HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!
We sure feel fortunate, having checked off another bucket list item. We were lucky enough to stay in a villa over the water in the beautiful Maldives.
What are the Maldives?
Here are a few facts...
- it is smallest Asian country by land area (298 square km) and population (under 500,000 people)
- it is made up of over 1100 islands in the Indian Ocean, located southwest from India and Sri Lanka, and lies along the equator, so the sun is very intense
- it is a Muslim country - the airport is dry and many resorts are also (luckily we did good research!)
- it is the lowest country in the world, with average ground levels of 1.5 metres (4 ft, 11in) above sea level and maximum of 2.4 (7ft, 10in). More than 80% of the country's land is composed of coral islands less than 1 metre above sea level. In fact, the Maldives are at risk of being submerged due to rising sea levels - the UN has warned that, at current rates, sea level rise could be enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100. Imagine, losing an entire country over things we had control over!
People travel to the Maldives from all over the world for their resorts, clear blue waters, and incredible diving & snorkelling. For travellers flying into Malé (the capital city) and then heading to an island resort, they have two options to get to the island, depending on where the island is located - sea plane or speed boat. Since our resort was further away, we had a sea plane take us the 45 minute flight.
Here are a couple maps to see where the Maldives are (red dot), as well as a short video of the resort we stayed at...
We stayed at the Constance Moofushi, which is a single resort that has it's own island. Yes, pretty crazy that you could walk the entire island easily within 30 minutes.
We were there with many friends from various parts of the world - Jeff/Sara from the US, Hayden/ Christy, Siddik/Yasmin from South Africa, and the rest from the UK - Wayne/Hayley, Jeff/Donna, Simon/Michelle.
We stayed in a water villa that opened right up so you could see the beautiful water. The patio had amazing furniture to lounge on and you could walk right into the ocean to swim or snorkel. The back yard had an open air tub and shower.
The island is surrounded by an amazing coral reef so we snorkelled many times and saw tons of cool animals, in fact many were right off the stairs of our patio. We saw tons of colourful fish, many sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, starfish, crabs, and even an eel. The most dangerous one was a yellow fish the resort warned us about called a triggerfish, which has teeth and is known to bite people if they feel threatened. Oh yeah, and the fruit bats were the biggest we've ever seen - they would actually shake the trees and don't like getting their photos taken...right Jeff??
There are some cool underwater shots here. Jeff is so proud of Lisa for FINALLY getting in the water and snorkelling, even to the edge of the reef where the water gets dark. She stayed until we saw the shark approach, and then set a speed swimming record to the shore that even Michael Phelps would be proud of!
Besides snorkelling, there were many beach areas to lounge at or you could simply tie up your inflatable floats and drink in the sun. The water was so incredible. We saw all the pics before and thought there was no way that reality would match up but pics taken even with an iPhone will show how beautiful it is.
The beach house offered many snacks, drinks, and also allowed you to take out snorkel gear, kayaks, paddle boards, or sailboats.
The resort had 2 restaurants and 2 bars that were fully stocked and waiting for us. We've haven't seen too many all inclusives with selections like this, including an incredible wine cellar. One of the bars had a DJ, dance floor, and a screen surrounded by people cheering on their teams for the World Cup.
We never went to the spa but a friend said it was pretty cool to get a massage in a hut over the water while looking down at the fish through a glass floor!
They even offered a private setting to watch movies on a screen on the beach at night if you wanted!
The staff here were incredibly friendly and could not do enough for you:
- "You need a cooler full of Corona for the beach?" / "Sure sir"
- "You're friend's ear is plugged and you want to pour vodka into it to unplug it?" /
"Sure sir, use the good stuff - this is Grey Goose"
- "You want a 1L bottle of Captain Morgan and 12 Coronas to your room?" / "No problem sir"
Besides drinking, there were some educational offerings - we attended a cocktail making class in the water, where we learned to make different exotic drinks. Who knew aloe vera made such a tasty addition to a beverage? Later in the week, we attended a wine tasting class in the water, where we learned to properly taste wine with breads and cheese, with the odd shark swimming in the water. Pretty cool!
One thing that blew us away was to think that this resort is unlike every other resort we've ever been to - although they grow some herbs (not the Jamaican type, mon!) and vegetables on the island, EVERYTHING else must be shipped in from or shipped out to the main island. There was a boat with two c-can shipping containers that docked one day while we were having breakfast - workers unloaded all the food, cleaning supplies, booze for hours...then they loaded it back up with garbage, torn down tree leaves & branches, and broken down cardboard to be taken away. Truly makes you appreciate the experience!
Another thing we thought was cool? The bar and restaurant floors were just beach sand - no flooring (except for the dance floor). So what? No high heels for the ladies, no shoes for the men...in fact, we did not wear flip flops until we finally left. A full week with no shoes! That kicks ass!!
We would strongly recommend this resort - maybe T&A2020??
We decided to do a professional photo shoot since the surroundings were so beautiful. Even though it was a professional photo shoot and we had a professional photographer, he was dealing with far from professional models. Oh well, here are a few of those pics...
We did an excursion to one of the nearby islands where it is common to find whale sharks. Whale sharks are slow moving, filter feeders that are the largest known fish species, growing over 40 feet long and weighing up to 45,000 lbs.
Now, you've heard the old saying "it's like finding a needle in a haystack"? That is literally what it is like trying to find a whale shark (who is moving around) in the ocean (which is friggin' huge!). Many people go on the excursion and don't see any whale sharks - we were lucky enough to see two.
You can't even imagine the rush it is to jump into the water off the boat, not knowing what is below, and to open your eyes and see this beast of an animal cruising along, not caring if you are near him or even in his path. Truly amazing...and scary!
Here are some other random pics and videos from the trip..
Inflatabull - yes, we ordered the famous inflatable bull and had a ton of fun riding it in the water. Wow! It was not only hard to stay on, but hard to mount! Haha
Sandbar island - we did a short excursion out to a sandbar that is usually above the sea during low tide and about a metre below the sea during high tide. Not sure what the tour guy was thinking, but they took us there during high tide. Oh well, the floating cooler kept us occupied while we weren't snorkelling around the reef.
Jumping fish - you could take drinks down to the dock where the float plane lands and see many jumping fish, as well as sharks and rays at night. Pretty cool.
Dubai - May 2018
We did a quick weekend trip to Dubai at the start of May - some bars, some beach, and some shopping. Hit the Mall of the Emirates that has a ski hill and toboggan hill inside it. In a friggin' mall!
Always a great time!
Bahrain Tribfest - April 2018
In April, we went to our third Tribfest in Bahrain. Always a great time, hot & sunny weather, beer-filled, and great music. We went with friends David and Nikki and met up with Waco and Tosh. Loved the Bon Jovi tribute band called Wrong Jovi.
Back to Canada
We received some sad news in April, learning that Jeff's Grandma had passed away. She lived a happy 95 years and was Jeff's last living grandparent. We flew back to support Jeff's dad and it was a great opportunity to see his brother and many relatives we hadn't seen in some time. Our path took us to Calgary and then Saskatoon, then driving up to Prince Albert. The path back was Saskatoon to Toronto to Abu Dhabi and then Saudi. Was great to catch up with cousins Ryan and Rebecca and also to see support from mom's family, catching up with Sue and Barry. Lisa also took advantage of a trip to Canada to fill her suitcase with Canadian snacks. It was a whirlwind trip, making the 24-hour one-way trip to Canada and back all in less than a week!
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa