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.
“Sky of blue. And sea of green” – Ringo Starr
With the cancellation of the Sri Lankan Airlines direct service and British Airways curtailing its own London-Male service in the summer months, most UK travel to Maldives has required the tedious stop-over. But the customer-focused Virgin Airways has not only stepped into the breach with its own daily direct service to the Maldives, but it has done with an aeronautic innovation so appropriate to the destination…glass bottomed planes.
Richard Branson himself announced, “The Maldives is a destination renowned for its spectacular seascape. People marvel at its aquatic sights underneath the surface with glass floors in many villas and they do so when they fly above this amazeballs azure archipelago. It is the perfect destination to launch our new state-of-the-art planes which lets every passenger enjoy this turquoise tapestry when they arrive.”
Using the same pressure-resistance, high tensile strength glass that the famous underwater restaurants there use, every seat is a window seat! The scenic wonder is ideal for that climactic arrival to the otherworldly archipelago as the distinctive tapestry of blues emerge in the seascape below. I much prefer these windows-full planes to the windowless planes the industry has been talking about recently. And lest you think this can’t be real, see the full details on Virgin’s website – “Virgin launches glass-bottomed plane”.
Another aquatic portal to add to the Maldives flotilla is Bandos’ glass bottomed boat. This one with a more playfully youthful quality decorated in marine critters. More “Finding Nemo” than “Captain Nemo”.
If windows over the ocean is not good enough for you, how about windows under the ocean?
You can go diving in the crystal clear colourful waters of the Maldives without a scuba course or even holding your breath. Conrad Maldives Rangali features a Nemo submersible.
“Built in Germany by Nemo Tauchtouristik, the Nemo N100 submarine can dive to 30 metres and seats three people: two passengers and a trained pilot. Looking like something from a futuristic space cartoon, the submarine is bright orange with white stripes, characteristic of a clown fish (“Nemo” in the Disney film) with three acrylic glass ‘pods’ sticking out of the top offering the submariners 360-degree views of the underwater world they’re passing through. With the submarine’s arrival in late February, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is the only resort to offer its own daily submarine tours to its guests, naturally subject to weather conditions. The price for one dive is US$495 for two people, or US$280 for one person.”
Our family went on a submersible in Mauritius and it was great fun. It is a great activity for young children to both as a unique ride in its own right as well as a way to expose them to undersea marvels before they can snorkel or snorkel easily in deeper water.
10,000 micro-leagues under the sea.
If you really have a crowd, then consider Kurumba’s own glass bottom boat for a undersea glimpse of the Maldives aquatic delights. The bigger boat with more glass area does provide a bit more opportunity to see a broader range. The excursion is great for under those under 6 too little to snorkel. Or perhaps anyone else who can’t take in the joys of snorkelling for one reason or another.
Unparalleled snorkelling and work class diving aren’t the only way to explore all of these QI curiosities in the Maldives. If you don’t want to spoil your finely coiffed ‘do, then consider a glass bottomed boat excursion. A number of resorts offer them – Reethi Beach, Kurumba, Baros, Conrad Rangali, Paradise Island, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Taj Vivanta Coral Reef.
But the top of the line in this unique class of ocean vessels is the Paritetboat brand which both Paradise Island (photo above) and Conrad Maldives Rangali (photo below) feature.
“Paritetboat company developed unique ultra-durable bottom window shaped as an optically regular spheroid of never seen before size 2×3 m – it is the biggest size all over the world. Our glass is made of modified acrylic and has thickness 15 mm it’s more solid than fiber glass boat hull. It allows to enlarge field of view dozens times as compared to ordinary glass bottom boats. For instance, field of view at 9 meter depth is half basketball playground size.”