Back to school time. So let’s go back to schools Maldive style to mark the season…
And we’re off. Flying out today for Tour #8 of Maldives resorts. I will once again be exploring the unseen pockets of paradise capturing new discoveries of special features and offerings. Perhaps, if I am lucky, I might even encounter one of the following sweet sixteen items that neither visits nor research has revealed as of yet…
- Mini-Dive –
- Glass-Bottomed Row Boat – Well, a Ruth wherry, built by Tim McCann in Maryland, USA, wirth an elegant construction befitting some of the super-premium resorts’ clientele.
- Sumo Tubing – Surfing or pulled by a boat
- Advanced Palm Folding – There’s palm folding…and then there is geometrically designed palm-folding into a life-like sea creatures.
- Starry Sea Table – By Alexandre Chapelin, perhaps this should go to Rangali in recognition of the bioluminescence pictures that went viral.
- Sologamy – One of the hot wedding destinations of the world might look at this new trend – “Self-marriage or sologamy is marriage by a person to oneself. It is known as a commitment that values self-love, and self-compassion.”
- Panoramic Reef Video – More resorts are offering panoramic room and resort videos, but how about the main event on the house reef like this National Geographic creation.
- Beachgoers Reading Room – Another gem from Hammacher Schlemmer.
- Musical Toilet – Plays music in your cubicle so no one hears you going about your business.
- Eco-Toilet Cistern – “So when you flush the toilet, the cistern refills through a hole in the top of the cistern, saving water and being bloody efficient. Here it is refilling” (thanks Eileen).
- Dhoni Roof-Top Shelter – These were standard issue on the dive and transfer boats in Indonesia an they really provided a bit of pampered lounge area for a rooftop vista.
- Coffee Ice – For that extra “iced” coffee coldness without getting watered down.
- Ice Cream Barlour – One of our most decadently favourite drinks is a Haagen Daaz Brandy Alexander (vanilla ice cream, crème de cacao, brandy, nutmeg). The cold cocktails are emerging with places like Tipsy Scoop in New York City. I mean, OMG, “Aperol Creamsicle”!!
- Fruit Waffles – That “Villingili” on his Instagram feed is not Shangri-La. These and some of his other “rawtarian” delights deserve a place at a resort.
- Food Carving Extraordinaire – I’ve seen plenty of food carving displayed at the elegant buffets of the Maldives resorts, but nothing on this guy’s level.
- Coconut Ice Lolly – Still no end of the delicacies one can concoct out of coconut, but this one is particularly apropos for the tropical sun.
- Coconut Bread – A Buzzfeed tested top recipe. Time for a Maldives appearance.
- Whale Shark Car – Okay, no roads in the Maldives, but still I couldn’t resist. With it’s long size and funky vibe, it wouldn’t be entirely out of place at LUX South Ari Atoll.
- World’s Biggest Water Hazard – Tee on one island and green on neighbouring island. The picture below is the only one of the top “Island” holes in golf is the only one that is a proper “island” but you can wade to it (a world first for the Maldives is awaiting).
Second helping of fish soup. Our very first impression of the Maldives was waiting on the airport arrival jetty for our transfer boat and marvelling at the legions of colourful tropical fish scurrying about in the crystal clear water below. While snorkelling, we regularly find ourselves amidst giant clouds of chordata scudding along the top of the coral reefs. Here are more of my favourite close ups of these tapestry-like images forming their own world-class underwater pelotons…
International Picnic Day today. And the Maldives resort go a bit beyond the blanket and basket. There are dinners “on” the beach, but in the Maldives you can dine “in” the beach. In luxurious style. Here are the Maldives Complete Top Ten “IN” beach dinners for your end your picnic day in paradise…
1. Dusit Thani [ABOVE]
6. Amilla Fushi
10. Anantara Veli
A of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
– Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’
Dive into the Laccadive Sea and you will be confronted with a living spectacle of vibrant colours and images. It’s tempting just to chase one exciting sight after another. But some of the most biggest displays are to be found in the smallest things. After you see your first Nudibranch, you will be slowing your swimming right down hoping to spot more of these alien slugs. Yesterday’s up close and personal interview with Outrigger Konotta marine biologist Caterina Fattori first stemmed from my admiration of her photographic up close and personal exposés of the coral critters literally make up all of the Maldives islands. To celebrate World Ocean’s Day today, I am featuring my top ten intimate polyp portraits from her stunning Instagram feed…
Maldives may be the best snorkelling in the world (if Calsberg did snorkelling destinations…), and alternatives like Indonesia might rival it, but here are a few places that definitely do not. Here is the definitely Maldives Complete list of ‘unconventional’ snorkeling (shall we say generously) in the world (not surprising at all that 2 on the list are in the United Kingdom)…
- Bog Snorkeling – Wales, United Kingdom: In Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales crowds watch competitors swim up and down a 133 meter bog filled with sulphurous, weedy water. Some wear silly costumes but all entrants must not use conventional swimming strokes, relying on flipper power only. [ABOVE]
- Jelly Fish Snorkeling – Eil Malik Island in Palau: Well, not as hazardous at it appears as the Golden Jellyfish which populate this lake don’t sting actually.
- Snow Snorkeling – Somewhere in Michigan: Not a lot of detail provided, but we think alcohol is involved.
- Sheep Field Snorkeling – West Bank, Jordan: Not quite the spectacle of the Red Sea, but still a spectacle of sort.
- Reed Snorkeling – Cineplex near you: “I don’t care if you did see that in a movie, Gilligan is not breathing through that reed!” — The Professor, Gilligan’s Island. Turns out that escaping the bad guy by breathing through a reed would cause problems that “the width of the reed (or snorkel) needs to get wider the longer the tube. Otherwise you are just rebreathing the same air over and over, which will kill you after long enough. Unless you breathe out into the water, which defeats the purpose by highlighting your position with bubbles”.
- Elephant Snorkeling – Pacific Islands: “Jumbo shrank after snorkel trip across Med” looks at the diffusion of pre-historic elephant species across a wide range of inaccessible islands and have come to the conclusion that elephants did their own form of snorkeling to cross large bodies of water though they speculate that these excursions were not exactly voluntary as they suspect that events such as a tsunami might have swept them out to sea. “[Gert van den Bergh of Wollongong University in Australia] has found fossils of pygmy elephants on islands across the Pacific. ‘The important thing is that elephants were excellent swimmers with high buoyancy and a snorkel for easy breathing’.”
- Polar Snorkeling – If the hypothermia doesn’t get you, the leopard seals might.
- Fountain Snorkeling – Notts Market Square, Nottingham, United Kingdom: “There’s a kid snorkelling in the fountains at Notts Square. I’m done – Beth”
You need cooling
Baby I’m not fooling
I’m gonna send ya
Back to schooling – Led Zeppelin
While the Maldives corals have taken a hit from the warm oceans of climate change and El Nino, the schooling bathing beauties remain as colourful and concentrated as ever. A-fish-ionadoes of the Maldives often refer to the waters as “fish soup” (perhaps an unfortunate term with the excessive water temperatures hitting 30 degrees!). And Instagram has become the digital runway for these fishionista pageants to be shared with the world. My favourite snaps are the one so jam packed with fish that they sort of form kaleidoscopic tapestries of underwater colour (thanks to Verena for help with identifying the more obscure marine models)…
The traditional dhoni has been the life blood for the scattered Maldivian archipelago pumping people and goods across its waters for centuries. In modern times, the dhoni also provides cultural inspiration to all manner of décor and items on the Maldives resorts.
The term “dhoni” is not only essential to Maldives life since its earliest history, but has even entered the global lexicon as one of two Dhivehi words that have made it into the English language (the other is even more characteristic of the very essence of the Maldives).
I have added a “Dhoni” tag to keep track of all the nautically inspired resort features now.
1. Boat Swing – Centara Ras Fushi [ABOVE]
3. Lounge – Park Hyatt Hadahaa
4. Room Service – Constance Moofushi
5. Fountain – Park Hyatt Hadahaa
6. Buffet – Lily Beach
11. Restaurant – Millaidhoo
Easter Sunday is one of the most colourful days of the year with brightly coloured eggs sequestered amongst the spring garden blossoms. The Maldives tends to have more of a tricolour motif – blue, green, white. Until sunset. Then the Maldives explodes with a kaleidoscope of colour.
The sunset is a big event in the Maldives. All the men (it is the gadget guys) abandon their loved ones to their cocktails and grab their SLRs to start shooting. As a result, Instagram and Flickr are awash with an ocean of sunset snaps.
The criteria I use to filter the ordinary from the extraordinary is the following…
- Colour – Rich, deep, gradient, varied. No black (the sunset equivalent to the “No Sunglasses” Rule). And *multiple* colours…not just a wash of golds. A bit of Photoshop to accent the highlights is okay as long as the image is not saturated like some kids colouring book.
- Light Play – Not just a glowing orb in the distance, the sun must certainly ignite the clouds in the sky. Also (more frequent oversight) is that the ocean seascape must also be alight with reflected and refracted colours.
- Maldivian – No “CBA” (ie. “Could Be Anywhere). The shot needs to have some distinctive iconic Maldives bits like a dhoni or sand bar or water villa to give it a destination signature.
Here are a dozen eggs-eptional shots (especially check out Abdulla Didi (#2) who is a bit of a Maldivian sunset specialist)…
- Extremely Pierre – W Retreat [ ABOVE]
- Abdulla Didi – Hithadhoo
- Luca Aug – Angaga
- Infinite Explorer – Anantara Dhigu
- Kandolhu – Kandolhu
- Conrad Rangali – Conrad Rangali
- Shestak Konstantin – Sun Island
- Camila Asenjo – Drift Thelu
- Hussain Zaheen – Dhigurah
- Pun Photos – Fihalhohi
- Rid Perspectives – LUX South Ari Atoll
- Travellers Planet – Six Senses Laamu
The Maldives is long renowned as one of the most romantic places on Earth. No surprise that there are hearts are everywhere you look in this corner of paramour’s paradise. So to celebrate Valentines Day today instead of a dozen roses, a dozen hearts in paradise…
- Sand – Anantara Kihavah
- Balloons – Kurumba
- Underwater – Rasdhoo Madivaru
- Breakfast – Centara Grand
- Fruit – Constance Moofushi
- Acrobatics – Finolhu
- Dinner on the Sand – Centara Grand
- Dinner in the Sand – LUX Maldives
- Beach Candles – Atmosphere Kanifushi
- Simple Bed Décor – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
- Fancy Bed Décor – Huvafenfushi
- Hands – One and Only Reethi Rah