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

Best of the Maldives: Plankton Spectacles – Conrad Maldives Rangali

Conrad Rangali plankton spectacles

 

The legendary Dom Perignon reportedly exclaimed when he first sipped the sparkling wine of his cellars “I am drinking stars.” Well, at Conrad Maldives Rangali, you can sometimes wade in them too. Set in the marine-rich South Ari atoll, Rangali is in the heartland of whale shark country who are drawn by the plankton-rich waters. Also, their marine cousins the mantas can be found so readily that they can be regularly seen of the Rangali jetty in the evening doing loop-de-loops in the pier light feeding on the plankton drawn there. But the possibly the most striking example of plankton spectacles was this photo released by Rangali this month showing bioluminensce on the beaches. The aquatic microrganisms emitting their glow with the gentle stimulation of the equally minute ‘waves’ ticking the shore. When we used to sail in Maine, our friends taught us how to prompt this phenomenon by stirring an oar in the nighttime ocean waters. You can even even swim through this constellation with Rangali’s night dive offer called “ocean of stars”.

May your 2014 be filled with sparkling wonders!

Best of the Maldives: Midnight Dip – W Retreat

W Retreat pool stars

If stars are more your thing than the moon, then follow them over to W Retreat for a midnight dip in their constellation pools. Both their main pool and their individual villa pools feature star lights along the bottom creating their own little galaxies. The main pool is one of the larger ones in the Maldives at 50 square meters. And the villa pools are also combined with Jacuzzis.

It is legend that when Dom Perignon discovered champagne, he remarked ‘I am drinking stars!’ (In fact, there is even a book on the history of champagne with this quote as its title). With a glass of champagne, you are surrounded by stars below, above and inside.

Best of the Maldives: Night Spa – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Ahmed Amir
Perfect accompanying photo by Ahmed Amir – Full Moon over Kuda Huraa spa

This week’s full moon was at its farthest point from the Earth this year making it the smallest Full Moon of 2011. If you follow these sorts of celestial events, then you should follow the five stars to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa for their Night Spa just launched this week…

“The Island Spa’s Night Spa treatments are very different from treatments you might experience during the day. In fact, they’re probably different from anything you’ve experienced before. From the moment we collect you from your villa to the moment we bring you back, you’ll be wrapped in the nurturing embrace of the tropical evening air. Relax beneath the stars in the Night Spa’s torch-lit lounge, then indulge in one of four open-air lunar rituals devised by Sodashi to attune the body to nature’s rhythms. Each lunar ritual can be enjoyed at any time but will provide the greatest benefit during its linked lunar phase. Available from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am nightly, Night Spa treatments must be booked a minimum of 24 hours in advance.”

Their treatments include…

  • Reflect – “The new moon is a time of commencement, new beginnings and renewal.”
  • Nourish – “The waxing moon is a good time to nourish and strengthen the body.”
  • Harmonize– “During the full moon, the body’s healing potential and the skin’s ability to absorb minerals are at their highest.”
  • Release – “The waning moon is the ideal time to eliminate toxins and negativity.”

I never like to take spa treatments during the day in the Maldives because it is just less time in sunshine and being out and about in paradise. But the night time is a bit more limited to strolls through the paths and by the ocean and a great time to ratchet the stress down that further gear.

Also recommended for vampires and werewolves.