Best of the Maldives: Night Kite Surfing – Kuredu

Kuredu - night kite surfing

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars…” – Frank Sinatra

Kuredu takes watersports to new heights and times with its Ocean Water Sport “Night Kite Surfing”:

  • The full moon comes around only 12 times a year, or on rare occasions, sometimes 13. To have a full moon as well as the wind in Maldives, is quite special, so when the two combined recently we made the best of it and hit the water at night. Safety first, a couple of LED lights and a few dive glow sticks (don’t tell the dive centre) were attached to the kites, a short briefing was held and we were ready. With only a slight cloud cover the full moon made its appearance and eight kiters enjoyed perfect conditions in the Kuredu lagoon, right in front of the Ocean WaterSport centre.”

I have to say that soaring above the moonlight seas (which are often especially calm at night) would be quite the experience.

Best of the Maldives: Lights Out Event – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru / Angsana Ihuru

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - dawn till dusk

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru holds a monthly event to raise awareness of energy conservation to reduce carbon footprint by completely shutting off all electrical lights on the resort for 12 hours:

  • “Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru launched a 12-hour lights-off event under the name ‘Connect to Earth from Dusk till Dawn’ on September 14. The monthly occurrence is scheduled for full moons in order to take advantage of natural luminescence while the two resorts switch off their lights from 1800 to 0600 hrs. Connect to Earth from Dusk Till Dawn is inspired by the Earth Hour Movement, an annual celebration marked by switching lights off for a one-hour period. ‘By switching off the lights for one hour, we can make a substantial difference in the energy consumption and we can help reduce the effect of global warming’, stated the General Manager of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru, Hicham Najdi…During the event, dubbed 6to6, restaurants and bars will be candlelit and a special full moon in-villa dinner can be arranged for guests upon request. The Marine Lab Team will also organize an ‘Under the Full Moon Night Snorkel’ to provide a unique underwater experience to the guests.”

The initiative is not just eco-friendly but imparts an extra romantic tone to the evening with candlelit areas and meals. Furthermore, turning off the lights in one of the few electrified places in that part of the ocean reduces light pollution making star gazing all the more dazzling.

Best of the Maldives: Night Glass Bottom Boat – Olhuveli

Olhuveli - glass bottom boat

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

Best of the Maldives: Glow SUP – Kandolhu

Kandolhu - SUP glow

Flying above the house reef with its own night time navigational lights is Kandolhu’s inspired night boarding…

We attach LED lights to the bottom which can change colour (or guests can select a colour) allowing you to see into the water without getting wet.”

There is something surreal about the ocean at night. And as with many habitats, a whole new host of creatures come alive and active. Not to mention a captivating way to surround yourself with a canopy of stars.

Offered Monday through Friday 6:30 to 7:30 for 1 to 2 guests per tour at $45 pp

Best of the Maldives: Night Beach Football – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - night beach football

The moon isn’t the only enchanting orb to lighten up the night time at Huvafenfushi. The resort holds regular night beach football games including regular tournaments (we were there to watch the Ramadan World Cup semi finals – see below). Their sandy pitch includes full stadium lighting and boundary markings.

Huvafenfushi - mini World Cup

Best of the Maldives: Moonlight Massage – Velaa

Velaa - moonlight massage

Tonight is the “Flower Moon”. Also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon. It marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

The perfect time for one of Velaa’s “Moonlight Massages”. It is only offered once a month on nights with a full moon. And tonight’s would seem particular apt to stimulate your own personal blossoming.

With this post, I’ve added the new tag of “Moon” for all those lunar luxuries.


Best of the Maldives: Night Paddling – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - night paddling

For a more stable aquatic night life, Six Senses Laamu offers night paddling. Just another offering in the surging surf scene where the colourful tranquil lagoons are (protected by the long reef which make for world-class gentle surf breaks) ideal for the more self-propelled version of paddle boarding…

“Billy Rossini, world champion and world record holder in kneeboarding and hydrofoiling, came up with this brilliant idea of how to extend his evenings in the water – LED lights for canoes and SUP’s. We found out about it, purchased the lights, installed them to our vessels and now it is time for you to join the fun – we would love to introduce you to night paddling in the lagoon of Six Senses Laamu. We are probably the first and still the only ones in the Maldives to be able to offer you this new adventure. Take a canoe or a stand up paddle board whichever is more comfortable and stable!! Join us for a tour, and enjoy the feeling to be out there, right when the sun goes down.”

With post I am adding a new tag of “Night” for the increasingly diverse night-time activities to be discovered.

Best of the Maldives: Private Beach Cinema – Constance Moofushi

Constance Moofushi - private beach cinema

If you prefer a more intimate film night, then Constance Moofushi offers private beach cinema

“Choose your film from a selection of more than 100 to watch on a private screen, with the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore and soft powder sand beneath your feet.  Lie back on loungers or beanbags and let us create a unique luxury cinema experience complete with popcorn, ice cream, canapés, sparkling wine, beers and soft drinks served to you on the beach.”

Lori and I have our own little home cinema in the UK. It is one of the greatest treats. You can stretch out on the sofa, and you can pause the movie to ask a question or refill your wine glass. Frankly, we love watching movies and it’s one of the very few things that we might “miss” when we visit the Maldives. Sure, some resorts have public theatres (but that would involve syncing our schedule to the playing times) and most resorts have TVs (but that would involve secluding ourselves in our room when paradise is just outside the door. Moofushi’s approach seems to be an inspired best of all possible worlds.

Best of the Maldives: 3D Outdoor Cinema – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah Villas - outdoor 3D cinema

From the sublime, to the ridiculous. Ridiculously genius that is…Anantara Kihavah outdoor cinema. A number of resorts have introduced al fresco screens in recent years, but Kihavah has taken it to a new dimension with their 3D capable projector.

OMG, 3D Sharknado please!!

(PS. As we’ve entered into the entertainment awards season, I add a added “Film” tag for all the Best of the Maldives gong winners in that category).

Best of the Maldives: Night Aquarium – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - spa night time aquarium

Night reef for everyone.

These underwater wonders are no cheap gimmicks. They run millions of dollars to install. Conventional wisdom says that when you have an expensive piece of capital, you try to sweat that asset as much as possible. That’s why I thought that Conrad’s turning its Ithaa restaurant into a bedroom at night was a stroke of genius to get 24×7 use of that great facility (though they abandoned that practice as the logistics of converting it back and forth each night was too difficult).

Huvafenfushi’s underwater spa, LIME, is world famous. And it too has decided to extend the enjoyment of this distinctive facility beyond business hours. Its night time activity – SpaQuarium – focuses on, well…the night. The stygian capers of the undersea world.

Even the most avid snorkelers and experienced divers often haven’t had the chance for a night dive to venture into this hidden world. My wife went on a night dive with our son Chase once and she said she didn’t see much because we was so worried about losing sight of Chase. Much as the reef seems teeming with activity and life during the day, the night-time is when the reef party really kicks off. Many sea creatures have limited eye-sight and potential prey exploit that with a nocturnal lifestyle where the ocean darkness helps shroud them from predators (we were told that on more than one occasion a shark has even bumped into the LIME glass not seeing it).

This regular resort event in the underwater spa starts around 9:00 a few times a week. Huvafenfushi staff greet you when you arrive with a glass of champagne and some tropical fruit with chocolate sauce to dip them into. The resort marine biologist, Nicole, provides commentary and a guide to this lightless world. Lori and I sat watching a smorgasbord of fish life, but especially lots of trevally and jacks, and the black tipped reef sharks and nurse sharks visiting were the special delight.

At the penultimate bottom of the food chain, zooplankton (ie. fish larvae, shrimp larvae, tiny crustaceans) come out at night to feed on the phytoplankton (the absolute bottom of the food chain). During the day, the zooplankton hide from predators on the sea floor, but during the night they emerge making the ocean cloudy with microscopic life. If you look very closely, you can see the translucent slivers darting about and sometimes you can even spy their miniature eyeballs.

Phytoplankton are tiny plant material floating in the water. They may be microscopic individually, but collectively they are massive. They produce 50% of the earth’s oxygen and can satisfy the hunger of the largest fish (whale shark) and largest mammal (blue whale) in the ocean.

You can also see the actual coral animals who bulge out of their rocky skeleton to feed on the phytoplankton at night. The sharp coral edges get all billowy and fluffy with their protruding bodies and they poke out of their calcified homes.

The annual highlight of the night time is appropriately post-watershed coral spawning. In this season, the female corals first release their eggs which such abundance that the water will turn red and you can even smell the eggs. Then, at the right moment (ostensibly aligned with the full moon cycle), the male corals release their sperm into the water to mix with the cloud of eggs. It is such a spectacular event that the Nicole says she and few staff waited for it in LIME and when they saw it starting, donned their masks and snorkel so they could go outside and jump in to witness it more closely.

After the first hour or so us all taking in the eerie sights in LIME’s broad glass vistas, the staff turned out the room lights and and handed us ultraviolent light torches and glasses (see photo at bottom). When you shone the light on certain species of coral (like brain or certain anemones), they florescence with hidden yellows and reds like some sort of 1970 teenagers black light poster.

The final part of the evening was to turn out all lights. This pitch darkness allowed us to witness the mystical bioluminescence display by the zooplankton. Like watching fire flies on a summer’s evening with miniature nano-diodes flashing on across the seascape. They were particularly prevalent when the water was disturbed so if you spied a particular frenetic fish zooming past, it would typically leave a trail of these little stars.

By far one of the best “experiences” in the Maldives I have come across. A mesmerising glimpse into a hidden world so few ever get a chance to see.

Huvafenfushi - spa night time aquarium 2

Huvafenfushi - spa night time aquarium 3