Best of the Maldives: Beach-Side Spa – Malahini Kuda Bandos

 

If you prefer more leisurely seaside activity (or lack thereof), you don’t get much more relaxed than a spa treatment. And you don’t get much closer to the water, without actually being over it, than Malahini Kuda Bandos Alize Spa. Their treatment room opens completely to the beachfront just a few feet from the water’s edge. But there is no compromise in privacy as that section of the beach is covered with green foliage. As you settle down to your treatment, dappled green light filters into the room while you listen to the gentle lapping of the water on the sand (a soundscape that you don’t get in the fancy overwater spas).

Best of the Maldives: Outdoor Workout Machines – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - outdoor workout

If you prefer the solidity of a stationary bike (and other perks like safety), but want to get outdoors to enjoy the vistas of paradise, JA Manafaru has added to its already extensive estate of al fresco fitness with outdoor workout machines. I’ve long applauded resorts who gave their gyms prominent positions with open windows so that a holiday workout could also be as enjoyable as the rest of the vacation (too many were after-thought facilities sequestered in claustrophobic rooms in the middle of the island). You don’t get much more expansive workout views to distract you from your toil than Manafaru’s fitness deck.

Best of the Maldives: Triathlon – Anantara

Anantara - October pink

Anantara hosted their own Mini Triathlon last year to raise awareness of and funds for Breast Cancer last October…

  • “Swim, cycle and run for breast cancer…The Anantara Mini Triathlon starting at Dhoni Bar on Anantara Veli Resort, you’ll run two laps around Naladhu Private Island and Veli, swim to Dhigu and top it off with a three-lap cycle. Celebrate all the hard work with sunset cocktails at Aqua Beach. The entry fee of $25 USD will go towards the Cancer Society of Maldives to support breast cancer research and awareness.”

And special pink ribbon biscuits and cakes to treat yourself at the end (see below).

Anantara - triathlon

Giving the Pink Slip to Breast Cancer

While the colour of the Maldives might be blue, the colour of the month is pink. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is a special awareness day for metastic breast cancer. Sporting pink has become the de rigeur fashion for women joining the breast cancer awareness crusade in events like the Race for Life and the Moon Walk. Here are a collection of Maldives fashionista sporting the cancer-fighting team colours, one for every day of the month, including Liz Hurley sporting a Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt and video in the Maldives in the video at top…

  1. Liz Hurley (United Kingdom) – One & Only Reethi Rah [VIDEO]
  2. Maria Sionova (Russia) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Maria Sionova (Russia) - Gili Lankanfushi 3
      
  3. Paula Manzanal (Peru) – Reethi Faru
    Paula Manzanal (Peru) - Reethi Faru
      
  4. Rayla Jocunda and Bailey Nortje (USA) – Velassaru
    Rayla Jocunda Bailey Nortje (USA) – Velassaru
      
  5. Est Are (Nigeria) – Dhigali
    Est Are (Nigeria) - Dhigali
      
  6. Ana Jovanovic (Czech) – Sun Island
    Ana Jovanovic (Czech) - Sun Island 2
       
  7. Adriana Hughes (OAE) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Hughes (OAE) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
       
  8. Evgenia Radzevichus (Russia) – Summer Island
    Evgenia Radzevichus (Russia) - Summer Island
       
  9. Kristina Krayt (Russia) – Cocoon
    Kristina Krayt (Russia) – Cocoon
       
  10. Svyatoslava Vladzimirskaya (Russia) – Paradise Island
    Svyatoslava Vladzimirskaya (Russia) - Paradise Island
       
  11. Elizabeth Rioux (France) – Holiday Island
    Elizabeth Rioux (France) - Sun Island
       
  12. Ekaterina (Russia) – Sun Island
    Ekaterina (Russia) - Holiday Island
       
  13. Inna Gudz (Turkey) – Furaveri
    Inna Gudz (Turkey) - Furaveri
       
  14. Sania Camelli (Russia) – Dhigali
    Sania Camelli (Russia) - Dhigali
       
  15. Anna Shoker (Russia) – Paradise Island
    Anna Shoker (Russia) - Paradise Island
       
  16. Cepi (Argentina) – Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
    Cepi (Argentina) - Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
       
  17. Maria Pogrebnyak-Shatalova (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Maria Pogrebnyak-Shatalova (Russia) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
       
  18. Kristina Schulman (USA) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Kristina Schulman (USA) - Shangri-La Vilingili
       
  19. Lisa Jakobsson (Sweden) – Anantara Dhigu
    Lisa Jakobsson (Sweden) - Anantara Dhigu
       
  20. Sandra Traczyk (Poland) – Lily Beach
    Sandra Traczyk (Poland) - Lily Beach 2
       
  21. Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
    Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
       
  22. Stella Huang (China) – Outrigger Konotta
    Stella Huang (China) - Outrigger Konotta
      
  23. Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Ranveli
       
  24. Lily Rose (France) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Lily Rose (France) - LUX South Ari Atoll
       
  25. Samantha Hoopes (USA) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Samantha Hoopes (USA) – Gili Lankanfushi
       
  26. Carmen Bruendler (Germany) – Six Senses Laamu
    Carmen Bruendler (Germany) - Six Senses Laamu
       
  27. Irina Makosh (Russia) – Conrad Rangali
    Irina Makosh (Russia) - Conrad Rangali
       
  28. Full Time Mamy (Thailand) – W Maldives
    Full Time Mamy (Thailand) - W Retreat
       
  29. Katrina Kaif (India) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Katrina Kaif (India) - Shangri-La Vilingili
       
  30. Juli Markova (Russia) – Adaaran Hudhuran Fushi
    Juli Markova (Russia) - Adaaran Hudhuran Fushi

Best of the Maldives: Blues – Kandima

Kandima - blue patterns 2

It’s not surprising that an island like Kandima that invests so heavily in the arts, also exudes its own striking aesthetic vibe. And the cornerstone of the Maldives colour palette is blue. The moment you walk into reception, you are struck by the dazzling blue reception desk. A cavalcade of azures that hit you the minute you get into Maldivian airspace. Kandima has splashed this tapestry of cerulean shades across its décor from rugs inside to tiled tables outside and a range of accessories and touches throughout. It’s not just the default colour, but the dominant one. Even less prominent spaces, like the fitness centre (photo below) are carefully decorated with blue hues.

Kandima - blue patterns 1

Kandima - blue gym

Best of the Maldives: Shadow Trompe L’oeil – Cocoon

Cocoon - shadow trompe loeik

QI of the Day: “Why do fish have stripes and spots?”
To confuse and scare predators
Buzzzzz!
Actually,
recent research by Kelly et al provides a range of counter evidence that the leading theories, ie. “Predator defence by mimicking predators’ enemies’ eyes, deflecting attacks or intimidating predators…Striped body patterns have been suggested to serve for both social communication and predator defence.”). These hypothesis are contradicted by a range of data and observations. For example, “Contrary to our expectations, spots and eyespots appeared relatively recently in butterflyfish evolution and are highly evolutionarily labile, suggesting that they are unlikely to have played an important part in the evolutionary history of the group.”

And why does the Cocoon resort have a trompe l’oeil shadow on the wall of a wrought iron grille as if the sun was shining through some window on the Riviera? Just for a bit of aesthetic whimsy (maybe that is an explanation for reef fish too). Even more mysterious is how the shadow is created as there is absolutely nothing on the villa windows except what appears to be clear glass. It’s a bit more design wizardry from the resort…floating furniture, shadows of invisible things – it’s like staying a Hogwarts. Magic all over the resort from the reef to the rooms.

Moreish Idols

Morrish Idol  2

Of all the fish soup creatures, some of the most prevalent are the Moorish Idols. Their sweeping top fin and distinctive stripes provide the sensation that you are in some giant open water tropical aquarium when you see them in their massive schools. So distinctively ubiquitous and quintessentially Maldivian, I choose a similar shot for the Profile section background. Here are ten more shots to immerse yourself in…

Morrish Idol  10

Morrish Idol 9

Morrish Idol  7

Morrish Idol 6

Morrish Idol 5

Morrish Idol 4

Morrish Idol 3

Morrish Idol 1

The Curious Octopus

Octopus 1

The octopus’ abilities seem downright otherworldly. In fact, a number of scientists writing in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology have proposed literally that octopuses come from another planet through a process called “panspermia” where “microbes, viruses and even tiny life forms like the tardigrade might travel dormant from space rock to space rock via collisions, eventually making their way to new planets” (though the consensus in the marine biology community is that such a conjecture is “fanciful”).

But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and the actual mechanism for many of the octopus’ extraordinary capabilities has to do with maybe its strangest trick of all – changing its own genetic material. Scientific American’s article “Curiouser and Curiouser–Octopus’s Evolution Is Even Stranger Than Thought” described the bizarre genetic sleight of hand of the octopus…

  • “These aquarium oddities can modify the proteins found in their bodies without having to change the basic sequence of their DNA blueprint…The new paper reports on a process called ‘RNA editing,’ which involves enzymes swapping out one RNA base (or nitrogen-based “letter” in the RNA/DNA alphabet) for another, presumably in the interest of an organism adapting to its environment. RNA editing is rarely employed in most animals…’No one knows why cephalopods are so keen on RNA editing. Perhaps it is a faster, easier way to adapt to their environment than waiting for a random mutation to occur. Or maybe it better suits their relatively short life spans. Cephalopods grow up fast and die young . Most live only for a few years and they only breed once. Ragsdale feels RNA editing may help them navigate what are often lonesome, fleeting lives. ‘This may explain why they’re such good problem solvers. No one’s around to show them how to figure out the world!’ Ragsdale says, ‘How to make their dens. How to camouflage themselves and attack prey. They’re on their own, and fortunately for them they have big brains and can sort matters out’.”

For a stunning example of self-camouflage, beyond the colour and even texture changing trickery of their skin, check out Blue Planet’s piece on their sub-aquatic sartorial skills…

Best of the Maldives: Noodle Station – Grand Park Kodhipparu

Grand Park Kodhipparu - noodle station

When I worked at Microsoft, it’s quite expansive canteen always seemed to be the busiest at its noodle station. I’ve seen noodle dishes prepared to order at Maldives buffets, but none quite so extravagantly as Grand Park Kodhipparu’s The Edge restaurant. Kassandra noodles are prepared freshly in multiple pots with an extensive array of ingredients and spice to choose from to customise them to your own liking.