One of the most popular posts on Maldives Complete and frequent topics on the TripAdvisor Maldives Forum concerns the best times of year for sunshine. Despite all of the spousal-celebration, scenery, snorkelling, surfing, super-deluxe, the “S” that is the Maldives’ first and foremost allure is the sunshine. Being an equatorial destination, the fact is that pretty much all of the Maldives is sunny and warm pretty much all of the time. Sure, there are bad days and there are a few times of year (eg. January through March) where the sunshine is uncannily persistent. But when people are shelling out for the life of a lifetime, they will split hairs on the securing just the best weather possible (mind you, I maintain that going to such obsessive lengths can lead to major disappointment if you catch some simply bad luck).
People always ask about the sunshine (or its other-side-of-the-coin, rainfall). They also ask about temperatures (air and water). But you don’t get many enquiries about the wind. Actually, the wind, or in most cases “breeze” really, can have as much of an impact on the climate as precipitation and temperature…
- Too much breeze…
- kicks up the water stirring the sand and reducing the crystal-clarity of the waters for snorkelling.
- limits romantic beach dining as sand gets blown into food, candles get blown out and table items get knocked over.
- Good breezes …
- hit reefs from the right direction drive currents into them for world-class surfing.
- off the water on a toasty day is that perfect cocktail of warmth and cooling.
- power great sailing, windsurfing or kite surfing. Comparing the prevailing winds to the location of the water sports center might optimise your fun if this activity is a big priority.
Guests also enquire about “sunset” or “sunrise” depending on whether they like to savour their daily solar ritual with a coffee or a cocktail (sunset is more popular by far). But the wind equivalent is “leeward” versus “windward”. Though this distinction changes with the season. In fact, the “monsoon” seasons are characterised by the shifting of the winds from one direction to another. So a leeward villa one part of the year will likely be windward another time.
So depending on whether you want a wafting or calm, you might want to check out the best resource on Maldives breezes, the “Wind Energy Resource Atlas of Sri Lanka and the Maldives”
For more real time indications, you can also check out the Wind Finder website which includes up-to-date tracking of Maldives conditions.
The whole mission of Maldives Complete is about easy to understand and access information. Maps are a great way to literally visualise the landscape of this paradise. So Maldives Complete has always been a fan of good maps like…
This week the Ministry of Tourism launched a handy resource where people can interactively explore the status of all of the Maldives islands in any atoll. This not only provides an up-to-date status on current resorts, but also provides the most comprehensive and easily accessible catalogue of upcoming projects.
Like the resurgent corals, the vibrant inter-web thingy just gets richer and more colourful every day. When I launched Maldives Complete, there was a really dearth of good, useful information about the resorts. The resorts themselves had weak and limited websites. Nowadays, things are much more sophisticated.
Probably my second favourite Maldives website, after Maldives Complete, is Sakis Papadopolous’ ‘Dreaming of Maldives’. Just as I started with an anchor of a comprehensive database, Sakis’ starts with simply the best collection of images on the Maldives around. But like Maldives Complete, he hasn’t rested there and has branched into a range of other areas. His section on families, “The child-friendly Resorts in Maldives, all the Kids-clubs,’ remains one of the most comprehensive reviews of resorts on the Maldives. He has started to move into videos with dazzling results. And his latest innovative addition is this ’Maldives Photo Map’.
When I first launched Maldives Complete, one of the fun bits I added was the DeepZoom control of the British Admiralty Maps of the country. As I launched it, you can zoom into the charts to exacting detail. I had fantasized about pushing this party trick even further. I had pictures for both aerial shots of the island and prominent features like the swimming pool. I had thought that once one zoomed into an island, you would see an aerial photo (see directly below). And if you zoomed in on the photo, then it would take you to a shot of the pool (see bottom). A bit like a Russian doll photographic drill down reminiscent of the second half of the iconic film, ‘Powers of Ten’.
In the end, I didn’t see a lot of traffic on my interactive map and Microsoft never really developed the Deep Zoom technology much. Its editing tool, Deep Zoom Composer, remained klunky and incomplete. So I decided it would be too much work to add these extra layers of images. Also, soon the Google and Bings maps caught up on the imagery and so the aerial shots were pretty good. And now Sakis has taken the final step of allowing you to zoom even closer into gorgeous shots of island highlights.
Here is a post with a little less gravity. Literally. (thanks Adrian).
All Maldives aficionados know that there is something special about the Maldives. Something unique about its landscape and topology that is simply not found anywhere else on the planet. It turns out that such distinction might extend beyond the expansive lagoons and mottled turquoise reef waters.
The European Space Agency (ESA) recently published findings from its pioneering GOCE (Gravity-Field Ocean Circulation Explorer) satellite measuring the gravitational field of the Earth. As the map above shows, the epicentre of the lowest gravity point on the planet is focused right over the Maldives.
My wife Lori and I joke how after a hard day’s work it seems as if someone must have turned up the gravity-thermostat in our house, because getting up off the couch seems to be as hard as jumping on Jupiter (and looking at the map, it seems that we weren’t too far off with our paranoia since in the UK since a large orange blog of extra strong gravity is looming right next door in the North Atlantic…my hypothesis is that this blob of extra gravity shifts on top of our house every Monday morning().
If you are thinking that this gravitational void is going to get you off the hook from multiple trips to the buffet, be aware that these variations in the gravitational field are quite minute and take sophisticated scientific equipment to detect (a sophistication that your bathroom scale is not likely to have).
But if you want to feel light on your feet, or have that ‘floating’ feeling (even on land), the Maldives is scientifically proven to be the lightest place on the planet.
How about an entirely new form of social media designed just for the Maldives?
Introducing ‘Snorkel Spotter’.
Snorkel Spotter is something I have dreamt of for a long time. It was inspired by my experience at Maldives resorts where snorkelling is so popular and the most common question around the bar at night is ‘what did you see today?’ The question is not just marine curiosity and nor merely making conversation, but it is helpful reconnaissance into where one might decide to snorkel on your next outing.
I often suggested that resorts put up white boards at reception with a map of the island where guests could make a public note of what they had seen that day. Since no one took me up on it, I decided to create a virtual whiteboard. Sort of ‘Foursquare for Fish’ as one digerati put it.
If you want to add some sightings, you simply drag and drop the sea creature you saw from the menu at the left to the place around the island where you spotted it (use ‘Starfish’ for ‘all others’ of anything spotted you want to mention that is not included in the standard menu). A small pop-up will show allowing you to make a comment or add (optional) contact information.
If you want to see some spottings, then select Kurumba or W Retreat where I logged some of the sightings my wife and I made during out visit last summer. Also, a beta tester ‘Aurore’ logged a couple of sightings for Sheraton Full Moon and W Retreat as well.
It’s just version 1.0 so it might not be perfect. I have a number of planned enhancements and suspect that once people start using it, other improvements will become evident. Feel free to contact me with any suggestions or problems.
Maps are a big thing for Maldives Complete. When you have 100+ resorts on a 1,192 islands a map is pretty critical. And the unique topology is one of the things that makes the Maldives a front runner contender for the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of the World’. One of my highlights of any trip to the Maldives is when the airplane finally arrives in Maldives airspace and the dappling of stunning blues start to appear in the ocean below.
Maldives Complete already features both Bing maps and resort maps on each resort profile as well as a unique ‘Deep Zoom’ version of the classic British Admiralty charts. Now, thanks to Francis Negrin once again, I have another to share.
The Maldives Department of Planning has posted its official atoll maps accompanied by an official resort listing on the web. Since Francis highlighted it to me a while back, I have found it extremely useful as the definitive source on resort status, names and geo information.
As Francis commented, “this collection of maps is amazing and the only worthwhile maps of maldives I have ever seen. it shows all the existing resorts with real and current commercial names shown in blue, and also in blue are all the islands set aside for resort development . It makes it easier to then go on google earth to see what the islands are like from above, or search the internet for news about new resorts opening (an otherwise quasi impossible task)… or to see what uninhabited or inhabited islands are near certain resort islands etc. and it is relatively up to date (2009).”