Best of the Maldives: Record Group Freediving – Baros

Baros - group freediving

A multitudinous school of freedivers took to the Maldives’ water near Baros to set a new world record for group freediving. The MMPRC reported:

Maldives goes on Guiness World Record for the most people freediving simultaneously, with 520 participants on Tuesday, 1 October 2019. The small island nation renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and luxury hospitality broke the world record previously held by Italy; ‘La Scuola del Mare 2’ (Verona), in Torri del Benaco, Verona with 280 people.”

Baros - group freediving 2

Baros - group freediving 3

Best of the Maldives: Lights Out Event – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru / Angsana Ihuru

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - dawn till dusk

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru holds a monthly event to raise awareness of energy conservation to reduce carbon footprint by completely shutting off all electrical lights on the resort for 12 hours:

  • “Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru launched a 12-hour lights-off event under the name ‘Connect to Earth from Dusk till Dawn’ on September 14. The monthly occurrence is scheduled for full moons in order to take advantage of natural luminescence while the two resorts switch off their lights from 1800 to 0600 hrs. Connect to Earth from Dusk Till Dawn is inspired by the Earth Hour Movement, an annual celebration marked by switching lights off for a one-hour period. ‘By switching off the lights for one hour, we can make a substantial difference in the energy consumption and we can help reduce the effect of global warming’, stated the General Manager of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru, Hicham Najdi…During the event, dubbed 6to6, restaurants and bars will be candlelit and a special full moon in-villa dinner can be arranged for guests upon request. The Marine Lab Team will also organize an ‘Under the Full Moon Night Snorkel’ to provide a unique underwater experience to the guests.”

The initiative is not just eco-friendly but imparts an extra romantic tone to the evening with candlelit areas and meals. Furthermore, turning off the lights in one of the few electrified places in that part of the ocean reduces light pollution making star gazing all the more dazzling.

Best of the Maldives: Charity Triathlon – Anantara

Anantara - October pink

Anantara hosted their own Mini Triathlon last year to raise awareness of and funds for Breast Cancer last October…

  • “Swim, cycle and run for breast cancer…The Anantara Mini Triathlon starting at Dhoni Bar on Anantara Veli Resort, you’ll run two laps around Naladhu Private Island and Veli, swim to Dhigu and top it off with a three-lap cycle. Celebrate all the hard work with sunset cocktails at Aqua Beach. The entry fee of $25 USD will go towards the Cancer Society of Maldives to support breast cancer research and awareness.”

And special pink ribbon biscuits and cakes to treat yourself at the end (see below).

Anantara - triathlon

Best of the Maldives: Tomato Festival – Kandima

Kandima - tomato festival 1

Kandima has hosted a festival of another sort this summer. A first blush (yes, intended), it might seem like one of those foodie festivals that are spreading across middle-class England, but really is far more traditional (and raucous) than that…

  • “Kandima Maldives hosts the first ever Tomato Festival ‘La Tomatina’ in the island nation. The event took place last week on Friday, 31st August 2018 on the resort grounds. In total over 300 people attended the event, which lasted for almost four hours. ‘La Tomatina’ was home to the famous tomato fight, tug of war, mini football, water bucket relay, climb the coconut tree and many other fun-packed beach games. During the event the house DJ entertained the crowd with his party mixes while the barmen were offering free Latino-themed snacks and drinks to everybody. The resort chefs had to lay the tomatoes in the sun for three days prior to the event, which made them ripe and safe to fight with. Fire brigade was also on site and willing to offer their hoses with running water to remove the squashed tomatoes from the participants’ bodies…The festival of tomatoes was held for the first time in 1945 in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the East of Spain 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Mediterranean, in which participants would throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.”

You say “tomato…I say ‘incoming!’.”

Kandima - tomato festival 2

Best of the Maldives: Halloween Party – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - halloween party

Happy Halloween!

When we moved to the UK in the early nineties, the British didn’t really celebrate Halloween. It’s since become a more popular holiday, but nothing on par with the USA where it is the second biggest celebration after Christmas. It’s sort of the dream kids holiday – they get to dress up and get free candy. Not wanting to deprive our own little ones of this annual ritual, we hosted our own quite spooktacular Halloween fun all through their childhood and became quite expert in these lavish affairs.

Many resorts will have a few decorations out today and a few sweeties on hand for the young’uns, but Hideaway Beach is the first resort I found that has assembled a comprehensive set of Halloween festivities with all the de rigeur traditions…

  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Creepy Mask Making
  • A Spooky Movie
  • Scary & Spooky Face Paint
  • Trick or Treat Activities
  • Fashion Show Costume Contest

Appropriately, Hideaway Beach is where we first (and only time) spotted a Ghost Pipe Fish (see photo below).  Which make me think that if I could get to the Maldives for Halloween, I would go dresses as a Batfish (Batfish crazy!).

Hideaway Beach - ghost pipe fish

Best of the Maldives: Oktoberfest – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli - Oktoberfest

München in the Maldives. Jumeirah Vittaveli celebrated a colourful festival of its own during this eponymous month – Oktoberfest.

  • “Jumeirah Vittaveli is proud to announce their collaboration with an authentic Bavarian costume designer – Daniel Fendler has been designing stylish ‘Tracht’ for more than 15 years…Guests visiting beachside restaurant MU Beach Bar & Grill will be welcomed by waitresses and waiters decked out in authentic Bavarian garb – from Dirndl, over apron, to Lederhosen for the gentlemen. With the mood properly set for a fun day in the sun, the resort’s ‘Bierzelt-Bedienungen’ (waiters/waitresses) will serve guests a selection of authentic Bavarian dishes such as Nuernberger, Frankfurter or Kasseler Rippchen, accompanied by a traditional refreshing German drink.”

In fact, we recently helped host an Oktoberfest in our back garden. It is such a lively tradition focused on food, beer and music.

Prost! O’zapft.

Best of the Maldives: Bodu Mas – Summer Island

Summer Island - Bodu Mas

Eid ul Adha starts today. For non-Muslims you may have thought that “Eid” had already passed. Well, Eid ul Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan did take place in June. It often gets a high profile due to its association with Ramadan, but to many Islamic scholars, Eid ul Adha is actually a bigger event marking a more sacred event and calling for bigger celebrations.

A few do it bigger than Summer Island with their distinctly Maldivian celebration called “Bodu Mas”…

“Bodu Mas is a tradition a lot of local islanders have during the Eid after Hajj day. We call it Bodu Eid, this Eid is for religiously and traditionally known for celebration and we usually get a longer holiday as well. Bodu Mas is usually accompanied by Maali neshun (ie. dance by a group of people painted and dressed up as Maali – ghosts). If I am not wrong, the story goes like this – A big fish (Modu was) together with Maali (ghosts) comes out from the sea and the men and women in the island tries to catch it. They finally manage to catch it with the help of a holyman in the island, finally ending the night with dancing of the Maali. In summer island, this year, we also brought out a Koadi, the big decorated thing in the front of the parade. However, there is a completely different story this. I think traditionally in different islands, they do it differently. We did a bit of everything. At the local island they do it every year. It’s a custom that has been passed on from years. There was a time that this discontinued in some islands, however, I think, with cultural and traditional awareness, more islands have started practicing these traditional rituals now. First time for Summer Island Maldives as well, and since we had many local guests staying during Eid, it was a fun event, and a great experience for tourists alike.” – General Manager Mariya Shareef

Their “Koadi” is also, by a long shot, the “Best Palm Folding” in the Maldives.

Eid Mubarak!

Summer Island - Bodu Mas 2

Best of the Maldives: Facebook Live – LUX South Ari Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - live event

If you want to get that much closer to “being there” in the Maldives with their holiday spectacles, then check out LUX South Ari Atoll’s Facebook Live events. This week they featured their fire show by Totem Entertainment as well as Santa’s arrival by seaplane.

Facebook Live is just the latest in LUX’s social media pioneering. Led by marketing manager Dolores Semeraro, LUX was one of the first resorts to embrace Twitter with active and creative uses (like her Twitter chats).

LUX south Ari Atoll - santa seaplane visit

Best of the Maldives: Pageant – Paradise Island

Paradise Island - pageant

The holidays are filled with treats and at Paradise Island this week one fashion feast is the annual holiday pageant where one lucky sun-kissed guest will be crowned “Miss Paradise”….

  • “’Miss Paradise’ is one of the evening events included in our Christmas and New Year program. The participants/pageants are from the in-house guests and panel of judges are also selected from the house. It is a short event conducted at the Main Bar floor with a small runway selecting and announcing the winners.”

Most Christmas pageants I’ve ever been to involve toddlers dressed up as shepherds and sheep falling over each other while they mumble out contrived verses.

Paradise Island - pageant 2

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Oil Making Class – Soneva Fushi

Extracting the very essence of the magic coconut fruit is so easy a child could do it. In fact. at Soneva Fushi, children do do it at the resort’s exquisite summer camp programme

“We head to the spa, where the spa therapist will help the children make fresh coconut oil using coconuts of the island, the children are given the opportunity to take part in all aspects of making the oil.”

Sounds a bit better than the “bug juice” and frigid lake swims when I went to Camp Belknap as a child. If you want to give it a go at home, I’ve found a pretty handy video guide above.