Maldives QI – Part 12

Science Day in nearby India seems like an apropos time for another instalment of Maldives QI. Like all good science teachers, I’m bringing out the video player for special occasions like this. With some lessons about some unexpected swimmers in the Maldives…

  • Q: Name a creature that lives in the water but doesn’t move from place to place
  • A: Sea anemone?
  • Q: Buzzzz! (see above) How about one that lives on land, moves about a lot and doesn’t swim?
  • A: Bat?
  • Q: Buzzzz! (see below)

Seems like everyone enjoys a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Maldives.

Best of the Maldives: Piano Bar – Athuruga / Thudufushi

Athuruga - Thudufushi - piano bar

And the “Best of the Maldives” for “Piano Bar” goes to…<drum roll>… Athuruga and Thudufushi. “La La Land”, the story of a piano playing jazz musician Sebastian trying to bring Jazz to the fore had a bit of a problem at last night’s Oscars. No troubles, though, with Diamonds’ own Daniele (see above) bringing jazz and pop standards to your dinner playing at the overwater restaurants there. The live performance gave the music a more personal and intimate feel than piped in tracks, and the acoustic styles were soothing. You can enjoy his music over dinner or you are able to go to the restaurants for drinks.

See you in the Maldives.

Best of the Maldives: Lagoon Cinema – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - lagoon cinema

Rolling out the blue carpet for the Oscars tonight, Soneva Jani puts the “paradise” in Cinema Paradiso (or vice versa)…

  • “Cinema Paradiso is the first overwater silent cinema in the Maldives! Guests are provided with Bluetooth headphones, leaving the surrounding nesting wildlife at peace. We love classic and inspirational movies and have a twice weekly movie selection for both children and adults. Relax on the comfortable loungers under the stars, and snack on fresh popcorn. Private screenings and dining experiences can be arranged at extra charge.”

Sort of a halfway step to the “Jaws Challenge” of the Haven’t Seen (Part 10, Number 17), but close enough for “Sharknado” or “Deep Blue Sea” viewings.

Best of the Maldives: Themed Movie Refreshments – Mirihi

Oscar weekend so pull out the popcorn and get ready for a cavalcade of 2016’s best cinema. A bucket of popcorn (with extra bucket) is standard fare, but Mirihi doubles the fun of the double features with their cinema themes treats when you pull up a seat at their film nights…

  • “To enhance the experience, the charming hotel will be twinning the screening with drinks and nibbles to match the movie. For every film shown the team will strive to accompany it with inspired drinks and canapés: pastries for The Grand Budapest Hotel; martinis for James Bond; chocolates for Chocolat; milkshakes for Pulp Fiction. The memorable evening is an affair designed to suit varied tastes, with films ranging from The Godfather to Notting Hill. The setting is mesmerizingly charming, with comfy bean bags and cushions scattered in the sand. As the water laps against the shore and the Milky Way shines overhead guests can curl up in front of a classic with their toes in the sand. Munching on popcorn, guests will relax into serene island life whilst watching one of their favourite films on the big screen.”

VIEWER ADVISORY: Films to be wary of…

  • Monte Python’s The Meaning of Life – wafer thin mint
  • Silence of the Lambs – liver with a nice Chianti
  • Sweeney Todd – meat pies
  • American Pie – apple pie
  • The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover – table d’hôte
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – any “local specialty”

For further inspiration, check out Time Out’s “50 best food-on-film moments of all time”.

Best of the Maldives: Equatorial Cruise – Outrigger Konotta

Outrigger Konotta - equatorial cruise

For a deeper ocean experience, you can visit one of the most famous lines in the world – the Equator. Visitors to Gan get a certificate for flying over it, but visitors to Outrigger Konotta can take an excursion to swim right in it (and get a certificate)…

  • “Equator Cruise is a specialty cruise unique to Outrigger Konotta Maldives and lies its roots deep within the folklore history of Maldivian culture and traditions. It is a long cruise that begins with a wonderful on-cruise breakfast while the guests are on the way to the equator line. The hosts will be giving a brief history and briefing about the equator and historical stories related to Maldives. Upon arrival to the location, guests are required to change costumes to Local sarong, with Traditional fisherman Hat or Handmade Coconut palm leaves hat and Necklaces of tree root with corals or shells. The captain or main host will then make the announcement and will have a stick referred to as “King Neptune Pole stick.” The yacht will then put a balloon on the equator line. All guest will be instructed to go to the back of the yacht and say King of sea, Neptune..please let me cross your world and then jump. The guests will then need to swim 5 meters to cross the line. Lunch will be served on the way back to the resort where our GM and senior management will be waiting at the jetty to receive the guests and present them with certificates of participation. A group photo will be taken and framed to give to the participating guests upon departure.”

That really crosses the line!

 

Outrigger Konotta - equatorial cruise 2

Outrigger Konotta - equatorial cruise 3

Best Beginner Diving in the World

Maldives beginner diving

One of my crusades for Maldives Complete is promoting the destination as the “best snorkelling in the world.” But, of course, snorkelling is a bit of a gateway drug to the bigger, bolder, more expensive and extensive pastime of SCUBA Diving itself. So it’s no surprise that none other than National Geographic dubbed the Maldives as the #1 “Scuba diving spot for beginners” …

  • “Known for its calm, warm waters (27-29C all year), the Maldives is a great place to learn, with visibility usually over 30 metres. Many resorts feature ‘house reefs’. Island resorts with PADI Dive schools are plentiful; one of the best is the luxury Anantara Kihavah Villas, located within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve that’s home to turtles and tropical fish. The Maldives is the only habitat where whale sharks appear year-round.”

One of the advantages of the Maldives is its pervasive shallowness. For newbies, this contained space of the shallow sites can be less intimidating in that they don’t have to depend entirely on their newly minted buoyancy skills to maintain depth control and that they are never that far from the surface so an emergency ascent is easier. You also use less air on shallower dives which can help nervous neophyte tank guzzlers.

Dhivehi Dive-site Designations

Dive site terms Maldives

Today is UN Mother Language Day. Time for a bit more Dhivehi tutorial. The country itself has an evocative etymology in native Dhivehi…

  • The name Maldives may derive from the Malayalam words ‘maala’ (garland) and ‘dweepu’ (island) or the Tamil maalai (garland / evening) and theevu (island), or මාල දිවයින Maala Divaina (“Necklace Islands ) in Sinhala. The Maldivian people are called Dhivehin. The word Theevu (archaic Dheevu, related to Tamil தீவு dheevu) means “island”, and Dhives (Dhivehin) means “islanders” (i.e., Maldivians).”

The individual beads on that jewelled strand also take description names from the local tongue. The chart above illustrates a few of the most common topological terms…

  • Thila – underwater pillar
  • Giri – underwater pillar close to surface
  • Faru – above water reef edge enclosing a lagoon
  • Fushi – island

And there are a few other common terms you see constantly in dive site names…

  • Bodu – “large”
  • Kandu – “channel”
  • Kuda – “little”
  • Beyru – “outside”
  • Rah – “island”

In fact, below is a list in order of the most popular terms by number of dive sites that include them…

  1. Thila – 328
  2. Faru – 181
  3. Kandu – 136
  4. Giri – 114
  5. Kuda – 78
  6. Fushi – 72
  7. Bodu – 61
  8. Beyru – 32

އެނމެ ބަހެހ އިނގުނ ނުފުދޭނެ (Enme baheh ingun nu-fudheyne)

Best of the Maldives: Wake-Up Call – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - wake up service

Our neighbour wakes up his wife each day by bringing her a cup of coffee in bed each day. We’ve always thought that this was a touching and romantic ritual. If that sound lime more your cuppa tea than an alarm clock blaring in your ear or even a room phone ringing off the hook, then Taj Exotica will be happy to oblige. For your wake-up call, they bring your tea or coffee (according to your request) to your villa and present it with a gentle knock on the door. As a bonus service, they will also block all calls to your room until your wake up call time.

Best of the Maldives: Biodegradable Coffee Pods – Park Hyatt Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Hadahaa - biogradable coffee pods

Park Hyatt Hadahaa introduces the eco-friendly coffee with its Ecocaffe coffee pods on its villa’s mini-bar.

  • The world’s only certified biodegradable coffee pods for Nespresso machines to Maldives resorts. Almost all resorts are using plastic or aluminium pods in their rooms.”

Not having to leave you room for a tasty brew in the morning also makes it ‘low miles’ to converse your own personal energy.

Best of the Maldives: Mini-Bar Wine – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - CUBE mini bar

National Drink Wine Day today. The perfect occasion to splash out of bit of a special tipple. And if you really want to celebrate but are worried about stumbling back to your villa, then check into Huvafenfushi which offers the most exquisite bottle of wine I’ve come across…in its mini-bar. A $695 bottle of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtescede. If you are not splurging, then you might want to be a bit careful “raiding the mini-bar”.