An electric buggy to take you from the arrival jetty to your villa as well as to and from your villa to various parts of the island is standard fare in all but the smallest of islands. But Soneva Jani uses a speedboat “buggy” to take you to your water villa, and it can be summoned to take you from the villa to the central part of the island (with the main restaurant, shops, dive centre, etc.). the transfer is 2 minutes in choppy water and 90 seconds on smooth (we timed it), versus the alternative of a 15 minute buggy transfer over land.
If you want to get to see your sharks with jet speed, then Hurawalhi offers a diving speed boat. Not a typical diving dhoni that chugs along to your dive site, but a proper speed boat that gets you there in half the time. It not only saves time just sitting on the boat when you could be back on the resort sipping pina coladas, but is handy in other ways. The dive masters got reports of a juvenile whale shark in the area and in the boat we were able to do a quick reckie to see if it was still around before proceeding home (no luck).
“Landaa Giraavaru is the first resort in the world to launch DeepFlight Adventures: piloted submarine excursions for up to two passengers in the DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S, enabling once-in-a-lifetime sub-aquatic explorations of the Maldives only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Individual viewing domes provide a 360-degree view of the Baa Atoll’s incredible underwater world. Skim over coral formations; fly through shoals of brightly coloured fish; encounter creatures like turtles, sharks, dolphins and rays; and explore the Maldivian waters down to a depth of 37 metres/120 feet – all without getting wet! Battery-operated, the Super Falcon 3S features minimized electric and acoustic emissions so as not to disturb the marine life and never lands on the seabed or reefs.”
A one-hour trip for two costs $1,500 (£1,100) plus tax.
If you want to celebrate Ian Fleming’s birthday today with a James Bond style outing, then Amilla Fushi excursion boat will speed you to your deserted island picnic, snorkel reef or secret lair in a Q worthy speed 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.
What really floats my boat when it comes to this hobby is discovering something I haven’t seen before. Having stayed at more Maldives resorts than anyone in the world, as well as regularly researching and scanning the digiverse for the latest developments, it’s harder to stumble upon something I haven’t seen. By my recent Instagram trawling yielded this nugget from Constance Halaveli. A HamacLand canopied garden raft described as “a cross between a personal island and a private VIP floating lounge”. Complete with his and her hammocks for swaying in the gentle ocean breeze and undulating ocean current.
If you want to live the maritime heritage of the Maldivian dhoni with all the conveniences and luxuries of this modern day paradise destination, then Velaa offers a distinctive dhoni crusing yacht, “Baththeli Anna”.
“Baththeli Anna, the prncess of the Southern Seas. Designed to ensure the utmost comfort for her guests, Anna is a beautiful custom built Maldivian baththeli (“baththeli” – boat on Dhivehi language). This luxurious, uniquely designed traditional sailboat was laid down in April of 2012. Then crafted under the supervision of the Master Boat Builder, Matias Luhmann, himself alongside the proficient team of Gladonia Maldives Pvt Ltd. The idea of its elegant lines and comfortable spaces was conceived by the boat design, Philippe Laurella, French at birth, but Maldivian in Spirit.”
One of my biggest pastimes is the sport of rowing. The carbon-fiber sculls are the state-of-the-art, but I’m afraid that I’m still smitten by the aesthetic romance of a boat sculpted out of wood.
Length – 76 feet
Weight – 45 ton
Overnight guest capacity – 3
Day touring guest capacity – 8
Maximum speed – 12 knots.
2 Hour, 4 person Sunset Dolphin Cruise – $1,695
5 hour, 2 person Desert Island Dinner Cruise – $7,440
2.5 hour, 4 person Luxury Private Snorkel Trip – $1,895
8 hour, 4 person Charter Cruise – $5,495
With this post, I’ve added a new “Cruising” tag as the highest end resorts seem to be extended their super-premium arms race into a naval battle of yachts.
Bonus room! Not just an extra bed, but a completely distinctive experience sleeping on the water. Not just in a water villa perched over the water, but in a Maldivian-styled dhoni yacht. Not just hearing the ocean gently sloshing below you, but feeling the ocean languidly rock you to sleep.
If you are lucky, some resorts will occasionally offer a free upgrade for a night or more from their beach villas to their water bungalows. But Safari Island, if you stay 7 nights you get a free dhoni tour like a sunset cruise or fishing. If you stay 14 nights, then you get a free night on the dhoni.
As spectacular as the turquoise mottled Maldivian seascape is, the main event is still really under the surface. As the world’s best snorkelling destination, a mask and fins is the most popular way to explore this aquatic wonderland. But for those guests who prefer a drier approach, Lily Beach’s new semi-submersible provides a more than a peak at the underwater world. Particularly effective for those apprehensive about the confinement of a full-fledged submarine, it’s sort of a hybrid between a glass-bottomed boat and a submarine…
“Why let the scuba divers and snorkellers have all the fun? It’s now possible to explore the stunning reefs of the Maldives without even getting wet. Seated below the water level in our new semi-submarine you can watch the amazing marine life in air-conditioned comfort…Choose between a dive during daylight hours or at night, or simply take both and see how the reef changes depending on the time of day. 30 and 60 minute excursions are available both daytime and nightime trips. It’s also possible to book a private 60 minute excursion with the Penguin semi-submarine.”
With the fleet of submersible’s growing in the Maldives, I have add a new “submarine” tag here to help you all keep track of them.