Plane Sailing

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National Aviation Day and National Photo Day today. Sooooo…photos of aviation are in order methinks. And the Maldives fashionistas are more than ready to oblige. 35 for each of the years RAF Gan operated as an airstrip…

  1. Dayane Mello (Brazil) – Palm Beach [ABOVE]
  2. Gia Johnson-Singh (United Kingdom) – Gili LankanfushiGia Johnson-Singh (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
        
  3. Adriana Larina (Philippines) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Larina (Philippines) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  4. Lindsey van der Hoeven (Netherlands) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Lindsey van der Hoeven (Netherlands) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  5. Camila Storchi (Brazil) – Sun Island
    Camila Storchi (Brazil) - Sun Island 4
      
  6. Viviane Marissa Francesca (Netherlands) – Veligandu
    Viviane Marissa Francesca (Netherlands) - Veligandu
       
  7. Lena Titok (Russia) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Lena Titok (Russia) - LUX South Ari Atoll
        
  8. Lea Rostain (France)
    Lea Rostain (France)

       
  9. Luiza Toma (USA) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Luiza Toma (USA) - LUX South Ari Atoll
      
  10. Mariaelena (Italy) – Palm Beach
    Mariaelena (Italy) - Palm Beach
      
  11. Tania Carvalho (United Kingdom) – Veligandu
    Tania Carvalho (United Kingdom) - Veligandu
      
  12. Irina (Germany) – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Irina (Germany) - Atmosphere Kanifushi
      
  13. Chloe Kahn (United Kingdom) – Dusit Thani
    Chloe Kahn (United Kingdom) - Dusit Thani
      
  14. Dashama (USA) – Angsana Velavaru
    Dashama (USA) - Angsana Velavaru 2
      
  15. Pichamon N. (Thailand) – Club Med Kani
    Pichamon N. (Thailand) - Club Med Kani
       
  16. Marissa Hempe (Germany) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Marissa Hempe (Germany) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
        
  17. Urvi Shetty (India) – Sun Island
    Urvi Shetty (India) - Sun Island
      
  18. Angelina Yao (Hong Kong) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Angelina Yao (Hong Kong) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
      
  19. Alina Korennaya (Ukraine) – JA Manafaru
    Alina Korennaya (Ukraine) - JA Manafaru
          
  20. Pepo Kiittikran (Thailand) – NIYAMA
    Pepo Kiittikran (Thailand) - NIYAMA
      
  21. Silvia Caruso (Italy) – Conrad Rangali
    Silvia Caruso (Italy) - Conrad Rangali
      
  22. Kuredu
    Kuredu - seaplane

      

  23. Rocky Barnes (USA) – Palm Beach
    Rocky Barnes (USA) – Palm Beach
      
  24. Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
    Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
      
  25. Violin Julia (Rusia) – Meedhupparu
    Violin Julia (Rusia) – Meedhupparu
      
  26. Victoria S. (Russia) Meedhupparu
    Victoria S (Russia) Meedhupparu
      
  27. Twinkle Mukherjee (India) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Twinkle Mukherjee (India) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  28. Faya Nillson (Sweden) – W Retreat
    Faya Nillson (Sweden) – W Retreat
      
  29. Vladislava Shvets (Ukraine) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Vladislava Shvets (Ukraine) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  30. Helen Owen (USA) – Dusit Thani
    Helen Owen (USA) – Dusit Thani
      
  31. Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  32. Jessica Van Der Steen (Belgium) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Jessica Van Der Steen (Belgium) – LUX South Ari Atoll
      
  33. Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  34. Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli
    Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli

      
  35. LUX South Ari Atoll
    LUX Maldives - group

Best of the Maldives: Pinot Noir – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - Sommelier Indica Romani Pinot Noir

  • Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.” – Sideways

Pinot Noir Day today. If you are wondering why we should be celebrating such a specific varietal, then check out the clip from the Oscar winning film “Sideways” at bottom (excerpt above). I guess Miles’ sentiments echo some of my inspirations behind Maldives Complete. It really takes time to coax the Maldives “into its fullest expression” in an informative website.

And if you want to sample the most haunting, most brilliant , most thrilling and most subtle Pinot, then you need to visit Huvafenfushi for its Romani 1999. The bottle (shown by sommelier Indica above and in the photo below) will run you $30,000.

Huvafenfushi - Romani Pinot Noir

Best of the Maldives: Rickshaw – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - rickshaw

You don’t need industrial grade, high-tech equipment to see the aquatic sights of the Maldives. The simplest and most ancient of transports can provide a romantic ride through the panorama of paradise. Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa offers rickshaw rides for $30 USD per couple for a tour around the resort beach and its massive jetty.

Best of the Maldives: Night Glass Bottom Boat – Olhuveli

Olhuveli - glass bottom boat

The magic of the Maldives is right at the surface. The landscape doesn’t tower above you and the seascape doesn’t plummet to the depths. Most of the vibrant colour and life takes place within 10 metres in either direction.

The Maldives features a number of different vessels from glass bottomed boats to full fledge submarines to share the undersea world with the land lubbers without getting wet. There’s pretty good sized and diverse fleet of vessels providing a glimpse into the aquatic world. So much that I’m adding a tag for “Glass Bottom” with this post.

The Best Dives semi-submersible at Olhuveli has a fun look. A bit “Yellow Submarine” Peter Max aesthetic. But its real distinction comes at night time. Not be because its bright red colour makes it easier to see. But because it comes equipped with strong underwater lights to allow for night times cruises. A good deal of the ocean creatures are nocturnal. So even if you are an active snorkeler, the Olhuveli boat provides an opportunity to see things you haven’t seen before. The resort runs regular night as well as day excursions.

Sky of blue.  And sea of green” – Ringo Starr

Surfin Cine

 

While the summer winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, Maldives remains an Endless Summer. The dramatic photos capture some gnarly moments on the board, the year round Maldives really comes to life in video.

  1. “Billabong Girls” – Courtney Conlogue (USA), Catherine Clark (USA), Alessa Quizon (USA),  Felicity Palmateer (Australia), Ellie-jean Coffey (Australia), Paige Hareb (New Zealand), Justine Dupont (France) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  2. Nobody Surf” – Monyca Eleogram (USA), Stephanie Gilmore (Australia), Kelia Moniz (USA), Zoe Cros (Australia)

    A post shared by NobodySurf (@nobody_surf) on

  3. KALOEA Surfer Girls” – Eve Riviere (Australia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi

       

  4. Angelika Timanina (Russia) 

  5. Roxy Surf Team” –   Kassia Meador (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), Rosy Hodge (South Africa), Monyca Byrne-Wickey (USA), Kelia Moniz (USA), Bruna Schmitz (Brazil)

  6. Kristie Murray (Australia) – Thulusdhoo


          

Snap Snaps

Claudia (Canada) - Kandima

Today is the final day of the Four Seasons Surfing Champions Trophy which brings top surfers from all over the world for a week of roundhouse cut-backs and Flynnstone flips. While this event is certainly the highlight of the Maldives surfing calendar, the water wonderland is quickly becoming a top worldwide surfing destination attracting novices to professionals all year round. Here is a collection of some of the surfing talent to grace the gentle Laccadive waves…

  1. Claudia (Canada) – Kandima  [ABOVE]
      
    Ananda Veras (Australia) – Kandooma
    Ananda Veras (Australia) - Kandooma
      
  2. Hannah G. (United Kingdom) – Kanuhura
    Hannah G (United Kingdom) - Kanuhura

      
  3. Eliza Ballard (Australia) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Eliza Ballard (Australia) - Adaaran Hudhuran Fushi
       
  4. Josie Prendergast (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Josie Prendergast (USA) - Adaaran Hudhuran fushi
      
  5. Amy Kotch (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi 
    Amy Kotch (USA) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
       
  6. Jill Kepich (Costa Rica) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Jill Kepich (Costa Rica) - Adaaran Hudhuran Fushi
      
  7. Janni Honscheid (Germany) – Cokes Surf Camp
    Janni Honscheid (Germany) Cokes Surf Camp
       
  8. Ellie-Jean Coffey (Australia) – NIYAMA
    Ellie-Jean Coffey (Australia) - NIYAMA
       
  9. Annika Bauer (USA) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Annika Bauer (USA) - Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
       
  10. Kristie Murray (Australia) – Vadoo
    Kristie Murray (Australia) - Vadoo

       
  11. Roni Galili (Israel) – Maafushi
    Roni Galili (Israel) - Maafushi
       
  12. Flavia Valenti (Brazil) – Coke Island
    Flavia Valenti (Brazil) – Coke Island
       
  13. Giuls (Italy) – Coke Island
    Giuls (Italy) – Coke Island
       
  14. Bethany Hamilton (USA) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Bethany Hamilton (USA) - Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Best of the Maldives: Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa – Beach Sport

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach rugby pitch

Dhigufaru might be the “beachiest” island, but Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa is definitely the beachiest activity center. Hakuraa Huraa boasts its own impressive expanse of brilliant white sand (and when the tide goes out it more than doubles in size). Here is there impressive line-up of beach activity…

  • Beach Rugby – A few resorts play some beach rugby (eg. Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, JA Manafaru), but no one has a permanent pitch with goals and line markers in the sand (see above).
  • Beach Cricket – I’ve seen cricket played in the Maldives, but not Beach Cricket. Again, a permanent bowling area in concrete has been set in the beach.
  • Beach Darts – I’ve only seen this at a few resorts.
  • Beach Volleyball – Ok, lots of resorts have this too and Hakuraa Huraa’s is a nice set up.
  • Beach Badminton – You can find this at several resort, but most resort that do offer badminton offer a hard surface court. The beach would make it harder to run, but could make for some crafty strategy (getting someone out of position is all the more valuable) as well as some heroic diving saves.
  • Beach Football – And this is common, but not to be left out here.

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach darts

Attack of the Laziees

Daria Mitchell (Russia) - Eriyadhu

National Lazy Day today. No better time to lounge around. And no one makes lounging more appealing than the Maldives fashionista who bring you their own special 40 winks of relaxation in the sun…

  1. Daria Mitchell (Russia) – Eriyadhu [ABOVE]
  2. Olga Stepp (United Kingdom) – Halaveli
    Olga Stepp (United Kingdom) – Halaveli
      
  3. Nicole Faria (India) – Veligandu
    Nicole Faria (India) - Veligandu
      
  4. Est Are (Nigeria) – Kurumba
    Est Are (Nigeria) - Kurumba
      
  5. Leila Joy (Australia) – Eriyadu
    Leila Joy (Australia) - Eriyadu
      
  6. Park Shin-hye (South Korea) – Soneva Jani
    Park Shin-hye (South Korea) - Soneva Jani
      
  7. Carole Samaha (Lebanon) – Huvafenfushi
    Carole Samaha (Lebanon) - Huvafenfushi
      
  8. Lucy Watson (United Kingdom) – Millaidhoo
    Lucy Watson (United Kingdom) - Millaidhoo
      
  9. Darya Radchenko (Russia) – Kihaad
    Darya Radchenko (Russia) - Kihaad
      
  10. Gizel (Brazil) – Angsana Velavaru
    Gizel (Brazil)  – Angsana Velavaru
      
  11. Seven Holidays (South Korea) – Velassaru
    Seven Holidays (South Korea) - Velassaru
      
  12. Erika Gassani (Italy) – Alimatha
    Erika Gassani (Italy) - Alimatha
      
  13. Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
    Olesya Malinskaya (Russia) – One & Only Reethi Rah
      
  14. Cvety Vassileva (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Cvety Vassileva (Russia) - Cheval Blanc Randheli
      
  15. Zeina Alalami (Jordan) – Sheraton Full Moon
    Zeina Alalami (Jordan) - Sheraton Full Moon
      
  16. Lizzie Cundy (United Kingdom) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Lizzie Cundy (United Kingdom) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  17. Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Alessandra Ambrosio (Brazil) - Shangri-La Vilingili
      
  18. Aletta Ocean (Italy) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Aletta Ocean (Italy) - Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
      
  19. Silvia Caruso (Italy) – Conrad Rangali
    Silvia Caruso (Italy) - Conrad Rangali
      
  20. Sherra Michelle (USA ) – Park Hyatt Hadahaa
    Sherra Michelle (USA) - Park Hyatt Hadahaa

      
  21. Papic Sanja (Panama) – Hideaway Beach
    Papic Sanja (Panama) – Hideaway Beach
      
  22. Jessica Lee Buchanan (South Africa) – Cocoa Island
    Jessica Lee Buchanan (South Africa) – Cocoa Island
       
  23. Lera Bukinaa (Russia) – Centara Ras Fushi  
    Lera Bukinaa (Russia) - Centara Ras Fushi
        
  24. Camilla Sylvie (Netherlands) – Kihaa
    Camilla Sylvie (Netherlands) - Kihaad
      
  25. Catherine (Taiwan) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Catherine (Taiwan) - Adaaran Hudhuran fushi
      
  26. Camilla Vendrame Tognetti (USA) – NIYAMA
    Camilla Vendrame Tognetti (USA) – NIYAMA - 2
      
  27. Aleona Lynx (Russia) – AaaVeee
    Aleona Lynx (Russia) – AaaVeee
      
  28. Irina Dubcova (Russia) – Lily Beach
    Irina Dubcova (Russia) - Lily Beach

       
  29. Yulia Obraztsova (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli
    Yulia Obraztsova (Russia) – Cheval Blanc Randheli - 2
       
  30. Natalia Siwiec (Poland) – Kurumba
    Natalia Siwiec (Poland) – Kurumba

     
  31. Natalie Morris (USA) – Velassaru
    Natalie Morris (USA) – Velassaru
      
  32. Daria Akoeva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
    Daria Akoeva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
      
  33. Shiralee Coleman (Australia) – Anantara Veli
    Shiralee Coleman (Australia) – Anantara Veli
  34. Giulia Andrea Gaudino (Italy) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
    Giulia Andrea Gaudino (Italy) – Coco Palm Bodu Hithi
      
  35. Denise van Outen (United Kingdom) – Kandolhu
    Denice van Outen (United Kingdom) – Kandolhu
      
  36. Bantik Boy (Russia) – OZEN by Atmosphere
    Bantik Boy (Russia) – OZEN by Atmosphere

     
  37. Veronika Сhachyna (Belarus) – Velaa
    Veronika Сhachyna (Belarus) – Velaa
      
  38. Zambi (Germany) – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
    Zambi (Germany) – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
      
  39. Twinkle Mukherjee (India) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Twinkle Mukherjee (India) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
       
  40. Innessa Dudakova (Austria) – Constance Halaveli
    Innessa Dudakova (Austria) – Constance Halaveli

Best of the Maldives: Value Buffet – Medhufushi

Medhufushi - value buffet

I’m pretty flexible on the quality of my villa (I’ve always said that you could sleep in a cardboard box in the Maldives and it would be a 5-star experience) and don’t need many amenities or recreational distractions laid on (happy to put on my snorkel in fins any time I’m a bit bored), but I do enjoy my food. Mind you, it doesn’t take much to lay out a decent spread in the Maldives – freshly caught reef fish, tropical fruits, a simple pasta station (or egg station for breakfast). But I do appreciate it when the resorts treat me to something a bit tasty.

Medhufushi features quite possibly the best value buffet in the Maldives. The resort positions itself as 4-star, but the food punches way above its weight class and is absolutely 5-star cuisine. Reminded me of Mirihi back when it was a 4.5 star, but served up gourmet food. But Mirihi is now 3 times the price of Medhuifushi! And there are a couple of 5-star properties (including some where people raved about the food in the reviews) that were nowhere near as good as Medhufushi.

Here are just a few notes of the fine dining we enjoyed during our brief stay…

  • Chicken Laksa – Possibly my favourite soup of the trip. Rich and flavourful. Made to order with vegetables and eggs in the bowl that the broth is served over.
  • Tom Yam Seafood Broth – More delectable soup.
  • Tuna Sashimi – Not the sushi which you can find at 4-star buffets but it mostly rice in seaweed wrap. But rather prime slices of fresh tuna.
  • Tenderloin – Perfectly cooked medium-rare at the roast station.
  • Tandouri Chicken – With Nan bread cooked fresh in front of you.
  • Curry Variety – Another “Best of the Maldives” post coming on this. My favourite was “Beetroot Curry”.
  • Rice Pudding – With Sultanas almost like my mom makes (she uses raisins). Second best rice pudding I have had in the Maldives
  • Ice Cream – Variety to rival super-luxury property Soneva. Here are a few of the flavours set out during our short stay – Earl Grey Tea, Passion Fruit & Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Carmelised Banana, Raspberry and Lime Sorbet, Lime Sorbet, Kiwi Sorbet, Apple Sorbet (Lori got just a bit addicted to their ice cream bar).
  • Coconut Cake – Why isn’t this served more extensively??
  • Mango Yogurt – And this too…why isn’t this more prevalent on the buffets?
  • Mas Huni – Hard to say whether it is the “best” in the Maldives, but it is the only resort that serves *two* types of Mas Huni.

Feel free to bring a big appetite to Medhufushi even if your wallet is a bit small.

Best of the Maldives: Rustic – Rihiveli

Rihiveli - room

People come to the Maldives to get away from it all. And at Rihiveli Beach, that does mean *all*. I characterise the Maldives by saying “You know those tropical island cartoons with a plot of sand and a palm tree…that’s the Maldives, a thousand of those.” Admittedly a bit of an exaggeration but an effective caricature. As the Maldives tourism industry has developed now you can go to islands with towers, golf courses, gourmet restaurants, water parks, 9-bedroom villas, etc. In the wake of this expansion and development, a hardened cadre of Maldives purists yearn for the simpler days much more approximating Gilligan’s Island than Thurston Howell III’s estate.

I am usually writing about special things that resorts have, but Rihiveli is distinguished by the things is doesn’t have…

  • Mini-bar
  • Outdoor shower
  • In-room Internet (and the wifi in the Reception and Bar I pretty ropey)
  • In-room safe (you can lock things in a safe at Reception)
  • Phone
  • Clock
  • TV
  • Pool

And I haven’t even mentioned the biggest one – no Air Conditioning. As I mentioned in my tour review, this was the biggest challenge for us especially as the weather was particularly toasty and the breeze unseasonably calm. Our pragmatic solution turned out to be downright romantic (in a clean and decent way) as we slept on our loungers under the stars for one of the most memorable nights of the trip if not all our visits to the Maldives. But if such al fresco snoozing is a bit too exposed for you, then there is actually salvation at hand on the island. 13 of their Standard Bungalows (namely – Boova, Bouraki, Carangue, Cardinalia, Cassis Nana, Dauphin, Demoiselle, Dentice, Digumas, Diodon, Diodora, Donax, Donhica) and their single Deluxe Villa (Escondida) do have AC. The Standard rooms with AC do have a $35 supplement.

You might be asking yourself, “what is actually there?”…

  • Hot Water Showers
  • Kettle
  • Comfortable Bed
  • Ceiling fan

Yep, that’s about it.

So why would anyone put up with such limitations?

  • Value – The property is one of the most affordable of the resort islands.
  • Get Away From It ALL – Especially technology. If I had kids addicted to technology, I would bring them here. They wouldn’t be able to check their phones most of the time.
  • Authenticity – The closest to living the traditional Maldivian lifestyle.
  • Island – Rihiveli is simply on of the best neighbouring-island/lagoon combinations in the Maldives.

With the ample bar, delicious food, water sport centre, Balinese spa, etc., it’s not exactly Bear Grylls material, and it might be just the type of escape to paradise you are looking for.