I came across a good collection of virtual tours, “10 Maldives Resorts with Virtual Tours” (for trip research or just your own vicarious escapism to paradise). Some are just 360 degree aerial photography. Some are simply panorama videos on YouTube. Some are galleries of 360 degree perspectives of various places around the island. Some do have hot spots that you can click on for drill-down panoramas. Malahini Kuda Bandos is close, but Kandima goes that step further with a clearer layout and more extensive range of island places you can explore created by “Digitally Immersive Virtual Experiences” or D.I.V.E.
One of the key criteria to a great house reef is accessibility. The intra-atoll drop-of-sand islands typically have house reefs a few metres from shore. You don’t have to juggle the logistics of signing up to a resort excursion to take you to some snorkel spot. Instead, you can just dive in and the aquatic wonderland reveals itself to you instantly. It is not just the convenience of proximity, but also a bit of reassurance. Despite the fact that you might be standing metre (on the sand not the coral, please!) in merely a metre of mill pond calm water, there is still something unsettling about swimming hundreds of yards off shore. And snorkeling can take a bit of energy so if you have had a particularly extensive outing, then the last thing you relish is an extended swim back to shore.
The islands that on the outer reef tend to be on broad tables which may make for expansive lagoons, but make for either weak or distant house reefs. Some of the resorts on these islands will typically offer regularly excursions taking people to the edge in a dhoni for an easy splash onto the reef.
Kandima does sit on an outer reef plateau and it has gone a step further to support house reef snorkeling constructing a platform in the lagoon relatively close to the edge. You can use it as a base camp for your house reef expedition. Or just for some middle of the ocean swimming or sun bathing.
One of my favourite hangouts for my first stint as a travel writer and destination research in Togo, West Africa was the Café des Artes. The little tea shop displays and sold a variety of works from local artists including distinctive tapestries by an artist named Helga whose pieces are the pride of my African art collection. That local creativity set in a relaxing place to sip cold drinks and nibble treats all came flooding back to me when I stepped into Kandima’s Art Café. The joint sits adjacent to the resort’s art studio (so you can pop in for a coffee break while working on your Maldives masterpiece). The floor-to-ceiling windows look out over one of the rare inland lakes to be found on a resort island while also adds to the visual aesthetic. And if that’s not enough inspiration, the cafe serves cakes as artistic as the surroundings themselves.
As the football season winds down caped by Liverpool’s win last night, more and more footie stars are heading to the Maldives for some post-season recuperative therapy. Bunyamin’s legendary feed is packed recently with star players invading paradise over the past week.
If they start to miss kicking around the ball, then the most idyllic venue would be Kandima’s seaside pitch. Kind of evokes the luxurious coastal cachet of AC Monaco’s Stade Louis II (while the infrastructure is undoubtedly more modest, one could argue that the scenery is even better). Yes, most of the players are resident staff, but guests are always welcome to join in. Most of the time, these football grounds are sequestered in the interior of the island in the staff area. But Kandima has kindly situated its pitch right by the beach. So for the spectators, if the match gets boring (like most of last nights Champions League final), they can always gaze out on the picturesque ocean. Of maybe, amble over to the adjacent badminton court with the same seaside positioning some racquet fun.
From the shape of water, to getting in shape in water. Kandima’s fitness pool features water jets that guests and swim against to add to the exertion. Or, if they are salmon, to prepare for the upstream spawning journey.
Today is the 11th “Day of Christmas” according to the “12 Days of Christmas” tradition which runs from Christmas day to Epiphany Sunday (tomorrow). The Eleventh Day of Christmas today is famously brought 11 Pipers Piping. I think Kandima needed at least that many to do all the icing piping on their Gingerbread spectacle (not to mention the goodies inside).