The very Romantic Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka is a tourist destination unlike any other. A true Diving Paradise offering abundant ocean life including sharks, mantas, turtles and a wide array of colourful fish. White sand beaches circle the 1,190 Coral Islands consisting of 26 Atolls.
We arrived in Male at the International Airport where we walked out and were greeted by the Barefoot Pilots and their seaplanes, efficiently loaded, given a safety demonstration and 25 minutes later landed on the turquoise waters of the beautiful Vilamendhoo Island Resort. The 2950 x 950 ft. (900 x 250 meters) island boasts Beach front Bungalows on white sand beaches, a coral reef encircling the island and the best diving we have ever experienced.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with cold towels and iced cocktails as our shoes were confiscated and not seen again until departure! No radios, televisions, or noisy shows invaded our tranquility. Great service, fantastic diving, delicious food and long evenings sitting on a romantic candlelit beach watching shark tips dancing through the water while sipping a glass of wine to the music of whispering palms was the theme of our tropical paradise vacation.
We had our own Cabin boy who meticulously kept our bungalow clean, set up our lounge chairs on our own private piece of beach and was barely ever seen. Our personal waiter served all of our meals and by day 2 knew what our preferences were; whether it was fresh squeezed juice in the morning, an iced cola with lunch or extra spice with our dinner. He also took great pleasure in decorating our table with sea creatures he forecasted for the following day’s dive – and he was eerily correct!
Diving was like jumping into a perfect aquarium – colourful corals, turtles, mantas, whale sharks, white and black tipped sharks, napoleons, puffer fish, moray eels, trigger fish and the list goes on. We vacationed in August and were quite fortunate to see mantas and whale sharks even though they are not normally both present in the same season.
Diving was as simple as signing up for the boat dives of your choice or filling in the house reef sheet with time and entry point. Equipment magically appeared on the boat or at your pre-chosen entry point.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed each and every dive, my favourite was the early morning drift dive. It was like riding a motorcycle without the motorcycle. We left before the sun came up and were given our dive briefing on the boat. The dive guide informed us of a condition 5 on a scale from 1 to 5. Up for the challenge, we eagerly entered the water. About 5 meters down, we shot off like like a flash. Speeding through the water, vibrant coloured corals and fish raced by; truly amazing!
Alas, all good things come to an end and our shoe clad feet reluctantly pushed us to the taxi plane and reality. I would go back in a minute! Would you go?