The end of February and still no new moon this month. The rare occurrence of a month with no New Moo is ominously dubbed a “Black Moon”. It’s not all glum as the absence of moon, especially a bright full one, is great for stargazing. And the pioneer in Maldives astronomy, Soneva Fushi, has added another dimension (literally) to its state-of-the-art observatory: 3D.
- “Soneva has introduced a 3D astronomy experience, with the introduction of a brand-new Meade telescope at the Observatory at Soneva Fushi, its flagship resort in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives. Resident astronomers at Soneva Fushi will be on hand to educate guests and show them the differences in distance between stars and other celestial objects using the 3D technology. Mike Dalley, CEO of Inspiring Skies, the company responsible for installing the new telescope, explained the capability of the 3D component: ‘This new technology will help revolutionize how we offer astronomy experiences to guests, as it gives depth of field to what people see while looking through the telescope. It means that, for example, while looking at an open cluster, some stars will appear closer while others further away’.”
When it comes to star gazing, no moons is good moons.
Quite possibly the most distinctively traditional Maldivian dish you will find at a resort is the breakfast staple – Mas-huni. It is a delicate blend of fresh reef-caught tuna mixed with coconut, onion and a touch of chillies served on a light, thin flatbread (called “roshi”). It is light, healthy with both the tropical flavour tinged with coconut and a touch of piquancy with the chillies. It is Lori’s favorite dish in the Maldives and she has it everywhere they serve it so she has become a bit of a connoisseur (I enjoy it as well, but prefer to indulge in the sumptuous variety of the breakfast buffets more extravagantly). You can get it at most resorts. Being a pretty basic and popular dish, I haven’t featured it in the Best Of series yet, because there wasn’t that much variation. But I finally found a buffer offering worth calling out at Medhufushi. They offer two styles of Mah-Huni (until our visit, I didn’t even know there was more than one style). The Bashi-Mas-Huni is made with a squash like eggplant, butternut squash or pumpkin added.
You can not only lounge around Milaidhoo’s dhonis, but wine and dine too. They have adapted the dhoni aesthetic to their signature overwater restaurant:
- “Shaped like three dhonis (wooden sailing boats), our signature restaurant is the only restaurant in the world set on a boat in a lagoon featuring gourmet dishes of inspired island cuisine from the Maldivian Spice Route. Guests dine on the ‘deck’ of the restaurant where, underneath starry night skies, the team of chefs deliver an island influenced menu of locally inspired and sourced dishes. There’s also indoor seating in air-conditioned comfort where you can watch the sea-life below through glass floors. Expect to find seafood and traditional local flavours intelligently reinterpreted for the 21st century.”
LUX South Ari Atoll has its own wish tree, or as they call it – Tree of Wishes:
- “Imaginative and uplifting: this new Reason to Go LUX* is a chance for guests to reach for their dreams while being part of unique interactive artworks. Local artisans and in-house creatives are cultivating and crafting Trees of Wishes at each resort by adapting real trees in the flower-filled gardens and by using upcycled materials such as metals and fiberglass to make these sculptures. At night, these mystical shapes are dramatically illuminated. And, in line with the LUX* Tread Lightly program, each objet d’art is utterly eco-friendly and constructed entirely in-house.”
That’s now a trifecta of arboreal adornment aspirations so I’ve add a special “Wish Tree” tag to keep track of even more that might blossom.
Wish trees are found in many traditions, but one of the most prominent is the Japanese O-mikuji (literally “sacred lot”). Wishes are written on small strips of paper and hung in a tree. They can be hung directly on branches (or other frame) or inserted into a small container for safe keeping. My parents presented us with a Wish Tree at our pre-wedding celebration party where guest wrote wishes for the betrothed couple and hung them on decorated branches. Ayada has introduced this tradition with the romantic twist of placing the wishes in tiny, heart-shaped glass bottles (thanks Paola). So if you want your Valentines wishes to last forever, you can give your love a message in a bottle on a tropical island.