch, kill or keep them.
What Else Creates Sand In The Maldives?
In the Maldives, sand is also created by sea urchins that graze on the reefs along with sea sponges that create coral particles while making their home, and 10% of Maldives’ sand is made by algae called Halimeda algae. The algae have solid plates that create sand by breaking up and fracturing.
The soft white sand is the foundation of these islands. Did you know that the build-up of sand and coral is why the Maldivian islands exist? The sand and coral packed on top of old, inactive volcanoes and eventually formed into the islands you see today.
It is impossible to calculate how many beaches there are in the Maldives because waves move the sand constantly, but this can create new islands, like the recently discovered sandbank near Gan Atoll. This sandbank is considered the birth of a new island as it is just over half a mile long and 6 feet high! It’s incredible what the movement of sand can do.
Many microscopic organisms exist within the sand of the Maldives. A single grain of sand can even host thousands of important bacteria species! All the sea creatures and organisms interacting with the land and seawater help make Maldivian islands stable and prevent them from washing away.
Top 10 White Sand Beaches In The Maldives
Now that you know more about Maldives’ white sand, you can explore the pretty sandy islands, consisting of countless beaches perfect for a holiday filled with beauty and relaxation. There are many beaches to visit, but here are some top-ranking beaches to enjoy!
- Cocoa Island – This beach is located on the beautiful Makunufushi Island and is well known for its immaculate sandy shores and crisp blue water.
- Hulumale Beach – This is one of the most popular white-sand beaches in the Maldives and for a good reason! It’s simply breathtaking, and you could spend hours in awe.
- Mudhdhoo Beach – It’s beautiful during the day and bioluminescent by night. This beach is known to glow like stars at night due to the organisms that live in the water!
- Landaa Giraavaru -The beach is made of dreams! It has a long, luscious sandbank with waters that make you feel like you’re on another planet.
- Veligandu Island – This secluded beach is ideal for beginner divers to see the tropical life in its waters. It will leave you amazed.
- Baros Beach – You will surely love this island beach as it’s packed with amazing views and things to do.
- Veligandu Island Beaches – There are plenty of beaches on this island to enjoy your stay, relaxing away on soft pearly sand.
- Reethi Rah – This large beach will make you feel like you’re on a private getaway with all the space to explore!
- Fulhadhoo – This beach is one of the more budget-friendly places to visit, yet it has a luxurious beach with signature blue waters.
- Taj Exotica Beach – The Taj Exotica beach is endlessly exotic and one of the most popular beaches to be visited as it is close to the airport.
Beach Erosion In The Maldives
The white sand beaches of the Maldives are sadly in danger. The beaches face the environmental issue of beach erosion, where parts of the land are taken away by the sea. Beach erosion can happen quickly and is a severe problem throughout the Maldives, as the sea can promptly erode the coastline.
Beach erosion causes flooding, leading to people losing their homes and businesses, including the lodges where holiday-goers stay. To help stop erosion Maldivians, work to build sea walls, build elevated buildings, and create rainwater draining systems into the ocean. This protects the adored beaches of the Maldives.
Parrotfish make the Maldives go round! The white sand made by these fish and other organisms keeps the islands healthy and allows them to flourish with incredible beauty for you to see. The white sandy beaches can change daily and are at risk of erosion that causes floods, but luckily there are things to help the islands from facing these threats.
The pearly Maldivian sand and turquoise sea are enough to make any heart race at its beauty. The Maldives could be the holiday of your dreams, showing you the most breathtaking views and coral reefs filled with life. You wouldn’t want to miss experiencing this natural wonder!