The Maldives seascape is a world of extremes. The house reefs are often dramatic, colourful, textured, vibrant spectacles. The lagoons, on the other hand, can be vast expanses of underwater deserts of endless, featureless white sand. A number of resorts have introduced a range of Reefscaping initiatives to brighten up their lagoon, but none more funky than the work of Diverland (the resident dive operation) at Summer Island.
In the lakes of England where they teach diving, they submerge bicycles, shopping trolleys, anything to provide some visual interest to the otherwise boring landscape. Summer Island has quite a quirky collection shown in the chart above and include a phone booth and a lamp post (see photo at bottom). All of the items are marked with a red buoy (12 in total) making it easier to find and navigate your swimming to them.
Summer Island also features probably the easiest beginner “wreck dive” one could ever find. They have sunk a sand barge and an old speedboat. Reminds me of the post-war practice by the American and British of scuttling obsolete naval vessels to provide reefs for recreational diving and promotion of sea life. Also, the closest thing to #7 in the 4th collection of “Haven’t Seen Yet”.
What really floats my boat when it comes to this hobby is discovering something I haven’t seen before. Having stayed at more Maldives resorts than anyone in the world, as well as regularly researching and scanning the digiverse for the latest developments, it’s harder to stumble upon something I haven’t seen. By my recent Instagram trawling yielded this nugget from Constance Halaveli. A HamacLand canopied garden raft described as “a cross between a personal island and a private VIP floating lounge”. Complete with his and her hammocks for swaying in the gentle ocean breeze and undulating ocean current.
Rolling out the blue carpet for the Oscars tonight, Soneva Jani puts the “paradise” in Cinema Paradiso (or vice versa)…
- “Cinema Paradiso is the first overwater silent cinema in the Maldives! Guests are provided with Bluetooth headphones, leaving the surrounding nesting wildlife at peace. We love classic and inspirational movies and have a twice weekly movie selection for both children and adults. Relax on the comfortable loungers under the stars, and snack on fresh popcorn. Private screenings and dining experiences can be arranged at extra charge.”
Sort of a halfway step to the “Jaws Challenge” of the Haven’t Seen (Part 10, Number 17), but close enough for “Sharknado” or “Deep Blue Sea” viewings.
Gili Lankanfushi’s wedding pavilion is its very own ‘best of the Maldives’ collection all rolled into one stunning Maldives medley – an over water traditionally styled villa with glass floors looking down to aquamarine lagoons to celebrate one’s nuptials in paradise.
Water Polo Day today. The birthday of William Wilson’s who created the sport. Another sport invented by the British and then they stopped being good at (like football, badminton, rugby, and we’ll see about the upcoming cricket). I’ve always a bit surprised there is not more of this sport in the Maldives. In Italy, lots of seaside harbours have water polo nets and boundaries set up for playing. Angsana Velavaru is the only resort I have found offering it. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:00 – 7:00 pm free of charge. So get your fill of egg-beater kicks and chocolate whistles.
Today is International Frugal Fun Day. When I think of frugal fun, I think of my childhood of bicycling down to the local pond and swimming in the muck filled water. Maybe not the tropical paradise of the azure blue Maldives lagoons, but on a blistering August day just as satisfying. The best part was the raft you swam out to for jumping, diving and just messing about. One and Only Reethi Rah might not be the most frugal resorts (quite the contrary, in fact), but it stills brings that retro-chic nostalgia of a swimming raft. A bit more opulently kitted out with a parasol, lounger and refreshment cabinet.
I’ve lauded the Taj Exotica lagoon in my tour piece (“Turquoise Extremica”), but I do think it is worthy of a special “Best of the Maldives” commendation. Theirs is one of the biggest lagoons in the entire Maldives at over 200 acres. It is the biggest we have seen since Velassaru and LUX South Ari Atoll (bigger than Velassaru and more sheltered than LUX).
But Taj Exotica doesn’t just rest on its lagoon laurels, but instead has invested in it extensively to maximise the lagoon experience. As such, it is probably the most accessorised lagoon we have come across. I already highlighted their extensive coral frame initiative (see photo bottom). It includes not only the obligatory lagoon hammock, but also a lagoon swing (see photo above). The resort also has built special over water pavilions (see below) both attached (below) and detached (above) from the island. And it has even dressed up its beach preserving groynes (see below).
The horizon to horizon stretch of cyan scenery is not just something to gaze at, but also something to immerse yourself in, ever if you don’t want to get wet.
The definitive activity in the Maldives might be snorkelling, but the definitive “look” of the Maldives are its lagoons. But a lagoon is more than a pretty pictures. Here is my lakers dozen Lagoon Accessories to make the most tranquil lagoon as active and colourful as any house reef…
1. HAMMOCK – Anantara Dhigu
2. DECK – Baros
3. RAFTS – One & Only Reethi Rah
4. CORAL TOPIARY – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
5. CLIMBING WALL – Hideaway Beach
6. DINING AREA – Angsana Ihuru
7. CATCH – Kurumba
8. SHADED DINING – Centara Ras Fushi
9. DIRECTIONS – Anantara Kihavah
10. WINE BAR – Kurumba
11. POOL – Velassaru
12. VOLLEYBALL – Angsana Velavaru
13. GROYNE ISLAND – Maafushi
14. SWING – Anantara Dhigu
An even more authentically Maldivian water sport is Angsana Velavaru’s lagoon volleyball. Offered each day from 6:00 to 7:00 pm free of charge. Great for those ‘diving’ digs and pancakes.
After all that lagoon drinking, you might need a place to lie down for a bit. For a growing number of resorts, you won’t have to go far. One of the most popular lagoon accessory is the over water hammock. Years ago, this feature was quite distinctive, but now it is becoming (rightfully) more popular. Here is your guide to lagoon lounging in the Maldives…
1. Anantara Dhigu
3. Gili Lankanfushi
6. The Rania Experience
10. Taj Coral Reef
11. Six Senses Laamu
12. Summer Island
13. Vilu Reef