Sex on the Reef

Coral Polyps

Now that I have your attention! (you know, sometimes titles just write themselves…though ‘Polypamory’ was a really close runner-up). 

The Maldives is renowned for newly betrothed couples consummating their nuptials with a honeymoon celebration. But the very microscopic creatures who built the Maldives over millennia, coral polyps, will be celebrating a honeymoon of their own this week in rather distinctive style. Their rather exotic ‘bedroom’ habits certainly put the ‘moon’ in the ‘honeymoon’. That is according to this month’s Scientific American featuring a piece about Coral Polyp reproduction

“It is hard to court the opposite sex when you are cemented in place, which explains why polyps—the tiny creatures whose exoskeletons form corals—do not reproduce by mating. Instead they cast millions of sperm and eggs into the sea, where they drift up to the ocean surface, collide, form larvae and float away to form new coral reefs. Polyps may not be picky about their “mates,” but they are sticklers for timing. The polyps in a coral reef will “blow” their eggs and sperm simultaneously in quick frenzies for just one, or maybe a few, consecutive nights a year—and they usually do so shortly after sunset on evenings closely following a full moon…A reef generally picks one day during a full moon in summer to blow, for 20 minutes or so, during the twilight hours.”

I guess if we were going to grant a ‘Best of’ accolade for ‘Reef Romance’ it would have to go to none other than the to Sheraton’s eponymous ‘Full Moon’ resort.

As it happens, this June’s Full Moon offers a special treat as well of an ‘extra long Lunar Eclipse. MSNBC reportsThis month’s full moon will pass almost directly through the center of Earth’s shadow on Wednesday in what will be an unusually long total eclipse of the moon, 100 minutes. The next total lunar eclipse of exceptional length will be July 27, 2018, and will last 106 minutes.”

The Full Moon this week rises at 8:14 pm on Wednesday 15th June. It promises to be quite the eventful evening from sea to sky.

Photo Paradise

Sunrise Hug

The upcoming ‘Times Travel Photo Competition’ and the incorporation of the some of my favourite pictures of the Maldives by Sakis evoke own favourite pictures. The photo above is not just one of the my favourite photos we have taken in the Maldives (taken by my wife Lori), but one of my favourite photos of all time. It captures the peace of experiencing the embrace of loved ones and the sanctuary of a cherished place and moment.

The picture was taken on the very last day of our very first trip to the Maldives. We visited Laguna Beach (now revamped and relaunched as Velassaru). My wife Lori was up early with anticipation and too soak up the last little bit of paradise. Sitting at shore’s edge at sunrise, she glanced up to see two manta rays gliding slowing by in the lagoon. She rushed into the villa and roused me and our son Chase from our slumber to come see this magnificent treat. We missed the mantas, but we nonetheless treated to an array of other marine life scurrying about their dawn activities. I held Chase in my arms and we soaked up the moment that lives with me forever.

The picture is also an illustration of advice for family snappers that we now give with authority to young families in our veteran positions of empty nesters. When the kids are gone, we have piles of pictures of all sorts of special occasions – birthdays, holidays, performances. But what my wife and I reminisce about most are the simple, mundane, every day memories. “Do you remember how Chase always used to do…?” So the photographic advice is to ‘capture the everyday’. And the corollary to that rule is ‘capture affection’. Much as the special occasions were important at the time, what we miss most, and hence what images we savour and like to recall most, are those weekend morning cuddles, those welcome-home-Daddy wild abandon hugs, and holding joy in your arms on a quiet morning.

I’ve now started a Flickr stream for my favourite Maldives pix and have uploaded a few to start. The other one (shown below) is of a Blue Surgeon fish school. I love the colours and patterns of the Maldives. The Blue Surgeon fish is for many the aquatic mascot of the Maldives. The variegated blues offset by the streak of sunshine yellow seems to capture the Maldivian landscape in their little marine bodies. In fact, the Bleu Surgeonfish is the inspiration for the colour scheme to Maldives Complete.

Blue Surgeon fish school

Photosynth Maldives

Kurumba Photosynth

One of my tasks when I visited Kurumba last week was to get a boat and circumnavigate the island taking pictures to create a Maldives Photosynth. Thanks to the kind assistance of Andreas Ronecker of the Unlimited Watersports centre there, I got a full set of photos. Unfortunately, being my first go at a Photosynth, my ‘synth’ didn’t turn out as great as I would have liked. I didn’t get enough pictures for the calculation engine to map and model the island effectively. My ‘synthy’ measure was a low 12% so not many of the picture groups joined into a whole. Though you can take the tour around the ocean perimeter of the island using the ‘slide show’ function.

Not too worry, Maldive resorts are becoming more and more popular subjects for Photosynth and the Microsoft gallery now has 32 uploaded. Photosynth is sort of more than a 360 degree virtual tour. Because it builds a 3D model of the subject, you can really explore and get a sense of dimension and scale.

Greetings of the Season


Greetings are always a curious part of any language. The Hawaiians have ‘aloha’ which means ‘hello’ and ‘good bye’ as does the Italians’ ‘ciao’. The English – as in what people in England speak – have an all purpose word ‘cheers’ which can not only be used as ‘hello’ and ‘good bye’, but also ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’.

Dhivehi is the native language of the Maldives islands and it has no direct translation for ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ ( Instead, islanders greet each other with a smile or the raising of the eyebrow and just ask "where are you going?" followed by "what for?" The tradition evoked for me one of the earliest ever Dilbert cartoons show above (featured in Dilbert’s ‘Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies’).

Seasons Greetings!