Best of the Maldives: Fly Fishing – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - fly fishing

Fly-fishing may well be considered the most beautiful of all rural sports.” – Frank Forester

If there is anyone who appreciates a little quiet corner of a solitude, it is the fly fisherman. And Memorial Day this week is the start of many fly fishing seasons in the USA (where the sport is biggest). We can all dangle a line off a dhoni, or run a line from a cruise for a some deep sea fishing. But of all the piscary persuasions, fly fishing seems closest to the spirit of the Maldives – mill pond calm water teeming with fish in the tranquil shallows.

The resort for castaway casting is Hideaway Beach

“We have a plenty of ­fishing points around where you can explore for your own experience both local and international style with the guidance of our local ­fishing guide, who have been trained locally and internationally. Island Hideaway provides a wide range of ­fishing opportunities for fly ­fishing anglers in this nation famous ­fishing zone.”

Fish you can catch include Bone Fish, Blue Fin Trevally, Giant Trevally, Big Eye Trevally, Rainbow Runner, and Groupers.

The prices are $500 for a half day (5 hours) on a ski boat with a local guide (1 or 2 anglers) or $900 for a full day (9 hours). The excursion includes refreshments of fruit and drinks. You can also have a try for bonito fish on the way to the sand bank.

The resort has a designated fly fishing area on the resort (see map directly below), but also offers fly fishing excursions on other nearby islands (see map at bottom).

Fly-fishing is the most fun you can have standing up.” – Arnold Gingrich

Hideaway Beach - fly fishing resort map

Hideaway Beach - fly fishing area map

Best of the Maldives: Villa Private Amenities – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Celebrity Retreat spa

Some Maldives guests take the “get away from it all” vibe to the extreme as they sequester themselves in their little slice of paradise and hardly emerge from their villa their entire holiday. Especially, the many celebrities who escape to the islands, privacy is a big part of the allure. This seclusion is fine for the basics of R&R, but you do miss out on some of the luxury amenities of the resort.

Unless you check into Sun Siyam Irufushi’s Celebrity Retreat. It is more like a mini-resort enclave than a mere villa. Want a refreshing dip? The expansive compound includes *two* pools. Want a different type of pool chilling? The villa has its own games room complete with personal pool table. Want a walk among the tropical flora? The villa has its own cultivated garden? Want a rejuvenating massage? The villa has its own spa in its own building complete with treatment tables and other amenities.

A resort within a resort.

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Celebrity Retreat pool

Sun Siyam Irufushi - Celebrity Retreat pool table

Best of the Maldives: Private Island – Cheval Blanc Randheli

Cheval Blanc Randheli private island

One of the most enduring mystiques of the Maldives is the deserted island experience. A plot of sand and palm tree (with maybe a message in a bottle floating by). A number of resorts offer excursions where you can go maroon yourself for a few hours. Maafushivaru lets you rent a villa overnight on their neighboring Lonubu island. Or you could rent out all of the Coco Priva Kuda Hithi resort. But if you want something more permanent than Lonubu, but less expansive as Prive, then Cheval Blanc Randheli has the luxury Robinson Crusoe abode for you – the Owner’s Villa

“The Owner’s Villa sprawls across its close to 1 hectare dedicated island, and is accessible from a private berth and jetty. This four-bedroom villa is the epitome of exclusive privacy with unique facilities including its own spa, oversized 25-metre long outdoor pool, pristine beaches and exotic garden”

Best of the Maldives: Private Wine Cellars – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah private wine cellar

You know how there are 500 TV channels and nothing you want to watch? Well, sometimes no matter how big a restaurant’s wine collection is, you are deflated when your favourite fermentation is not available it. And just as the latest digital television now allows you to set up your own personal playlists and download or record your favourites, One and Only Reeth Rah lets you build your own wine collection on the resort by providing a personal wine cellar. Reethi Rah has a large number of high flying repeater guests. And when they arrive, they will know just what vintages await their holiday. They can choose among their favourites. Or let them mature a bit longer until their next stay.

Best of the Maldives: Underground Wine Collection – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - undergrond wine cellar 1

There bigger…and there’s more. And when it comes to bottles of wine underground, no one has more than resort Huvafenfushi. Their cellar holds 6000 bottles which is not just the largest not in the Maldives, but in the entire Indian Ocean as well.

6000 bottles of wine on the wall, 6000 bottles of wine. You take one down, pass it around, sign for a big charge on your room bill, 5999 bottles of wine on the wall…

Huvafenfushi - underground win cellar 2
Grand entrance to the Huva cellar

Best of the Maldives: Biggest Underground Wine Cellar – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - underground wine cellar

Today’s is wine’s big day. Nevermind “Wine O’Clock’…all day is National Wine Day today. And the *big* place to drink it in the Maldives is JA Manafaru. They have the largest underground wine cellar in the country. Three entire rooms. And it is filled from top to bottom with 3,000 bottles of the world’s finest fermentation. The space is not just used for storage, but also elegantly fitted out for wine tastings and pairing meals.

Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo ! – Latin American toast meaning “Health and love and time to enjoy it.” At Manafaru, you get the space to enjoy it as well.

JA Manafaru - underground wine cellar 2

QI Part 8 – Turtle Day Edition

Hatchling scampers to a new live at sea during our 2015 Velaa visit.

Q: What is the best way increase the odds of sea turtle hatchlings surviving?
A: Put them in nurseries to help them grow stronger?
Q: Buzzzzzz! Nope. The fairly common practice of collecting hatchlings and protecting them by nurturing them in special nursery pools turns out to cause long term problems for the turtles.

World Turtle Day today is the opportunity “to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive”. Most people know about the dangers of plastic refuse to turtles (they get caught in six-pack rings and mistake plastic bags for jelly fish which they try to eat). But even those keen to help the critters are less aware of the issues with well-intended turtle nurseries.

The nursery misconception stems from the “numbers game”. As Marine Biologists Tess Moriarty and Dee Bello (who kindly provided most of the research for this piece) from Velaa resort (THE Turtle resort – “Velaa” means “Turtle” in Dhivehi) describes, “For turtles it is always a numbers game, they have many threats to their survival and it is commonly known that many do not make it to adulthood.” The concept of nurseries is to allow the hatchlings to grow to a more significant size where much fewer predators would be able to manage eating them.

Unfortunately, turtle nurseries have a number of problems for the turtles they are trying to help…

  • Predator Dangers – Turtles may evade predators when small, but then don’t learn to and how to avoid them later in life which keeps them vulnerable.
  • Diet – Nursery turtles don’t get to eat the staples of the normal ocean diet like jellyfish or sargassum.
  • Orientation – One of the miracles of turtle procreation is how they instinctively head to the water’s edge on birth, but then also they come back to where they were born to nest s adults. Studies show that taking hatchlings on birth into nurseries disorients them and they don’t return to nest.

So what CAN be done to help these endangered little tykes? Dee offers up the following…

  • Hatcheries: This technique is when the nests are relocated from where the female lays the eggs on the beach to a different location. This is used on beaches that have severe erosion or flooding problems and thus the nests would not survive, nests that are too close to the shore line and would get inundated and mostly on beaches where human poaching of eggs for food is abundant. This method actively saves many eggs and ensured they can develop and hatch, thus increasing the number of hatchlings making it to the sea.
  • Fencing the nests: Shielding both the hatchery and on the beach deters humans from poaching eggs from the nests as they are under surveillance. It also ensures that there must be someone present to release the hatchlings into the sea when they emerge from the nest and thus predation from crabs and birds is greatly reduced.
  • Protection laws: Creating laws that prohibit the killing or possessing turtle products it directly influences their populations. The protection of adult females laying eggs, poaching of the eggs on the beaches and the capturing of turtles in the sea, increases the amount of turtles and nests on the beaches.

Of course, all these measures are focused on the young turtles. But even when they get all grown up, they still could use our help in surviving (especially since human actions cause many of the adult hazards)…

  • Turtle Exclusion Devices (TED). Turtles need to breath air in order to survive and unfortunately when they get trapped in nets they are unable to do so. This can be avoided using TED’s where turtles can escape the nets intended for fishing other fish.
  • Research: Understanding where turtles migrate to (using advanced tools like satellite tracking), at what times and their feeding and breading patterns can help aim protection to make it more successful and increase awareness.
  • Awareness: By spreading the word about the turtle population’s vulnerability, more people understand their situation and need to protect them. This awareness leads to leads to less poaching and donations that support more conservation projects.

Best of the Maldives: Night Beach Football – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - night beach football

The moon isn’t the only enchanting orb to lighten up the night time at Huvafenfushi. The resort holds regular night beach football games including regular tournaments (we were there to watch the Ramadan World Cup semi finals – see below). Their sandy pitch includes full stadium lighting and boundary markings.

Huvafenfushi - mini World Cup

Best of the Maldives: Moonlight Massage – Velaa

Velaa - moonlight massage

Tonight is the “Flower Moon”. Also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon. It marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

The perfect time for one of Velaa’s “Moonlight Massages”. It is only offered once a month on nights with a full moon. And tonight’s would seem particular apt to stimulate your own personal blossoming.

With this post, I’ve added the new tag of “Moon” for all those lunar luxuries.


Best of the Maldives: Geocaching – Thulhagiri / Paradise Island

Paradise Island - Thulhagiri geocache

If you fancy a bit of personal archaeology into the Digital Age, then you can undertake your own digging about for a Maldives geocache.

Thulhgiri (that resort’s first Best of the Maldives award) and Paradise Island are the two resorts which feature geochaches in the Maldives (there are 8 in total across the country). As the Paradise Island description says…

If you are bored wink by snorkeling, diving, swimming, looking for fish, shells, sharks, manta’s, crabs or just of relaxing and enjoying the beach and the sun, this box can be a little alteration.”

Another “Finally Seen” (Not Yet Seen Part 8 – item #25). As I’ve mentioned so many times, the Maldives exudes a tropical paradise pirate treasure mystique. And so “treasure hunts” are particularly appropriate entertainment during a visit (so much so that with this post, I’m adding a category tag “Treasure”). We used to stage them for our kids, but with geocaching, all ages can join in the fun.

Maldives - geocaches