World Snorkeling Day – 30 July

World Snorkeling Day

Maldives Complete declares today, 30 July, “World Snorkeling Day”!

There is a “Day” for just about everything. Just in this blog, I have celebrated…

Not to mention, National Days for USA, Italy, China, Turkey, Japan, South Africa and of course the Maldives. In fact, Wikipedia lists over 200 international days of observance.

And yet for the one thing in the Maldives where it stands heads and shoulders above all other destinations, there is no “Snorkeling Day”? June is SCUBA Month with its own special “Dive In Day” (11 June).

I have decided on today – July 30 – as it is the birth of the snorkel. On this day in 1932, Joseph L. Belcher patented “Belcher Breathing Apparatus”.

One detail I do need to clarify is the spelling. One L or two and I’m not talking lumps. The UK spelling is “snorkelling” and the American spelling is “snorkeling”. On this very blog, being an American relocated to England, I go back and forth between both so it is admittedly confusing.

However you spell it, today spell reef madness time so get on your fins, mask and snorkel to enjoy the underwater spectacle of the oceans.

Best of the Maldives: Triathlon Team – Kurumba

Kurumba - Triathlon

Also flying around the hazardous cobbles of Male, nearly as death defying as the Red Bull skateboarding crew, is the Kurumba triathlon team. The only resort team in this the Maldives’ second ever triathlon, Thinvaru Triathlon.

Team Kurumba broke up the event by discipling with each member completing a different leg/discipline…

  • Swimming: Recreation Manager, Aishath Rizuna
  • Cycling: General Manager, Jason Kruse
  • Running: Fleet Manager, Shameem Mohamed

Each team member prepared extensively, but the big event was full of challenges and not just the obvious multi-disciplinary, cardio-pulmonary ones.

Rizu is always in the water and the swimming leg was held in a protected part of the ocean by Male. Nonetheless, it was Rizu’s very first competitive swim (and she’s not a big fan over wearing goggles).

Jason rides on a home cycle trainer 4-5 times a week, but quickly discover that IRL is a bit different. First of all, this non-native had to just find his way around one of the smallest capital cities in the world (Shameem had to take Jason for a motorbike ride around the course the day before the event so that he would not get lost). And on the day, the roads weren’t actually closed for the event. So Jason and other cyclists had to dodge cars, motorbikes and anything else that wandered onto the streets. All racing full speed along some pretty rough and cobbled surfaces. “Risky to say the least,” Jason noted.

Shameen runs 5-6 times per week for health and fitness. And he had to face perhaps the most bizarre hazard of all as he was confronted by a steady barrage of people on motorbikes coming up to photograph (pap life).

Jason summarised the event saying, “Really interesting with the road surface and that the roads were not closed…Bit of extreme cycling and running. Personally, I loved the well set out transition with the shoes, for the mountain bike with the colourful spokie dokiesWe also really liked that many different people at different fitness levels gave it a try. From Maldives fastest swimmer and runner, to some competitors who were there just to try and finish.

But Team Kurumba didn’t just finish, but came in with an impressive 9th place overall team finish.

The next event is being planned for Hulemale in May 2016. Yay Kurumba.

Best of the Maldives: Whale Shark Event – LUX* Maldives

LUX Maldives - whale shark sand sculpture

Forget the 3-days off of Monday’s holiday (Summer Bank Holiday in the UK, Labor Day in the USA), the highlight this weekend is Discovery Channel’s mega #Shweekend! And LUX Maldives is coincidentally holding its own shark celebration of most mega-shark of all – Whale Shark…

“LUX* Maldives will team up once again this year with the Maldivian Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) and IUCN for the organization of the Whale Shark Festival, to be held at Maamigili Island on the 29th of August. ‘To raise once again awareness of conservation issues and the marine diversity in the Maldives, LUX* Maldives has decided to support the volunteers working for MWSRP in sponsoring the Festival.’ A whale shark replica competition, sea-creatures sand sculptures and painting competition alongside a family scavenger hunt and special ‘cinema paradiso’ sessions with marine life documentaries will be organized. Above all, the participation of highly experienced Maldivian artists including the famous Maldivian singer Unoosha, as guest of honor will permit to add a heart-lighted exposition of the event across the South Ari Atoll, Malé and beyond. Unoosha will be performing as part of the Festival’s Finale and will be one of the three judges looking at costume design, the whale shark mascots and mobile art work created by local island communities.”

If you are planning your own holiday #Shweekend celebration, you might consider a tuna salad on the menu from Marks & Spencer. M&S have teamed up specifically with the Maldives to fund “Project Greenfin” which provides training and other resources to the Maldivian fishing community so they don’t have to rely on any shark fishing for their income and M&S have made a commitment to source only eco-friendly tuna.

Cue cellos!

LUX Maldives - whale shark festival

Best of the Maldives: Charity Gala – Kurumba

Kurumba - party with a purpose 1

‘Tis the season. Not the season to be jolly, but “The Season” to be generous. May kicks off the start of the social “season” here in London with Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley bringing out the picnics of champagne, strawberries and cream. And the circuit of charity balls bringing out the black tie and sequined gowns for good causes.

Kurumba has joined the season-al spirit with its own fundraising “Party with a Purpose”:

On Friday 24th April Kurumba Maldives proudly hosted the fundraising event “Party with a Purpose”. This event was held for the fourth year running in aid of 72 orphaned children residing at “Kudakudhinge Hiyaa” located on Villingili island. Support from 10 different Maldivian performers, many suppliers and partners contributed to raise over US$21,000. This upcoming year, the funds will be destined to the development of the “Early Childhood Play and Development Training Programme” for caretakers, in cooperation with the local non-governmental organization ARC – Advocating the Rights for the Children, amongst other projects. Local artists volunteered their time to perform Maldivian and international tunes with bands, DJ’s and a Bodu Beru groups performing for guests’ enjoyment.”

 

Kurumba - party with a purpose 2

Best of the Maldives: Charity Challenge – Anantara Dhigu

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge

Never mind the scented cloths and tropical cocktails, Anantara Dhigu has introduced an even more refreshing way to cool down…

“Torsten Richter, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Maldives resorts in South Male Atoll, Maldives, accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations towards medical research…The event was held at the resorts’ weekly cocktail gathering and was attended by 200 guests, with 50 guests and associates stepping under the bucket throughout the course of the evening for a brief shower with chilled Indian Ocean water.”

As a marketer, I have been intrigued by the dynamics of the whole Ice Bucket phenomenon which has spread across the world. I think there are some who seeks to inspire a fraction of the engagement and excitement that the challenge has.

Kudos to the Dhigu team for embracing the phenomenon with such gusto and creativity.  Bill Gates would be impressed.

 

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge 2

 

Anantara Dhigu - Ice Bucket Challenge 3

Best of the Maldives: Road Race – Traders Hotel

Red Bull catch the ferry

 

This is a race that any seasoned traveller can relate to. Running to catch your plane, train or…ferry. I remember speeding through the French countryside trying to get to Cherbourg in time for boarding. Hence the basis for another inspired Red Bull competition “Catch the Ferry” this time sited in the picturesque Maldives…

“On May 31, 2014, Red Bull Catch the Ferry will challenge Maldivian endurance runners in an exciting 12.6km race around all three of Malé City’s islands – Male', Villingili and Hulhumale'. To progress, runners need to make it around each of the routes shown on the route map and catch the ferry before it departs to the next leg of the race. Ferries leave at progressively quicker intervals as runners are filtered to the elite of the Maldivian endurance running community. The fastest female and male winner of the race will be crowned champions, with winners getting an opportunity to travel to the Almáty edition of Red Bull 400 in August 2014, the toughest 400m race in the world”

The best view of this innovative road-sea duathlon would be from the “high” rise Traders Hotel where you could watch both the Villigili legs to the west and the Hulumale legs to the north from their lovely Azur lounge, but for those of us overseas, their Facebook page has lots of good photos and commentary.

Best of the Maldives: Whale Shark Event – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali whale shark festival

 

 

Festival season has begun with Glastonbury kicking off this week. But in the Maldives the festivals are even wetter than the infamous British versions, and instead of willies, snorkel and fins are more de rigeur. And the ‘big acts’ aren’t aging rockers, but prehistoric monsters! A big shout out to Conrad Maldives Rangali for their gala “Maldivian Whale Shark Festival” which takes to the stage today drawing people from all over the Maldives and the world…

“The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) in association with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will launch the first Maldivian Whale Shark Festival in South Ari atoll on 29th June 2013. This one-day festival has been created to highlight the potential cooperative initiatives between resorts and local island communities while providing a positive platform from which to raise awareness of this magnificent species….Activities include whale shark excursions, an ecological treasure hunt, cultural demonstrations, guest presentations about whale sharks and coral reef ecology, participatory performance art coordinated by London based arts company Emergency Exit Arts and of course traditional bodu beru music and Maldivian food. Guests from surrounding resorts and local islands are invited to join the day of whale shark related festivities on Dhigurah Island in South Ari atoll.”

Posh mosh!

Super Moon

Full moon over ocean

It’s a bulb, it’s ablaze, it’s Super Moon.

The Maldives are renowned for being one of the top worldwide destinations for ‘Honeymoons’ so named for that time when love is sweetest. The “Super Moon” is more famous for fertility. Though recent scientific evidence has debunked that traditional belief, what science does confirm is that the moon is bigger (14%) and brighter (30%) than usual. This shift is due to the Moon’s elliptical orbit which just happens to hit its closest point to the Earth this Sunday.

Sounds romantic enough for me.

Best of the Maldives: Astronomy Week – Gangehi

Gangehi astro milliionaro

 

 

 

 

Most of the special events in the Maldives take one down into the water (like Six Sense Laamu’s Water Wo/Men event). But equally as sparkling as the turquoise lagoons and shimmering reefs is the firmament of stars above. Usually at least once during our Maldives visits, we lie down on the warm sand after dinner to gaze at the night sky packed with stars with a flourish of Milky Way across the middle.

Resorts are catching on to this night time showpiece with increasing numbers offering telescopes, beach star gazing sessions, eclipses, observatories and special events. In fact, today’s post has prompted me to add a new category tag – ‘Astronomy’.

Gangehi is going a step further with an entire ‘Astronomy Week’ devoted to celestial celebration. The line-up includes…

  • Stargazing
  • “Astro-millionaire” game
  • Brief after-dinner astronomy talks
  • Let’s take a shoot to the moon
  • Astronomy walks

As it happens, tomorrow we enter the ‘Lagu’ period of the ‘Seed Moon’ which is Celtic for ‘Flowing Water’ (!). The Runic Calendar of Nordic traditions, which is governed by half months rather than full months, divides this moon of the year by Man (Human) from April 14th through April 28th, and Lagu from April 29th through May 13th.

If you are interested in marking other big astronomical events in your diary, then check out this handy reference chart for 2013 of "13 Must See Star Gazing Events in 2013".

Star attraction!