July seems to cause a particular amount of consternation with guests who read weather forecasts of nothing but rain for days on end and fear that their trip-of-a-lifetime will be a wash-out. I’ve already posted a piece clarifying the usually modest impact rain has in July after my 2019 Tour, but we enjoyed another particularly pronounced example of the “passing shower” and thought it would be helpful to post it. While the rain cloud in the video below did miss our island, on another day we did get hit square on with a 20-minute downpour pelting it down with quite strong winds. We were quite impressed with the nonplussed children in the pool who weren’t phased in the least and continued their watery frolicking made all the more watery during the mini-rainstorm.
The storm was part of a passing front which we looked up on the satellite weather website (see above). One of the benefits of being in the middle of the ocean is that there are no mountains to block ort dry land to slow down passing weather. So if you do get hit, you can usually count on it passing right over fairly quickly.
Q: Do Whale Sharks have teeth? A: Oh, I know this one…even though they are sharks, they a filter feeder so contrary to the shark stereotype, they don’t have teeth. Q: Buzzzzz…wrong. They do have teeth. So where are their teeth? A: Mouth? Q: Buzzzz…nope, their eyes (as well as small ones in their mouths)
The Maldives Complete Tour isn’t the only exciting event this week as Discovery Channel kicks off its annual Shark Week (we hope our Tour will be its own version of “Shark Week” as well and we are starting off well seeing a Black-Tip and a White-Tip snorkeling this morning). This QI comes courtesy of the article “Giant whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs”.
“That sobering story is nowhere near the top of shark news this week, however. In yet another indication that the planet is tiring of us humans, it has been discovered that the world’s biggest shark has teeth all over its eyeballs…In the exceptionally named research article, “Armored eyes of the whale shark,” a team of researchers from Japan’s Okinawa Churashima Research Center discovered that these beastly predators evolved a unique defense mechanism for their vision: dermal denticles. These denticles are nothing new. Similar v-shaped scales cover shark skin. Structurally, they’re akin to tiny teeth. This feature helps sharks decrease turbulence and drag while gliding through the ocean, making them an even more fearsome fish—a tall order for a shark that grows up to 62 feet in length.”
And you thought whale sharks were the gentle giants of the ocean. They have teeth in their eyeballs!!
Per my previous post, “Love in the Maldives” is a romantic romp through a very typical visit to the Maldives (with some atypical bits thrown in for a bit of contrived plot). I’ve produced a sort of “Everything Wrong With…” (with a touch of “Everything Right With”) reaction commentary video to help everyone navigate the contorted fiction from the fun fact. Enjoy!
Happy Mothering Sunday! Especially to those octopus moms out there. Deep-sea octopuses are some of the best mothers in the animal kingdom. Once her eggs are laid, the octopus spends the next 5 years carefully nurturing and watching over the eggs until they are ready to hatch. Once her babies have emerged, the mother dies, her reproductive duties now complete.
WTM was a great way to whet our appetite for our overdue return to the real Maldives this week. Tour #18 will take us to Biyadhoo, Amilla, Soneva Fushi, Ritz Carlton Maldives and Pullman Maamuta.
One new item is a face mask. Required for the duration of our BA flight. Having done a few long flights over the past year, you really want one that is comfortable (and for me, one that doesn’t cause my glasses to steam up).
I take a computer (and charger and case) for my work taking notes, researching, logging photos, etc. as well as for keeping in touch with the office back home (which makes it easier to stay longer and means I have less urgent work piled up when I return). We can also use the computer to watch Netflix, and it is an easier tool to use for managing and editing our photos and videos.
As a get our bags ready, and sort out all of our COVID19 requirements, we pulled out our Packing List to make sure we weren’t forgetting anything. I thought I’d share it here as a reference for people going to maybe for the first time or even for veterans to prompt them for items they might not have thought of:
2 allows one to dry for frequent use
3 provides more choice and they’re small
Can go thru two a day with the hot weather, but also nice to change into fresh one for dinner
Easy to wash with hand soap in the sink
A couple gives me a choice
For wearing on the plane though I guess you could wear flip flips…many do
Lightweight backback or satchel for carrying items on excursions or to the beach, etc.
Sunglasses – Goes without saying, but for completeness
US Dollars Cash – A good rule of thumb is $50/day. Probably much more than you need, but provides safety for contingencies and you can always bring it home.
Beach Wallet – A simple, water-proof, pocket sized wallet for room key and a few dollars that might be needed for serendipity tipping
Passport – included for completeness
Rash guard – to protect against sun snorkeling, can use tshirt
Fins/MaskSnorkel – most resorts lend these for free and they do take up lots of space packing, but it is handy having your own that you are comfortable with.
Diving Items (eg. log book, certification cards)
Underwater Camera – you can rent these, but we have a GoPro which works great with underwater housing (also, great to have a red filter for diving)
Camera – many people are happy with the hig-res camera phones, but I bring an SLR as well
Sun Lotion – available at the resort boutiques but the price is high and selection limited
Reading – resorts typically have a library, but always great to bring what you want to read if that’s how you pass the time
Fish ID Card/Book – You can find most fish information online now, but we find our fish ID cards and a fish book (our favourite is Rudie H. Kuiter’s “Fishes of the Maldives”) to be much easier to use.
Headphones – Noise reduction for better listening on the long flight and so I can listen to stuff without disturbing Lori if she is napping
My Maldives Complete partner in all adventure, Lori (an accomplished blogger in her own right and regular contributor and editor) has agreed to go through her suitcase and share her tips as well (photo at bottom):
2 full-coverage 1-piece swimsuits and 2 rash guards for sport (diving/snorkelling). We snorkel and/or dive every day. Two pretty ones/ bikinis for lounging. (I actually pack several more swimsuits.) You will need cover-ups for breakfast and lunch dining.
It’s personal preference here, but I prefer floaty dresses or floaty trousers with natural fibre tops, because it’s hot. (I highly recommend natural fibres, if possible). Shorts can be useful for transferring on sea planes, though, because you have to climb in and out and go up and down small stairs, sometimes to small floating docks. The breeze could trip you up if you have a long floaty dress on. I prefer longer shorts so my legs don’t stick to the seat (no air conditioning) and I take basic ones (jean/white) with multiple tops. Here, I’ve packed 1 pair white shorts.
These go with your shorts, plus extra in case you need a fresh one. Here, I have packed 3 tops to go with my one pair of white shorts.
I take one pair of nice ones to go with shorts and swimwear.
If you are happy to wash your smalls, or don’t mind sending them to be laundered, then you can just pack a few. But, they are so small and I don’t like to be bothered whilst on the holiday of a lifetime, so I pack one for every day, plus extra. Here, I have 4 bras with matching knickers, plus extra knickers (not pictured).
It’s hot, so I avoid garments that are tight at the waist.
I wear sports shoes on the plane with socks, if I plan to work out in the gym. Sometimes I do; this time I won’t. Which brings me to shoes:
Gym shoes (if you are a gym bunny and just can’t go a week or two without exerting yourself on the treadmill); flip flops; 1 pair nice shoes, in case you need them for fine dining indoors. Many (probably most) resorts offer all dining on sandy floors, so check your resort to see if you need any shoes at all. Some resorts are “No shoes; no news” and take your shoes from you when you arrive.
Hair Care – Salt water is a natural cleanser and will remove old layers of conditioner/product from your hair. This is ok if you are not an avid swimmer, but if you are in the ocean every day, you will want to bring along some good conditioner/barrier products if you are concerned about maintaining the colour or texture of your hair. I have found that even the best resorts often don’t have conditioner that is adequate for my long, thick hair. You may wish to bring a hat to protect your hair and face from the sun. Don’t forget any styling brushes and clips/bands you may need.
Sun cream – goes without saying, but for completeness…
Jewellery – as you wish. I used to just wear all my jewellery on the plane (simple and goes with all my clothes) but this time, I’ve packed extra pieces to go with some of my nice dresses, because we are going to some really special resorts. All resorts have safes in the rooms.
Reading – resorts typically have a library, but always great to bring what you want to read if that’s how you pass the time
Evening wear – I like to dress a bit nicer for dinner, so I wear floaty dresses (one pictured)
(For future planning reference, I’ve now added a tag “Trip Planning” with all my posts concerning getting ready for the big trip.)
QI: How does an octopus smell?
A: Depends if he’s had cabbage chilli for dinner (ba-dum-dum). *BUZZ*.
A: With its nose?
QI: *BUZZ* As this Harvard researcher determined, and like so many other activities in the octopus’ fascinating life, with its suckers (“Touch and taste? It’s all in the suckers”)
Q: How many penises does a male shark have?
Q: BUZZZ. Nope. Two penises. “He uses only one at a time, depending on which side of the female shark he finds himself.” One is used for depositing and the other is used for “holding on”.Ducks famously have multiple vaginas (so they can choose which of the many male ducks who take her forcibly to actually sire her children). Sharks have multiple penises.
That’s not all they use to literally embrace their beloved. Male sharks also use their teeth used to hold onto female shark (so much so that “female sharks tend to have thicker skins than males and bigger bodies in order to withstand the results of a male shark trying to hang onto her with his teeth” (up to 3x thicker). Now THAT’s a love bite!
Q: Since sharks are fish and not mammals, how many ways can sharks give birth?
A: One (laying eggs)?
Q: BUZZZ. A number of shark are indeed oviparous (lays eggs), but a number of species are viviparous (give birth live).
A: So two??
Q: BUZZZ. Some shark species are actually ovoviparous meaning that the eggs hatch in the oviduct within the mother’s body and that the egg’s yolk and fluids secreted by glands in the walls of the oviduct nourishes the embryos.
Maldives resort Oprefooshi has combined the top two reasons to visit this bucket list destination – honeymoons and snorkeling – into a single, once-in-a-lifetime experience: Snorkel Wedding.
Couples are provided with a Snorkel-Guide/Wedding-Officiant. Unlike underwater weddings (which have been conducted at various resort), snorkeling allows the bride and groom to share their vows by actually speaking to each other (while treading water). Why have a seaside wedding when you could be *in* the sea?? And you don’t require special training and certification to opt for this nautical nuptials (in fact, if you are a weak swimmer, the property has a special wedding dress with buoyancy aids sewn into the garment (which also add a special buxom look for your wedding photos).
The fantasy of a truly heart-shaped plot of sand in the middle of the ocean is pervasive on Instagram and stock photo sites. .
Mostly these are the fabrications of digital editing (like the one above and two below) and not natural erosion or premeditated terraforming
These flights of imagination certainly seemed like they were pulled from drone shots of the Maldives renowned for being diminutive plots of sand and a few palm trees in the middle of the ocean (and some times just a lone sand bank itself in the middle of the ocean which has also been depicted – see below)
I first mused about finding a heart-shaped island in the 1900+ in the nation archipelago six years ago in my 7th instalment of “Haven’t Seen Yet”. I noted that Jumeirah Dhevanafushi had made the bold claim to me that they were the most “romantic” island in the Maldives substantiated by the facts that (a) they had the biggest beds, and (b) they had the most heart shaped island. Well, I took a look at an aerial shot of the island, Merdahoo (which it is the new name of the property since Raffles took it over from Jumeirah) before it was developed. The island does look like an impressionistic rendition of a heart at best. Or possibly, an anatomical version (see below)…but the clinical grisliness of that version takes a little bit of the aesthetic romance out of it.
For that matter, I think Kandolhu (see below) probably has an equal claim to Meradhoo for cardiac caricature. In fact, if they thinned out a bit more foliage on the west side to make a sharper indention, the island could be quite heart-like in shape.