It was the moment we got on the plane that we realized that our experience was officially beginning. Loaded with our teams of diving, suitcases full of cameras, swimsuits and sun cream, we were heading, flying over the ocean, at Maldives.
This paradise of coral reefs, crystal clear waters, fauna and uninhabited islands seemed to us a place that we would never set our course and see through others. During the 13 hours we spent on the plane, we had time to think about all the places we wanted to visit, all the foods we wanted to try, the sun, the sand and, above all, diving.
The morning we take off, we arrive at the airport warm and with the cold dry and deep in the bones that characterizes the winter of short days and few hours of light in Madrid.
When we got off the plane it seemed that we had traveled to another planet. The sun was already beginning to set in Malé, the capital of the country, and far from finding a paradisiacal island, empty and surrounded by nowhere, we could observe from the airport, in the distance, a complex of tall and accumulated buildings next to it. of the others in a kind of city of 6 square kilometers in which more than one hundred thousand people live. We did not spend too much time visiting Malé because our objective was clear: we wanted to get away from everything known and focus on the sea, the palm trees and the tranquility that we were sure, you breathe in paradise.
We decided to enjoy the islands seen from the water and focus on what was under the surface, but we were also curious to know the life of the country, so we spent the first days visiting some islands of the Maldives and then we entered during a week on a boat that became our home during those days and took us from atoll to atoll to see the best places to dive in the Maldives.
The conglomerate of islands that make up the Maldives is made up of 26 atolls that are home to more than a thousand smaller islands in their interior, of which only 200 are inhabited.
The tour "on the mainland" as we call it, consisted of visiting several islands and cities independently for a few days.
We stayed in small, but cozy hotels in each place we went and spent a day or two at most in each place. We try to soak up the culture, the food, the routines of the locals, their culinary tastes, their schedules ... we wanted to know their way of living and understanding life. And we loved it.
Our first stop was on an island (of the inhabited ones) belonging to the Atoll of KaafuCalled Maafushi, where we were able to make our first dive in the famous Indian waters that were causing us so much curiosity. We were able to see in the first person and not in photos or in our imagination, the colors and shapes that the coral bottoms make underwater and the tranquility with which sharks and dolphins move when we pass by them.
From Maafushi we go by ferry to Guraidhoo, an island known for being one of the best places in the Maldives for diving.
In addition to enjoying an unbeatable diving experience, another thing that we loved about this small town is that it is still somewhat unknown to tourists and largely preserves its Maldivian authenticity. The main source of income for the area comes from fishing, so, attracted by the tranquility and the essence of a local life, we went to see what we could find in Guraidhoo.
After our dive, on an empty stomach and very happy and grateful, we discussed anecdotes from the morning in Guraidhoo and talked about what we would do next, sitting at tables in a restaurant with a view (The Wall Café). When the sun began to set, and the water reflected the orange afternoon light, we went to the beach to watch the sunset.
Our next stop was the island Hurray, one of the least touristy of Kaafu. To get there, we had to go from Guraidhoo but also Male, And in Male take a ferry to Hurray. What did we do on this island? We rested all day at Bikini Beach and snorkelled at sunset. While we were resting on the beach loungers, a group of local children started playing soccer on the shore and we were entertained for several hours taking the role of referees for the match.
We did the star plan when it was already dark and we dared to dive without light. If sharks and marine species already impress a little during the day… when nothing is seen the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity is greater, but it was very worth it! Little by little, the eyes and the body get used to the darkness and focus on observing what is in front of them.
After the night experience we tried a restaurant called Kandu Grill.We dined on seafood almost on the sand of the beach at tables with straw umbrellas and hanging lights that illuminated the night.
The next destination we visited during our tour of the mainland was the island of Dhiffushi. The main attraction of this island are its beaches, which seem taken from the cover of a reggae album. White sand, turquoise blue water, umbrellas in the middle of the beach and palm trees and plants around. The perfect place to spend a day or two reading, sunbathing, and watching the sunset.
We spent the night in a small but very cozy hotel (Crown Beach Hotel) that was very close to the beach and it was very comfortable for us to continue with our task for the day: enjoying doing absolutely nothing.
Our experience on land could not come to an end without having gone through an all-inclusive resort in The Maldives, so our last destination was the hotel. Milaidhoo Island a resort that is located a short distance from Male and had unbeatable views and dream facilities in which we wanted to stay and live. When we arrived at the establishment, the hotel staff welcomed us with great affection and kindness, the team made us feel at home.
When we entered our respective rooms, we couldn't believe where we were. The living room overlooked the sea, transparent and empty, and we were only separated from the outside by huge windows that we decided to open to let in the sea breeze and the wind that came directly from the ocean.
The walls were white and contrasted with the carved wooden furniture. The design couldn't be more beautiful. When we left the room we had before us a small wooden platform with hammocks and chairs and tables to have breakfast or read quietly in front of the sea, and then a pool in the shape of a moon that melted with the sea.
That afternoon we went for a massage, also outdoors and with the sound of the waves around us, and then we went to dinner at the resort restaurant. We were very lucky because there weren't too many people and we enjoyed an almost personalized gourmet experience. What we liked the most of all was that, the next morning, breakfast was brought to our room. Many types of fruit, scrambled eggs, bread of all kinds, natural juices and exquisite chocolate and coffee. We were starting the day in the best possible way, and best of all: no rush, no established plans. During that day and the next, we dedicated ourselves to visiting all areas of the hotel, sunbathing, resting and eating a lot and very well!
The time to embark on our accommodation for the next few days had arrived. Our adventure completely focused on diving in the Maldives began. We hired a boat that took us around the best diving areas. We decided to do the route Sharktastic, which runs through the atolls of Ari, Male, Vaavu and Meemu. At the time of the year in which we traveled, the ocean waters brought currents from the east of the Maldives, they were born in Sumatra and Indonesia and brought with them oceanic species that approached the reefs at high speed and cleaned the marine environment, for what the visibility from the depths was amazing.
The tour lasted 7 days, and the first place we headed to dive was South Male Atoll. Our dive sites were Kandooma Thila, one of the few places in the Maldives where the direction of the currents does not affect the quality of the dive, which is always impressive. We saw whitetip sharks, stingrays and coral reefs with soft and delicate colors that we couldn't get out of our minds all day.
The other dive point in this area was Cocoa Corner, where we found the largest number of sharks so far. We submerged almost 29 meters and the pressure of the water, the nerves and the spectacle of marine species that we saw before us made our adrenaline soar and there was no room for fear. We live that experience as if it were the last. The most special moment of that dive was when a family of blacktip sharks crossed with the apparent calm and calm with which these animals move, the channel that extends from Cocoa to Kandooma.
Our next destination was Vaavu Atoll, a still unexploited paradise that is home to several islands, Felishoo Atoll and Vattaru Reef. We did a dive at Fotteyo Kandu, which is considered one of the most iconic dive areas in the Maldives. Along the way, we were accompanied by barracudas, stingrays, shoals of tuna and a sunny day that we stopped seeing as we advanced towards the bottom of the sea.
South Ari Atoll, was our last dive point. This natural atoll is located in the west of the archipelago. The places where we dived were Maamigili Beyru, where we could see very closely whale sharks, which have made this atoll, for some reason that we did not discover, their home.
The last dive of our spectacular trip was in Broken Rock, an area that gets its name from the large split rock that is located in the center of this dive site. In this dive we saw large areas of coral reefs with many combinations of colors and shapes that seemed to dance to the rhythm of the movement of the water currents, which in this area are very strong and on occasion we had to pay special attention not to hit each other. the coral.
The ecosystem of the Maldives is beautiful, but very delicate, since it is the country with the lowest height, so the increase in the level of the evil affects it greatly. We have to respect and care for it, observe it from a distance without altering it. We made a list with photos of all the marine species that we could see during our trip and this was the result:
We saw whale sharks, stingrays, turtles, black and white tip sharks, barracudas and moray eels, clown fish, crabs scampering on the sand of the beach and of course, we enjoyed the colors of the coral reefs, which are also there! full of life!
Our experience in the Maldives, although it was born as a trip focused on diving, ended up marking a before and after in our way of seeing life, since the calm we felt on each island we visited, how long the days were and The feeling that we had all the time in the world at any time of day, made us want to change many things in our routine in the city, and of course many objectives changed in the short term to be replaced by this one: "We have to go back" . We will fulfill it soon and we will tell you everything.
We hope that our trip has motivated you to do a similar one, or the same one! And it has encouraged you to travel on your own, even if the destination is a bit far away. It is very worthwhile to walk, eat and live, as the indigenous people of each country do.
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