Male', Maldives Islands; March 29, 2010
Mar 29, 2010
|What a wonderful port of call that we had barely heard of and knew nothing about....an undiscovered (or little discovered) paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
The over 1000 small coral islands over 100+ miles in the Indian Ocean make up the Maldives, & its capital, Male'(pronounced: "mall-deeves" & its capital pronounced: mah-lee) is one of the largest Islands of approximately 1 square mile & has most of the nations population crammed into a modern, high-rise building, developed city that is an Islamic nation, providing tourists services to non-Islamic tourists. It is a friendly city & its citizens are very helpful to its visitors in an island paradise. We were awe-struck approaching the islands, viewing the airport runway activity & many freighters plying the harbor so briskly. The main island reminded Ellie & I of the multicolored buildings of Bermuda & "Rainbow Row" in Charleston but in high-rise building design. Quite impressive & intriguing to watch.
Ellie was beginning to feel a little better but still collected herself, slowly in preparation to go on our tour in the oppressive heat & humidity. We booked a half day tour to the resort at Dhonveli Island. Everything is only accessible by boat or seaplane, including resorts on other parts of Male' (quicker, due to traffic) and islands further away in the archipelago chain. We had an appointment to meet our speed boat at 13:00 (1pm) and getting prepared for the beach was easy; the hard part was bearing the heat. Fortunately, the speedboat ride was cool, in many ways other than the air breezing by us as we sped to our island, 30 minutes away.
On the way, we saw why tourism is so important to the Maldives: many exclusive, large island resorts, large mega yachts and sailboats found the appeal of the Maldives alluring & exceptional. Crystal blue waters reminded us of the Polynesian Island or Caribbean resorts.
When we got to our island & found a manicured resort that catered to the dive & water sport enthusiast, the upscale European or Asian client or couples that has every amenity the exclusive resort dweller would want: restaurant, bars, spas, swimming pool, tennis courts & dive center.
Small thatched huts were built on the beach for shade & the over-the-water bungalows completed the "postcard" view we immediately saw upon exiting the speedboat docking at the resort. Many things were impressive about the resort but the beach, blue water and cool breeze was the highlight attraction.
Ellie got a chaise lounge chair & found some shade to anchor herself to, while we got into the crystal blue as quickly as we could. It IS paradise! Ellie's attitude perked right up as we waded in up to our necks in the cool water (compared to the "hotness" of the air), she was in her element: a beautiful ocean & white sand beach. I took my snorkeling gear & got to see many ocean fishes & corals, including a black-tip reef shark, juvenile ray, parrot fish, wrasse's and other tropical species.
Our trip was much too short but it was just enough time for Ellie & I to enjoy and not overtax Ellie's stamina or tolerance to the heat. The speedboat was exciting as the ride to the island and before we knew it all of the Regent island tourists were back in Male' to get on our tender ride back to our ship. All of us enjoyed this wonderful excursion to a far away island resort (literally) & wished we could stay many more days in this island paradise.
Our next port of call will be 2 days away at Port Victoria, Seychelles, another island archipelago chain nearer the African & Madagascar coast.....more exploring we go!
"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"