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Entries in Maldives (2)

One Week in Paradise

CIMG0997.JPGI spent a lot of time trying to think up ways to describe how unimaginably beautiful and perfect this place is. I still haven’t come up with anything. To say we are feeling really lucky and fortunate to even be here is an understatement. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime week for us. The Maldives are a tiny island nation located off the southern tip of India. It is, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. The very first tourist set foot here a mere 30 years ago. In that time this strictly Islamic nation of 88 islands has managed to transform itself into the premier resort destination on the planet. It can be pretty tough to get to, particularly from the States. We first went through Sri Lanka, to the Maldivian capital island city of Malé, and then by chartered sea plane to The W.

Thanks to a great person in our lives we are staying at The W Retreat for far, far less than the normally outrageous price. Known for its super trendy big city hotels, The W has somehow managed to capture that feeling in a resort environment. It inhabits its own island staffed by over 250 people to cater to the 30 guests that are here at the moment. The island is surrounded by what is considered to be the finest reef in The Maldives, which are considered the finest reefs on earth. Therefore by the transitive property the reef that is 10 feet from our back door is perhaps the finest in the entire world. Each morning we just throw on our snorkel gear that is sitting on the back porch of our beach bungalow next to our private splash pool and walk down the white powder sand into the crystal clear turquoise water and start snorkeling. Which at 88 degrees feels like stepping into a bath.

There’s plenty of other stuff to do besides snorkeling. We have already gone on two of the most amazing dives of our lives, including a 60ft deep “drift dive” in which the current took us about a mile along a solid wall of reef. We’ve seen baby sharks, turtles, and every kind of fish imaginable. Often in schools of thousands. Tonight we are going night fishing, where I am hoping to catch one of those beautiful fish and eat it for dinner. Tomorrow we go on an “eco adventure” with a marine biologist to teach us about the marine life around here. We’ll wrap up Friday with our first “night dive” as lots of creatures come out then that do not appear during the day. It’s probably going to be a little crazy being that far down under the water in the pitch black night but it should be amazing.

The restaurants are quite spectacular as well. More for ambiance than food, frankly, but how often can you eat at the end of a pier with a DJ spinning tunes to a night sky with more stars than I thought could possibly exist and not be happy? There’s a bar dug deep into the center of the island called 15 Below that has every imaginable kind of vodka, a restaurant where you can eat lunch in the pool (as we did today), an amazing gym which Joy used while I stayed in the room and played video games, and a nifty area called The Living Room with lots of different games. I’ve already been plotting ways to extend our time here, but unfortunately there is one major down side – a terrible internet connection. And since internet connections are like air to us, I’m afraid a week without a decent one is all we can take.  Check out the pictures!

Indian Ocean Adventures

IMG_3008.JPGBelieve it or not, one thing that Jason had never done before in his life was to go fishing. What better place in the world to try our hand at it, then in the beautiful Maldives. His dream of catching a fish and eating it came true this day. In fact, between the two of us we caught about a dozen fish during our night fishing excursion – they were all snapper except for one barracuda that Jason wrangled in the last minute. Dinner that night was a plate full of snapper sashimi and a whole grilled barracuda that the chef prepared for us – both delicious. Jason can now cross catching and eating his own fish off his list (since unbeknownst to me this was something he had always wanted to do)! Check out our cut throat fish catching competition in the video clip.

Scuba diving in this region of the world is like nothing we had ever experienced. The array of coral and range of tropical fish is tremendous, not to mention the water is so crystal clear it makes the visibility perfect. Throughout our three dives, one being a night dive we saw turtles, reef sharks, octopus, squid, a sting ray, lobsters, puffer and lion fish and hermit crabs just to name a few of the highlights.

The night dive was especially an amazing experience – the scariest part is getting up the courage to jump off the boat in the middle of the ocean, while it’s pitch black outside. We used a high powered flashlight to illuminate the reefs, and saw some very different things then during the day. It was especially exciting/scary swimming through some caves and overhangs, which was something we had never done before. Although I had a brief “Open Water” freak out moment when we surfaced after the dive and the boat was quite far away – but, they eventually saw us and picked us up.

One thing I’ve always had was a complete fascination with the ocean world and marine life. So, we were all over the opportunity to go on The W yacht with the resident marine biologist to learn about the local sea life, and then have a snorkeling eco-adventure. This proved to be one of the most beautiful and interesting snorkeling experiences I had ever had. It was great having the trained eye of the marine biologist who was able to point out so many things that we would have never seen on our own, for example two mating octopus.

Our time on this little slice of heaven in the Maldives is about to come to a close, but not before one last night fishing excursion. It’s sad to think that these beautiful islands and atolls are slowly getting swallowed up by the ocean, and it’s estimated that within the next 20 years there will be no more islands (global warming of course). This is my plug to everyone to save up your money, and figure out a way to get to this slowly disappearing place in the world – it’s like no tropical paradise we’ve ever seen and truly magnificent!