06 August 2007

Maldives – Feb 2006

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-- Mark Twain

If I was asked to do one of those one word / one sentence associations for Maldives …I would say INFINITE shades of blue…

As the plane started its descent towards Male and I gazed out of the window, I sure was glad that we had finally chosen the day flight and not the night one…that there could be soooo many shades of blue in one area… from light blue to vibrant turquoise to a greenish blue…left me gobsmacked.

Maldives is made up some 1100+ coral islands of which only about 200 are inhabited. 87 are exclusive resort islands.
We were booked at the Taj Coral Reef Resort and well….Taj is Taj…we had this speedboat waiting for us with their staff to pamper us with scented wet towels, breakfast and the works…We were told that the resort is only 32 kilometres away from Male International airport, and can be reached by speed boat in an hour…but somehow the ride seemed to take forever…no doubts though it was a beautiful ride… pristine, tranquil blue expanse all around and the guessing games every time we came near an island... if that was the one..

We had a lagoon villa…built on stilts over the lagoon’s turquoise waters with private sun decks and stunning views of the ocean. From the private sundecks, a wooden ladder led directly to the water. Our own private bit of the ocean… So inviting … I just wanted to get into the water immediately…
And the water …it’s crystal clear… if you drop something I am sure standing in the water you would be able to see it easily…

I would get bread from the restaurant to feed to the fish…that is after taking permission from the hotel staff as Maldives is very strict about the environment and keeping it clean…obviously many countries can learn a lot from them!!! Considering it is soooo easy to just dump the garbage into the sea…no one does that… NO ONE…they are very particular about the garbage disposal.

Well…I would throw one piece of bread in the water and fish would swarm from all directions…and what colours…I am just at a loss of words. I have been to many aquariums but well… its different when they are in the ocean and you are right there next to them…I don’t think that I will ever enjoy an aquarium again after that experience…

It is said that if you have not visited the underwater of Maldives…then you have not been to Maldives. Submarine rides are available that take one to 120 feet below water to a coral reef and one gets to see some of the most exotic creatures in colorful aquamarine gardens.
There are 2 stops …the 1st one was at about 75ft beneath the surface… where we saw some really colourful corals and different types of reef fish. We were greeted by a school of blue and yellow-stripped Snappers, Lionfish and many more…names I cannot remember now :-( .
The next stop at 120 feet was another type of coral garden. There was this really big cave where we were really lucky to see a Giant Grouper :-)

At the resort every evening they would have Sting Ray feeding…massive Stingrays would come and one can feed them meat. There were some Italians on the resort…one of them would take the meat and let the Stingray come really close and take it from his hand!!!

Apart from that this was just one of those lazy holidays … soaking in the sun and enjoying the sea …doing just nothing…

My biggest regret from this trip…that I don’t dive….

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