International TravelThings I Love

THE MAGNIFICENT MALDIVES (Part 6 in a series on recent Journey)

Sharing with people that one is fortunate enough to visit the Maldive Islands typically garners one of two reactions:  1) Where is that? -or- (more commonly) 2) Oh, that’s on my bucket list!! I can’t wait to go there!!!  In answer to number 1, southwest of India. In answer to number 2, there is a very good reason for that reaction … 
Upon making the decision to visit India, the proximity to the Maldives made it nearly automatic to include this exquisite location in the itinerary. The biggest decision was how much time to allocate and how much time we could afford.  This destination is not for the faint of wallet, so the decision became four days/three nights of splendor.

e flew Sri Lankan Air from Delhi en route to Male.  A schedule change had us at the airport in Colombo (Sri Lanka) for roughly nine hours. Brilliant move on the part of the airlines to add a nice, clean hotel attached to the airline lounge that literally books by the hour — $10 USD.  I reserved the room in advance and followed their directions.  We did not have to pass through immigration so it’s a breeze.  We checked our bags all the way through from Delhi to the Maldives, got a decent night’s sleep, boarded the continuation of our flight and were at the resort by 9am. Win/win all around.

On approach to the main city of Male (above); new resort construction (left) visible from the plane.
It is a 25-minute boat ride to the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, one of multiple options for the company in the area.  I deliberately picked this one for the proximity to the airport. Depending upon flight arrival time, one might have their resort arrival delayed and I wanted to take advantage of every single minute.  Indeed, we were met after collecting our bags, and in our room a short time later.  Nirvana.  
View from the room.  I know (WOW factor).  All accommodations have their own small pool.  Through the shrubs was the white sand beach.


Above left:  phenomenal snorkling right in front of the property;  Above right:  beach service awaits with the press of a button. 



So what does one do in the Maldives?   Not much, which is kind of the point.  Of the 1,100+ islands, less than 200 are even inhabited.  The area is busy for avid divers at certain times of the year.  We happened to stay during a slower period, which was quite fine.  Lots of gazing at the incredible colors, swimming, enjoying terrific food, etc. But I was particularly fascinated with the resort’s Marine Center, where turtles are rescued and nurtured by trained biologists in the most comprehensive manner.

Some are missing one or both front fins but seem to manage pretty well. They are treated for various infections, weighed and measured regularly, and hand fed fresh fish via tweezers.  They hit the turtle lottery in this regard! 
Clockwise from top left:  kids are carefully petting a turtle; one is being examined; big guy clocks in at 70 lbs; interesting names for the turtles with their vitals noted.
Among the activities offered, there is shark feeding at dusk each evening. The black-tip sharks are quite small, safe, and seem to know when it’s chow time as a lot of them showed up.




By the over-water bungalows
Don’t you decorate your bed at home with fresh flowers?!
Dusk at the main pool


Madives takeway: It’s a safe bet that the various luxury properties here — one per atoll or small island — such as One and Only, Taj and others, offer excellent service. But we can only speak for the Four Seasons where not a thing was missed.  Best of all was not only getting into our room at 9am, but likewise being able to stay in the room until departure time at 6pm.  Four FULL days. Cannot thank the resort enough for making it so easy on us. The Maldives are indeed magnificent. Expensive? No question. We’re feeling quite fortunate for the experience. Next up: Three flights to Perth!


Thank you Chef Junious for this delicious and inventive dessert:  Red velvet cake with raspberry-studded frozen yogurt and edible sponge cake depicting the local coral.  Amazing!



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