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Baa Atoll is located in the Maldives' western part. It consists of 75 islands (57 uninhabited, 13 inhabited / population around 12,000), plus 8 island resorts. Baa Atoll is devided in 2 roughly circular sub-atolls, separated by the narrow Moresby Channel.
- The atoll has length of approx 46 km (29 ml), width approx 38 km (24 ml), covers a total area of 1127 km2 (435 ml2) and has total population around 9,000. Baa Atoll's marine area is sized approx 1397 km2 (539 ml2).
- It is formed by over 105 coral reefs, with a total surface 263 km2 (102 ml2). On 61 islands, the reefs are provided with vegetation and some sandy cays.
- The biggest is the Dharavandhoo Island (0,46 km2 / 0,18 ml2, where the atoll's airport is located), followed by Kunfunadhoo Island (0,35 km2 / 0,14 ml2).
- The atoll's highest elevation point is on Funadhoo Island - 3,19 m (10,5 ft) above sea level.
- Kendhoo island has a small harbour serving mainly cargo ferries and small boats.
- Thulhaadhoo Island is known for its hand-made lacquer workcrafts.
- Maalhosmadulu Atoll is considered as one of the Maldives' richest biodiversity zones, featuring large mangroves and unique fauna (including benthic / found in the seabed). Its ring-shaped reef structure is unique to the Maldives.
- Olhugiri Island (part of North Maalhosmadulu Atoll group) is the southernmost and uninhabited. It is located approx 13 km (8 ml) north of Goifulhafehendhu Atoll. Olhugiri Island has unique vegetation and provides 2 of the Maldives perching sites for great frigatebirds (large seabird species). Its founa also features various marine specias, including hawksbill seaturtles. Maldives Government has banned catching seaturtles or taking their eggs from Olhugiri Island. The ban additionally includes 11 more islands.
- In 2011, Baa Atoll was designated an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, placing it in a list of the world's most popular touris travel destinations, such as Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Komodo island (Indonesia), Uluru (aka Ayer’s Rock, NT Australia).
Of all its islands, 38 are sized less than 0,1 km2 (0,04 ml2). These smaller islands constitute around 1/5 of the atoll's total land.
Next photo shows a typical uninhabited island in Maldives.
Baa Atoll consists of 3 separate atoll groups:
- South Maalhosmadulu Atoll is the largest, with length of 42 km (26 ml) and width of 32 km (20 ml). It consists of 9 inhabited islands.
- Fasduthere Atoll is between the Maalhosmadulu Atolls. It is separated from North Maalhosmasdulu Atoll by the Moresby Channel.
- Goifulhafehendhu Atoll (aka Horsburgh Atoll) is the smallest.
Part of Baa Atoll is the Kuda Finolhu Island resort - just 30-min seaplane travel from Male Airport (Kaafu Atoll), or an alternatively 15-min flight to Baa Atoll's Dharavandhoo Airport and then a 20-min speedboat ride to Kuda Finolhu.
Baa Atoll cruise terminal
Usually, cruise ships to Baa Atoll Maldives dock (anchor) at Hanifaru Bay. Hanifaru Bay (aka Vandhumaafaru Adi). This location is one of the world's few where whale sharks gather in large numbers to mate. The bay is also famous as gathering place for manta rays (up to 100).
Next photo is of Dharavandhoo Airport - a domestic flight terminal serving the entire atoll.
The following map of the atoll shows all the islands as names and location.