Travel: Maldives Sun Island
We were reminiscing with friends, of the trip to Maldives a while back. Aaahh, Maldives dreaming - is a sparkle of green in a sea of midnight blue. How would we get to the Maldives - wasn't it quite challenging having to change planes a number of times? Maldives' tropical pristine atolls, are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, schools of brightly coloured tropical fish await you when you open your water-villa door and dive in to the crystal-clear water. Was it a waking dream, or did we really visit the Maldives some time ago? We arrived there by seaplane after an hour from the capital Male, passing tiny green atolls, like jewels in the ocean.
Exiting the seaplane on arrival at Sun Island Resort & Spa on Nalaguraidhoo, a picturesque island in South Ari Atoll, Maldives. After much difficulty as the steps were tiny and there was a bit of chop in the sea (balance being affected by a stroke), I climbed down onto the pontoon which was a few hundred metres away from shore. The limpid, crystal-clear waters that were so-o-oo turquoise - it was just mesmerising.
Transported to the jetty by a dhoni, then to the reception by golf-cart. After a welcome drink, we walked to our beach villa, and to a pristine white sandy beach and into the clear translucent waves, gently lapping. Bli-sss-sss...
Sun Island is the biggest resort/island in Maldives, with enough activities and space on hand to avoid boredom or claustrophobia. That was the hope. It has to be bigger than a handkerchief-sized atoll. Even though it would be nice to be a stowaway on your own Robinson Crusoe island, despite my stroke, my preference is that it has to have a quite a few things to do besides the sun, sea, sand, sangria. Great food and ambiance were also on the list. Luckily the resort had it in spades.
Visiting the other islands, snorkelling, scuba diving, spas and massages, water sports, volleyball, cycle, golf, night fishing, feeding the stingrays and sharks, there were lots to do. Or it could be a quiet, secluded holiday if you'd wanted a romantic honeymoon, getaway hideout idyll, just to chill out. It's all up to the guests, in an environment that is casually comfortable all year.
Breakfast – breads and cereals, amounts of fresh yoghurt, and waffles. Chefs making fresh omelettes with whichever topping you require, a bewildering array of food. Lunch and dinner – great quantities of curry, stir-fries, steamed choices, fish, chicken, fresh cuts of cold meats. Fresh fruits, desserts to die-for, we felt spoilt for choice. It was an All-Inclusive deal, everything was provided, even morning tea and afternoon snack of cakes and little delicacies. Can we eat that much?
Stingray feeding was on offer. Scary but seriously cool, I think... no streetlights near to their feeding ground at one end of the island, at dusk. It was quite dark by the time the stingrays congregated on about 10 inches to about three feet water which stretched as far into the lagoon as could be seen. Large grey or black, slightly mottled stingrays, skimming the water effortlessly. Gliding swiftly like shadows.... Roll up your trousers, and be prepared to get wet. The stingray feels, with its mouth located on the underside of its head, the tasty fish you have in the palm of your hand. It shluur-rrrpppss it up... It felt very weird, somebody was saying.
The local guides used small torchlights, so the darkness came and went as Murray waded into the water to take turns at feeding these surreal big black discs. Even I went in, to about knee high in water. I stopped because I was concerned about my lack of balance while in the water, and the lack of light. One or two of the stingrays just glided over, to see if I had a morsel of fish. There were fits of laughter, as the visitors misjudged the depth of the water and fell in.
Clear translucent water in the lagoon surrounding the water-villas, in the morning. Pockets of deeper electric blue in the pale turquoise, we waded in amongst the shimmering bright fish of the Maldives. Murray snorkeled, whilst I lay dreaming and floating in the pockets of deeper blue, idly watching yellow fish dart amongst the trails of angel fish. I thought I saw a shark silhouetted as I turned over. Hobbling and scrambling in-a-rush to get to the beach, to find it was a little baby shark. It swam just inches away, and scooted off at the commotion. As my heartbeats quietened, I thought it was probably more scared of me, as I was of it.
On the night-fishing trip, armed with a rod and line, we were fishing for our suppers. Half an hour after dropping anchor near some atoll reefs, Murray was reeling in decent sized fish; different shades of red. As the night wore on, he caught five more fish, and the other guests on the boat also had amazing luck. We were pleased as punch when we chugged back to the pier. Barracudas, bonitos, myriad of fish. Let's eat! And, crab racing tomorrow, ... and the day after: shark-feeding! Maldives.... a dream away.