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Oman to the Maldives

Amid the beauty and turmoil of the subcontinent, Simon witnesses a thriving smuggling trade between Oman and Iran, and investigates the impact of In India's booming population.

This stage of Simon Reeve's journey around the spectacular Indian Ocean takes him from Oman to the Maldives. He starts in the remote and otherworldly Musandam peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most strategically important waterways in the world, where oil from the Persian Gulf is shipped through the narrow channel out into the Indian Ocean.

The journey takes him on to Mumbai, the Indian Ocean's biggest port, and the seething festival of Ganesh, and then on to the Maldives - perhaps the most beautiful collection of tropical coral islands in the world. The fragile underwater environment is a barometer for the changing nature of the ocean, and Simon witnesses the impact of coral bleaching, which has damaged the beautiful coral reefs. But nothing can prepare him for the sight of the Maldives' rubbish island - a stinking landfill where the rubbish from the thriving tourist industry ends up.

50 minutes

Oman to the Maldives

The fourth leg of the journey begins in the most strategically important region of the entire Indian Ocean. Forty per cent of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the narrow strait between Iran and the Musandam peninsular, a rugged region of Oman. In this remote and other worldly region of vast cliffs and deep inlets Simon witnesses a thriving smuggling trade between Oman and Iran and visits the isolated village of Kumzar which boasts its own unique language and a lifestyle that has changed little in centuries. For centuries Omani traders sailed the monsoon winds across the Indian Ocean and Simon’s next port of call is one of their traditional destinations and one of the biggest cities on earth. The packed mega-city of Mumbai is never more chaotic than during the annual festival of Ganesh, and Simon joins the celebration as thousands of statues are paraded to the Indian Ocean. During his visit Simon investigates the impact of India’s booming population on the ocean and meets fishermen reporting an alarming drop in fish stocks. But nowhere are the threats to the ocean more apparent than in the Maldives archipelago. Simon is overwhelmed by the beauty of the Maldives, one of the most beautiful locations he has ever visited, but discovers that the breathtaking coral atolls face a series of alarming threats. As well as snorkelling and free-diving with dozens of manta rays, Simon witnesses the disturbing phenomenon of coral bleaching, which is leading to a frightening decline in the world’s coral reefs. Simon realises even the paradise Maldives are not immune from the challenges facing the rest of the planet, but nothing prepares him for an astonishing trip to the Maldives rubbish island, a stinking toxic landfill dump for the islands’ waste.