Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Maldives - Heaven on Earth

When we ask our friends here about the place we should not miss, the answer is always, "The Maldives,"  a nation consisting of 1000 islands in the Indian Ocean. (200 islands are inhabited, 105 are resorts)

We have shied away from this trip because we don't usually go for "just" a beach vacation (no cultural stuff to see) and because it is quite expensive...but friends persisted and we finally said Yes. Now we know why everyone raves about it...

We left Singapore on a Sunday night, flew 4 hours to the capital, Male, and stayed at a little local hotel for a quick sleep.  Got up at 5 AM to take a seaplane flight to our resort.

The Terminal for Trans Maldivian Airlines:

Sunrise and the Seaplanes, lined up for trips to all the resorts:

The pilots arriving (nice uniform, huh?):

And John at the big White W:

First views from the seaplane:

Barefoot pilots...

Our resort, Maafushivaru, from the air.  Our Water Villa is the 1st one on the outside, closest to the beach. The only part above water is the white sand and trees...the rest is coral reef and crystal clear water.

Landing at the dock for "our island", Maafushivaru:

Being greeted by the manager and receptionist, then boating to the actual island:

Notice the sand shoes preferred!!!!

Resort capacity is about 100; there were 70 there we we is low season.  All meals are buffet,;we chose all-inclusive price so we had drinks all day, snorkel equipment, entertainment at night.  
I will just add lots of photos now!

Views from our dining table:


A morning on the twin, uninhabited islet:
The dark color above is a school of fish... below is a close up:

Back at the resort:

Some fun with the staff on a tour of their hangouts:

Our waiter, Aksam:

Some neighboring honeymooners floating out a sunset

Our Villa:

Going out for a swim:

The water off the deck...about 5 feet deep and full of colorful fish:

We snorkeled a couple of times each day. John went on a special dive trip, but he said the snorkelling was just as good as the diving.
We did not have an underwater camera, so here are photos for  nearby islands that I found online that show just what we saw:

Our first trip out in the lagoon right off the beach we saw a turtle this size:

Lots of schools of fish making room for us:

Giant clams of several colors:

We saw 2 reef sharks like this one:

 an Eagle Ray...  

And whatever this is...we saw many of them!

After 3 1/2 lovely days, we bid farewell: