“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).
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.
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.
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…
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…
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’sThe 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.
Dosa is a popular South Indian specialty that we have enjoyed a few times in the Maldives. Made with egg, rice flour and coconut milk it is served with curry. But the main restaurant at NIYAMA features a “Live DOSA” station which makes it fresh and customised to your particular liking.
Not all distinctive breakfasts need be crafted from elaborate recipes with ingredients flown in from the far corners of the planet. An exotic touch of distinction can be achieved with local items used in innovative ways. Like AaaVee’s special omelette cooked in a coconut shell.
Quite possibly the most luxurious breakfast in the world. One of the most extraordinary dining experiences in the world for starters. But to have the Hurawalhi 5.8 restaurant all to yourself as the sunshine starts to stir the underwater life must certainly be hard to be beat for breakfast. The cost is just as extravagant at $1,500, but some people pay that for a single bottle of wine.
“The breakfast itself is built around healthy staples that include fresh pressed juice, assorted pastries and exotic cut fruits, with Executive Chef Warren Moore stepping up the game with creative dishes such as quinoa breakfast salad with fluid gels, mango, beetroot and pea finished with edamame beans, carrot and wild berries, while the seafood trilogy platter boasts oysters, beluga caviar, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and the absolutely amazing truffle omelette with saffron and activated charcoal served with sautéed stuffed mushrooms in a mushroom sand saffron truffle jus. Fun fact: the omelette takes a whopping three hours to make!”
We always did our family snorkels first thing in the morning. The water was clearest (before the warming air started to stir it and the water a bit). But at Hurawalhi, you can have your underwater adventure WITH your breakfast.
The main rival to eggs benedict for breakfast luxury is steak and eggs. More of an American staple, you don’t find it that often on European menus. So I was delighted to find Cocoon’s Steak and Egg Station at their breakfast buffer. Quite nice cuts of beef grilled to your liking along with your choice of egg accompaniment (I tend to prefer scrambled with my steak and a bit of ketchup, which they also had at hand).