Haven’t Seen Yet #11

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…

  1. Mini-Dive

  2. 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.
    Havent Seen - glass bottom row boat
  3. Sumo Tubing – Surfing or pulled by a boat


  1. Advanced Palm FoldingThere’s palm folding…and then there is geometrically designed palm-folding into a life-like sea creatures.
    Havent Seen - advanced palm folding
  2. Starry Sea Table – By Alexandre Chapelin, perhaps this should go to Rangali in recognition of the bioluminescence pictures that went viral.
    Havent Seen - starry sea table
  3. 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.”
    Havent Seen - sologamy
  4. 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.
    Havent Seen - panoramic reef video
  5. Beachgoers Reading Room – Another gem from Hammacher Schlemmer.
    Havent Seen - beach reading room
  6. Musical Toilet – Plays music in your cubicle so no one hears you going about your business.
    Havent Seen - musical toilet
      
  7. 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).
    Havent Seen - eco toilet cistern
  8. 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.
    Havent Seen - dhoni roof shelter
  9. Coffee Ice – For that extra “iced” coffee coldness without getting watered down.
    Havent Seen - coffee ice
  10. 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”!!
    Havent Seen - ice cream barlour
  11. 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.
    Havent Seen - fruit waffles
  12. 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.
    Havent Seen - carved avacado
  13. 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.
    Havent Seen - coconut ice lolly
  14. Coconut Bread – A Buzzfeed tested top recipe. Time for a Maldives appearance.
    Havent Seen - coconut bread
  15. 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.
    Havent Seen - whale shark car
  16. 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).
    Havent Seen - remote golf hole

Fish Souper

Fish school - Convict Tangs

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

  1. Convict Tangs [ABOVE]
      
  2. Glass Fish
    Fish school - glass fish
      
  3. Fusilier
    Fish school - Fusilier
         
  4. Blue Surgeonfish
    Fish school - Blue Surgeonfish
       
  5. Sprat
    Fish school - Sprat
       
  6. Moorish Idol
    Fish school - Moorish Idol
         
  7. Humpback Snapper
    Fish school - Humpback Snapper
      
  8. Bigeye
    Fish school - Bigeye

“IN Beach” Dinners

Dusit Thani - beach dinner

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]

2. Dhigufaru
Dhigufaru - beach dinner

3. LUX Maldives
LUX South Ari Atoll - beach dinner

4. Velassaru
Velassaru - beach dinner

5. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi - in beach dinner

6. Amilla Fushi
Amilla Fushi - beach dinner

7. Gili Lankanfushi
Gili Lankanfushi - beach dinner

8.  Taj Exotica
Taj Exotica - in beach dinner

9.  Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru - beach dinner

10. Anantara Veli
Anantara Veli - beach dinner

Coral King Tapestries

Caterina Fattori - anenome

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

  1. Mushroom Coral
    Caterina Fattori - mushroom coral
  2. Diploastrea
    Caterina Fattori - Diploastrea
  3. Octocorallia
    Caterina Fattori - octocorallia
  4. Maze Coral
    Caterina Fattori - maze coral
  5. Sarcophyton
    Caterina Fattori - Sarcophyton

  6. Daisy Coral
    Caterina Fattori - daisy coral

  7. Crinoid
    Caterina Fattori - crinoid

  8. Platygyra
    Caterina Fattori - Platygyra

  9. Bubble Coral
    Caterina Fattori - bubble coral

  10. Pachyseris
    Caterina Fattori - Pachyseris

World’s Worst Snorkeling

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)…

  1. 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]
  2. 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.
    Snorkeling - jellyfish
  3. Snow Snorkeling – Somewhere in Michigan: Not a lot of detail provided, but we think alcohol is involved.
    Snorkeling - snow
  4. Sheep Field SnorkelingWest Bank, Jordan: Not quite the spectacle of the Red Sea, but still a spectacle of sort.
    Snorkeling - West Bank
  5. Reed SnorkelingCineplex 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”.
    Snorkeling - reed
  6. Elephant SnorkelingPacific 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’.”
    Snorkeling - elephant
  7. Polar Snorkeling – If the hypothermia doesn’t get you, the leopard seals might.
    Snorkeling - polar
  8. Fountain Snorkeling – Notts Market Square, Nottingham, United Kingdom: “There’s a kid snorkelling in the fountains at Notts Square. I’m done – Beth”
    Snorkeling - fountain

School of Life

Powder Blue Surgeonfish

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)…

 

  1. Powder Blue Surgeonfish [ABOVE]
  2. Glass Fish
    Glass Fish
  3. Blue Striped Snapper
    Blue Striped Snapper
  4. Fusilier
    Fusilier
  5. Convict Surgeonfish
    Convict Surgeonfish
  6. Yellow Sweeper
    Yellow Sweeper
  7. Trevally
    Trevally
  8. Orange Anthia
    Orange Anthia
  9. Blue Fusilier
    Blue Fusilier
  10. Oriental Sweet Lips
    Oriental Sweetlips
  11. Cardinal Fish
    Cardinal Fish
  12. Schooling Bannerfish
    Schooling Bannerfish
  13. Bigeye
    Bigeye
  14. Double Saddle Butterflyfish
    Double Saddle Butterflyfish
  15. Humpback Snapper
    Humpback Snapper

17 Dhoni Inspirations

Centara Ras Fushi - dhoni swing

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 SwingCentara Ras Fushi [ABOVE]

2. Boat VillaHuvafenfushi
Huvafenfushi - dhoni boat suit

3. LoungePark Hyatt Hadahaa
Maafushivaru - dhoni lounge

4. Room ServiceConstance Moofushi
Constance Moofushi - dhoni room service

5. FountainPark Hyatt Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Hadahaa - dhoni fountain

6. BuffetLily Beach
Lily Beach - dhoni - buffet

7. BarCanareef
Canareef - dhoni bar

8. Housekeeping Coco Bodu Hithi
Coco Bodu Hithi - dhoni housekeeping

9. PlanterAaaVeee
AaaVeee - dhoni planter

10. Bar – Jumeirah Vittaveli

11. RestaurantMillaidhoo
Millaidhoo - dhoni - restaurant

12. Kids ClubAnantara Dhigu
Anantara Dhigu - dhoni kids club

13. Dining TableJA Manafaru
JA Manafaru - dhoni dining table

14. ReceptionSun Siyam Irufushi
Sun Siyam Irufushi - reception

15. SeatingAyada
Ayada - dhoni seating

16. LoungingTaj Exotica
Taj Exotica - dhoni lounging

17. Water VillaCocoa Island
Cocoa Island - dhoni water villa

Sunday Sunsets

Maldives sunset 7

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)…

  1. Extremely PierreW Retreat [ ABOVE]
  2. Abdulla DidiHithadhoo
    Maldives sunset 14
  3. Luca AugAngaga
    Maldives sunset 13
  4. Infinite ExplorerAnantara Dhigu
    Maldives sunset 12
  5. KandolhuKandolhu
    Maldives sunset 11
  6. Conrad RangaliConrad Rangali
    Maldives sunset 10
  7. Shestak KonstantinSun Island
    Maldives sunset 9
  8. Camila AsenjoDrift Thelu
    Maldives sunset 8
  9. Hussain ZaheenDhigurah
    Maldives sunset 6
  10. Pun PhotosFihalhohi
    Maldives sunset 3
  11. Rid PerspectivesLUX South Ari Atoll
    Maldives sunset 4
  12. Travellers PlanetSix Senses Laamu
    Maldives sunset 1

I Heart Maldives

Hearts - beach beauty

IRed heartMaldives

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…

  1. Sand – Anantara Kihavah
    Anantara Kihavah - sand heart
  2. Balloons – Kurumba
    Kurumba - heart balloon
  3. Underwater – Rasdhoo Madivaru
    Rasdhoo Madivaru - diving heart
  4. Breakfast – Centara Grand
    Centara Grand - heart breakfast
  5. Fruit – Constance Moofushi
    Moofushi - fruit heart
  6. Acrobatics – Finolhu
    Finolhu - Acrobatics
  7. Dinner on the Sand – Centara Grand
    Centara Grand - sand heart
  8. Dinner in the Sand – LUX Maldives
    LUX South Ari Atoll - sand heart dinner
  9. Beach Candles – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Atmosphere Kanifushi - heart sand candles
  10. Simple Bed Décor – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
    Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - heart bed decor
  11. Fancy Bed Décor – Huvafenfushi
    Huvafenfushi - bed heart
  12. Hands – One and Only Reethi Rah
    One and Only Reethi Rah heart hands