Mud Pack Day! Yes, I’m not messing with you…it really is. So a skin-soothing shout out to Taj Exotica who have one of the most extensive mud pack treatment on offer at its Jiva Grande Spa. Something dirty to pack into your next Maldivian holiday.
Today is International Coffee Day. And for those who want to celebrate with a cup of extra high test, the quintessence of caffeinated elixir is considered by many aficionados to be the Turkish concoction where the consistency is more stew than broth.
The Turkish even have a traditional saying which underscores the sanctity of this buzzing beverage – “Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir.” It means “A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.” It is used to remind us that friendships should not be taken lightly and we should invest in them for a long term commitment.
And an afternoon refreshment at Ayada’s lounge is just the place to leisurely enjoy that friendship. Packed with Ottoman ottomans and the Turkish delights of Turkish Delight, you can also partake of a wide range of teas and shisha as well.
Probably second to the sharks for looking fearsome and scary are the ubiquitous Maldive morays. The snake-like giant morays are everywhere, but like the sharks are pretty apprehensive creatures and prefer to stay tucked safely in some rock crevice with just their ominous mouth protruding. Often the teeth filled mouth is moving looking like it is practicing biting you (but it’s really just breathing). Occasionally, you will come across the more colourful Honeycomb variety. One snorkel, Lori even came across this baby (about 8 inches long) Zebra moray (see photo above) on the Kurumba house reef.
But we learned about the more extensive diversity of the Moray (or Muraenidae) family of eels during our visit to Maafushivaru. The Marine Biologist Nev held regular night snorkelings so you can see them when they are most active. You go out as sunset when there is still light and then watch the reef get darker as you bring out your torch to spotlight the nocturnal goings on. They have spotted the following morays on the house reef…
- Giant moray
- Yellow Margin moray (mostly at night)
- Zebra moray (mostly at night)
- Undulate moray
- Honeycomb moray
- Clouded moray
- Peppered moray
- White mouth moray
The house reef also features other eels as well including snake eels and cloudy eels.
We also learned that “Honeycomb Moray”, “Leopard Moray” and “Tessellate Moray” and “Laced Moray” are all monikers for the same species, Gymnothorax favagineus.
“When you’re at the Maldives with lots of eels in the sea, that’s a moray. When you’re at Maafushivaru and the eels are in view, that’s a moray…” ♫♪
…for “X” marks the spot where in the world the Great Whites are.
Q: When was the last shark attack in the Maldives?
A: A year ago?
Q: Buzzzzz! No. The Maldives have never had a recorded shark attack on a human.
World Tourism Day today and the Maldives stand tall (much taller than its famously low elevation) among the titans of the travel industry as a bucket list destination. And for selachophiles, the bountiful populations of a range of shark species is one of the many oceanic attractions.
Still, for a few of the more aquatically apprehensive, all these dorsal fins can evokes a number of cinematic fears brought on by everything from Jaws to Deep Blue Sea and Thunderball. In fact, nearly all species of shark keep quite a distance from diving and swimming humans. When you spend some time diving and snorkelling with them, you quickly figure out how they are the scaredy-cats of the ocean turning and fleeing at the least disturbance.
In most cases, these cartoonishly portrayed “man-eaters” are the species “Great White”. And if sharks’ docile temperament isn’t enough to re-assure you then, you can at least travel to the Maldives knowing that you won’t encounter any Great Whites. Great Whites are found pretty much all over the world east-to-west, and north-to-south. But there is one place they don’t hang out in and that’s the Indian Ocean (except for a patch off the coast of east Africa).
All the resorts will offer transfer from the airport to their hotels. And some hotels offer trips to sister resorts. But Club Med provides a regular, scheduled boat shuttle between its Club Med Kani and Club Med Finolhu Villas properties (departing about every 90 minutes from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm on about a 10 minute journey).
The courtesy gives guests the best of both worlds between two quite different properties. All the expansive facilities of the Kani are available free of charge to all Finolhu guests as a courtesy. Kani guests can also get guest passes to visit Finolhu.
After coconut cups and tree houses, the next most iconic part of the deserted island fable is…the log raft. Now, not many Maldives guests would really want to escape their tropical paradise, but to live out the Swiss Family Robinson fantasy to the fullest, Soneva Fushi offers raft making as an activity in their The Den kids club…
“The children take part in a small auction to win different items that they will use to build a raft, this can range from wood, barrels, tyres, all sorts of items that would otherwise be thrown. They then have to build a raft and that will float, and then a race will take place.”
Raft-making is more than a Castaway knock-off. It was a common “team building” challenge on corporate offsites that I’ve attended for years. It combines a very measurable objective (staying afloat) with mild consequences for failure (getting wet). An activity that The Professor from Gilligan’s Island would have benefitted from in his youth. As the old joke goes, “The Professor could make a nuclear reactor out of two coconuts, but couldn’t fix a hole in a boat.”
I’ve introduced a new tag “Swiss Family Robinson” for those desert-island chic features which evoke this classic film. Admittedly, the category is dominated by Soneva.
Maldives kids clubs are packed with miniature versions of the amenities their grown-up parents enjoy during their stay. One of the focal points of luxury in the resort villas are the lavish bathrooms. And JA Manafaru is no less accommodating to its kids club patrons with a restroom designed with their pint-sized scale in mind. A great example of knowing your customer and optimising the customer experience. I bet the kids feel like great big boys and girls when they use the Manafaru loo (and I felt like the Jolly Green Giant).
On the heels of all that pirate talk, I just had to do another post on Soneva Fushi’s kids club which has its very own pirate ship inside (see photo below). My feature of the day capture’s the “The Den’s” Alice in Wonderland fantastical quality with its nested front doors (photo above) inviting you into a Lewis Carrol world of wonder and amusement.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Ahoy me Hearties! Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen for an Anantara Kihavah Villas pirate cruise in honour of Speak Like A Pirate Day today…
“The Pirate Cruise is a weekly activity offered in the kids club priced at USD 30 per kid. This includes a 45 minute cruise in a speed boat around Baa Atoll and it’s possible to see the dolphins. All the kids are face painted like pirates and are given a Pirate Hat to wear on the cruise. One of kids club team members is also dress up in pirate costume – which is the photo you saw on Instagram [see photo above]. After the trip, an edited video of the excursion will be given to the parents. During the festive season this is elaborated to become a Pirate Picnic on a private island with fun beach games, treasure hunt and snorkeling.”
Avast ye landlubbers!