Most Clearest Waters

Maldives clearest waters

The Weather Channel has come up with a list of the “The 50 clearest waters in the world”. Maldives comes in at a sparkling #5. But of the selections that pipped it, the Maldives is the largest area…

  1. Cook Islands
  2. Cocos Island
  3. Curacao
  4. Five Flow Lake (China)

Cook Islands is 91 square miles while Maldives is 115 square miles. So, you could say that the Maldives has the most ‘most clear’ water in the world.

I always thought that it was down to (a) reefs sheltering the inner atoll reducing sediment being stirred up from big currents and waves, and (b) coral reefs serving as a natural marine water filtration system.  But I came across this post, “Why Crystal Clear Water in the Maldives“, which gave 3 different reasons – (a) geographic location in the ocean (dark water dragged out from deep), (b) plankton giving the water a different hue, and (c) warm water providing higher density.

So I conferred with one of my favourite Maldives marine biologists, Verena Wiesbauer for her thoughts on this claim.  While I thought that the corals contributed to the clarity (as water filters), it turns out it’s more like the other way around (the clarity contributes to the corals)…

Corals don’t like too many nutrients in the sea; they need only the sunlight to survive.  Whenever there’s a high occurrence of plankton, the water becomes milky. But that happens too when sediment gets stirred up by ocean currents.

I’ve added a new tag to the blog for “Best in the World” for posts (like this one) about the Maldives destination global superlatives.

Best of the Maldives: Elevated Decor – Velaa

Velaa - elevated decor

No, not “Elevator Décor” (though coincidentally, Velaa does feature the only elevator in the Maldives resorts). After 60+ Maldives resorts, I haven’t seen it all (not by a long stretch), but I’ve seen a lot. And so my obsession is ferreting out the different and unique touches that these properties put on their various patches of paradise.

Overall, Velaa sports one of the most distinctive design and décor in the Maldives. I’ve actually got several “Best of the Maldives” pieces lined up about various aspects of their flairs and flourishes. But as a contrast to yesterday’s downward looking post, I thought I would do something a bit more uplifting, quite literally.

This height-motif is not your grandmother’s commemorative plate collection on a shelf. It starts with their bright array of chandelier lighting fixtures (definitely a post on these latter though on was shown in my post on their use of bamboo). But what really caught my eye were the various floral pieces on top of armoires and other elevated surfaces (see photos).

Luxury is all about going beyond the expected. Even the most prestigious hotels can have a sort of Spartan, hollow feel to them. So many places just focus on ticking the boxes of the essentials. They might do it with fine quality, but they often don’t go beyond getting that blank space covered or engineering some minimalist vibe so that the nothingness is justified as some sort of trendy hipness. Velaa has packed its spaces with visual delights. It not only imparts a more elegant feel to the place, but it also makes it seem more warm and inviting.

Good things are looking up at Velaa.

Velaa - elevated decore 2

Best of the Maldives: Sand Floor Art – Angsana Velavaru

Angsana Velavaru - sand floor art 1

Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.” – Jorge Luis Borges

One of the most distinctive aspects to the “no shoes, no news” experience of the Maldives is the pervasive warm, soft white sand. My favourite resorts are the ones who use sand floors in all the public spaces – restaurants, lounges. It’s like you never ever leave the beach during your holiday day or night.

Sound isn’t the only creative medium for the floor in the Maldives. Angsana Velavaru takes the distinctive sand floor to the next level with its own artistry. Sort of like a 2D sand sculpture (or ‘painting’). It reminds me of Jain rice drawing. Sort of a performance art in its impermanence.

(thanks again Paola)

Angsana Velavaru - sand floor art 2