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The International Writers Magazine: Indian Ocean

Adventure in the Maldives
• Davina Spriggs
From the very moment I left a bitter, icy cold London behind, I couldn’t help but daydream and smile smugly at the thought of landing in the picturesque paradise of the Maldives.

The beautiful Maldivian islands are found in the Indian Ocean off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, they have a typical picture perfect postcard bliss, the warm sunshine, crystal clear turquoise waters and powder soft sand, I recognised from the second I got off the plane, that there was so much for me to discover on these islands. From the capital island of Malé, it is around a 45-minute journey by Maldivian seaplane across the scenic atolls to the resort of Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa, in the Meemu atoll.
Maldives Jetty The views along the way are mesmerising! The sea plane flies incredibly low, you feel as though you could almost reach out and touch the sea, without a shadow of a doubt it was my best experience and I couldn’t wipe the immense smile from my face, especially once the first sight of my island came in to view.
On reaching the island, the seaplane drops you at the end of a long winding wooden jetty, the walk along the jetty itself is mesmerising; I coolly spotted a stingray gliding through the shallow, clear waters.

After what felt like a walk into a desert island hideaway, I was greeted by the kind and inviting hotel manager, who promptly gave a welcoming speech about the island and its people. On discovering I had been given the ‘best room on the island’, I was eager to catch a glimpse of the stunning luxurious over-water bungalow, with its fabulous views over the lagoon, the private sunbathing deck and steps into the sea, I had to pinch myself to believe that this is where I would be spending the next two weeks.

The lush green tree lined pathways that snake their way around the island are dotted with abundant plant life, exotic flowers and singing birds, the swaying and soothing swooshing of the palm trees combined with the gentle lapping of the Indian Ocean truly make you feel like you are in paradise. Surprisingly, being one of the smaller islands at only 6 acres, it never feels like there are more than a handful of people here.

The broad range of water sports to try out here is impressive; swimming, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, surfing and jet-skiing can all be done from the beach. Island hopping boat rides, dolphin watching, and sunrise and sunset fishing trips, can all be arranged. The traditional handcrafted dhoni fishing boats, used to transport people between islands, are a delight to sail on; they are one of the oldest known vessels in the Maldives. The Island hopping trip is a fascinating way to discover typical Maldivian life; the people here are genuinely warm and welcoming.

Their religion is Muslim, so dressing appropriately when visiting non-resort islands is a must. It was a moving experience to hear from our guide, the consequences of the 2004 Tsunami, and to witness how the locals have moved on since. Some of the lower lying islands were completely submerged and many people are sadly still displaced from their original homes.

The local Maldivian people pride themselves on their warmth and generous hospitality, they work long hours for little pay, yet nothing is ever too much for them. They are ever so willing and happy to talk about their country and share their family photos, as some of them come from islands far away, they will only get to see their families perhaps only several times a year or less.

The diving opportunities in the Maldives are spectacular; the island of Hakuraa Huraa is uniquely designed alongside one of the longest stretches of reef in the Maldives; the enormous array of exotic fish and stunning coral reef will keep you amazed whilst diving or snorkelling.

Maldives Hotel Dining in the Maldives is an adventurous experience, there is a vast range of local and Asian cuisine to choose from and the variety of fish on offer, caught fresh that very morning, is enthralling. From red snapper to reef fish and lobster, these are all cooked on a barbecue on the beach and will make your mouth water. You will not go hungry here, there is something for everyone and the chefs will happily cater to your every need. The beautiful sunsets fused with balmy evenings make it a perfect setting for dining al-fresco.

It is a richly diverse and interesting place; no two islands are the same which makes it such an amazing place to explore. The colours and the atmosphere here are both vibrant and tranquil, with the outstanding natural scenery and breath-taking views everywhere you look, it really is like heaven on earth.

The Maldives are a perfect blend of picturesque views, sun-drenched beaches, friendly locals and the most incredible warm crystal clear waters. You will arrive with high expectations, and you will not be disappointed, the Maldives are all about finding peace and tranquillity, they are everything I imagined them to be and more, it is an unforgettable and remarkable paradise location.
© Davina Davina Spriggs - September 2013

Travel Advisory 2014 : Protests and demonstrations are not uncommon, especially in the capital Malé. You should take care, seek up to date information, and keep away from any demonstrations. Previous demonstrations have led to violence and arrests.

There is no British Embassy or Consulate in Maldives. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British High Commission in Sri Lanka. An honorary consul in the capital, Malé, can liaise with the British High Commission in Sri Lanka in emergencies.

There is a general threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.

Why not visit for yourself? Book your holiday at Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa

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