Today’s morning adventure started off with Claire taking a short run along the track we discovered yesterday and Carolyn meandering along the same trail taking photos of the incredible sunrise. Whilst things may appear to be mediocre in that this island doesn’t have the glitz and glam of its neighbours, there is nothing mediocre about the stuff that you can’t create – the sunrise and sunsets, the people and the ocean. There’s wows to be found everywhere and our day had only just begun.
After another enjoyable breakfast, we walked down to the boat jetty to meet island divers for a three hour turtle adventure. The time was shorter today as Friday is a prayer day for the community which starts at 1:30. Therefore we needed to be back at this time which precluded us spending a lot of time looking for the underwater wildlife ie. Whale shark.
We were happy enough to be going out again and we’re sure that we would have a good time regardless. The cost for the tours are reasonably cheap compared to Aussie prices. This one was $45UD plus $10US snorkel hire and then a few taxes thrown in so about $90 Aus for what turned out to be four hours of absolute highs.
It started five minutes into the trip when a pod of dolphins were spotted. Initially they disappeared but then were seen a little further on. The pod consisted of around twenty dolphins and they were keen to play in the waves made by the front of the boat. With a little clapping and hoop lah from the workers, the Dolphins, jumped and skimmed the top of the waves creating an incredible visual spectacular for the eight of us who were lucky to be passengers. We also figured out that it must have been good when the workers themselves took out their cameras and started videoing.
This went on for about twenty minutes with us struggling to take enough images to match the incredible experience that we were having. It was like the Dolphins knew that we were enjoying it also and playing along with us. There was some form of connectedness that was hard to explain but made for an eventful start and nothing something that was publicised as a possibility.
After spending time with the Dolphins we then travelled another five or so minutes before getting our snorkel gear ready and jumping into the beautiful warm, clear water from which a kaleidoscope of colour greeted us. Schools of fish swam around us, a multitude of colour of various sizes and shapes. The new camera took a hammering as Philip clicked repeatedly trying to capture the mosaic of colour that was created in an underwater setting only about 4-6 metres deep and some 60 metres out from the shoreline. Hawksbill turtles swam past capturing moments where we thought we were on the set of “Finding Nemo” – gentle creatures that made you swim alongside them just by their presence.
We stayed in the water for over two hours also spotting moral eels, white tipped sharks, giant clams and the remaining characters from the set of Finding Nemo. This was all whilst having our own private guide working with us in the creature spotting department.
Returning to the foreshore at around 12 noon we headed back for another dip in our plunge pool and then off to lunch where our al la crate orders made this morning were waiting for us. Despite food needing to be brought to the island the meals ranged from $7 US to around $12 US – great value and very tasty.
After lunch we headed back to the road nearest the boat where we had been told by locals that there was a happening going on between 2:30 and 3pm and only happens on a Friday.
What this entailed was a boat load of tourists from a nearby island being brought on a tour to see the local village life of the Maldives. Upon arrival they were handed coconuts complete with straws and a red hibiscus flower. They then parade down the main strip which is really a cleared sand road and shown exhibits of how these “remote people’ live. We had a bit of a chuckle as these tourists have paid good money to come and see what we see every day for nothing. We were also being looked after but a man who was now playing a Maldivian drum but earlier this morning had opened a shop for us to buy a souvenir at inflated prices. We also gave his small boy $2US dollars which sent him into raptures of joy beaming at his father and muttering something in Maldivian which could have been “is it really for me and can I keep it?”. Upon getting a response the boy ran out of the store to let others know of his suck much like Willy Wonka finding the last golden ticket.
After the sojourn to check out the event, we headed back to the villa where Philip proceeded to download photos and Claire and I made another trip to the beach; this time where the tourists are meant to swim. The water continues to amaze and the couple of hours spent there was enjoyable, particularly when washed down with a cold drink and a Maldivian version of Pringles.
Finally it was dinner time and, with few guests a la carte was the order of the day. Philip had a stunning medium sized reef fish whilst Claire and I tried out a few more items on a very extensive menu. The waiter has specifically also ordered some of the bread rolls we love from the bakery – a place we didn’t even know existed on the island but is to be commended for the great bread and pastries that it makes.
Heading to bed, we booked the whale shark tour for tomorrow (not expecting to see any as none have been spotted over the past couple of days apparently due to the changing tides of the upcoming monsoonal weather) and also a five course menu on the beach tomorrow night (specially for us …shhh according to the waiter).
Christmas lights are sparkling outside our villa, great meals, good people and a location to die for. Not a bad way to usher in the festive season even if it ain’t your traditional white Christmas location for us.