• The Maldives’ secret paradise

    In search of the hidden side of the Maldives, Tom Chesshyre headed for Banishment Island, one of the remotest parts of the archipelago

    When the ship carrying the French sailor François Pyrard hit a reef in the Maldives in the middle of the night in 1602, the crew believed their game was up.

    “We started with the shock, she suddenly struck a third time, and heeled over,” he writes in his account of the terrifying moment. “I leave you to imagine the condition of all on board – what a pitiful spectacle we presented – the cries and lamentations of men who find themselves wrecked at night on a rock in mid-ocean and await a certain death. Some wept and cried with all their might; others took to prayers [or] confessed to each other…”


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