Tag Archives: Maldives

Sharks and turtles and stingrays..oh my!

Kurumba Resort, Vihamanafushi, Republic of Maldives

Another update from Maldives – as you can tell, we have free internet here.

Since my last post, Mike and I have actually gotten off our butts and done some sort of physical activity.   It seems like we’ve done so much, well at least a lot for island/beach culture.  The highlight so far has been scuba diving and snorkeling. There’s a snorkeling site outside of the reef which surrounds the island and is home to so many different types of marine life.  Imagine swimming in an aquarium, that’s what snorkeling here is like! We saw rainbow coloured fish, remoras, parrotfish (it literally looks like a parrot) and even a shark.  The kinda gross thing is you can see the fish poo right infront of your snorkeling mask while you’re swimming with them – gross! But I guess it’s all worth it to see the peculiar behaviour of marine life – like fish digging holes into the sand, fish all facing inwards in a circle like a fish pow wow, sharks swimming freely with small fish and schools of tiny neon fish swimming in zig-zag patterns.  We’ve actually loved snorkeling so much that it’s become a daily activity along with laying on the beach and eating instant noodles (more on that below).

After getting used to not breathing through our noses, we decided to up the ante and try scuba diving.  We decided to try out the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course since we didn’t have enough time to do the full open water certification courses.  In the morning, our instructor Momo taught us about the equipment and how to use it, hand signals and how to properly descend/ascend – there was even a test which Mike and I cheated off of each other (or should I say collaborated together).  After a quick lunch (instant noodles), we boarded a boat with our guide Alexey (think of a stereotypical Russian man) and3 other divers.  They drove us 20 minutes to the reef off of another island and we jumped right in.  We swam along this reef wall that was filled with fish, sharks, eels and we even saw a couple of turtles! After about 45 minutes, we had to resurface – I blame Mike for breathing too much oxygen 🙂

On the boat ride back, the staff were so nice and gave us pineapple which tasted sooo good – and I don’t even like pineapple! It’s because after breathing oxygen from a tank through your mouth only for so long, your mouth and throat get extremely dry.  So if you’re ever going scuba diving, bring water! As the boat was flying through the water, my dress flew off the seat and is now lost to the Indian Ocean.  So if you’re keeping track, in the last 5 days, we’ve lost: 1. my wallet; 2. Mike’s sunglasses (he put them on his stomach on the beach and rolled over while sleeping so they washed away); and now 3.  my dress.  At this rate, I’ll have an empty backpack when I get back to Toronto!

Today is our last day in the Maldives so we’re trying to do as much as possible, which for a vacation in the Maldives means about 30 minutes of physical activity – walking to and from the restaurant counts right? For anyone who wants a very relaxing, very idyllic beach vacation and has the money to spend, Maldives is definitely a classy place to do nothing.  The people are so friendly and the resort has every comfort you can think of.  It will be very difficult to leave tomorrow but at the same time, I can’t wait to start our adventure in India!

Note on instant noodles: Mike and I looked at the menus of the restaurants at Kurumba Resort before we left Toronto and a salad was $20! So we’ve smuggled in 20 packs of instant noodles to eat.  Our first obstacle was getting cutlery so being crafty people, we took the plastic ones from our flights.  The next obstacle was getting a bowl to make the instant noodles in – thank god for ice buckets! It may seem ghetto, but I’d like to think of it as being resourceful! (Advice: don’t forget to wash out the ice bucket before using it)

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Maldives: great place to lose your wallet

Kurumba Resort, Vihamanafushi, Republic of Maldives

So the start of my trip has been very interesting to say the least. I didn’t notice how taxing travel was until I realized that we left Toronto on Sunday afternoon and didn’t arrive at our destination until Tuesday morning. Minus the time difference and we’ve been traveling for around 30 hours. But I must say, it’s been worth it!

For those short attention-spanned people like me, here’s a brief recap of the last 30 hours:

  • finally packed all my stuff into my backpack, it’s 18kg. I’m going to develop back muscles I never even knew I had!
  • last goodbye to parents and friends in Toronto and also, goodbye to instant connectivity through internet, cellphone, bbm etc. Mom and Dad, thank you for not freaking out!
  • Amsterdam airport: security is very particular here. They do all the security stuff at each gate and have special security people (employed by G4S or as we know them by in Toronto, our building concierge). These security people pull everyone aside at these podiums and ask all these questions that I found odd. For example, they questioned how Mike and I knew each other at least 3 times and how we were going to get around on our trip. It didn’t help that Mike and I had no idea what our itinerary is going to look like or how we were actually going to get around.
  • Mumbai airport: very friendly and personalized service. We had this lady take us around everywhere – maybe because we looked super disoriented from being sleep deprived. She even questioned where we were going when we left the gate – Mike had to get KFC which not too surprisingly, tasted the same as in Toronto.
  • Mumbai to Colombo to Maldives: they love fresh cold towels here and now, as do I. So refreshing and clean!

Finally landed in Maldives and automatically, it felt so baller! We were ushered to this private yacht (and when I say yacht, it’s because I’ve never seen such a nice boat in my life!) and were automatically given bottles of water and again, fresh cold towels! They even let me drive the boat which now, looking back may not have been the wisest choice considering how sleep deprived and practically inebriated from excitement I was. We sped along to Kurumba resort which is on one of the North Male atolls (i.e. islands) called Vihamanafushi and was pleasantly greeted by a hostess who showed us the resort grounds which spans the island.

Mike and I freshened up and walked around the island and I couldn’t stop smiling. We saw schools of fish and water snakes just by walking along the beach. Our beach villa is so baller that we had to hide the instant noodles we brought along in the cupboard out of shame. Then, panic struck when I realized I had lost my wallet somewhere between the Mumbai airport KFC and here. Which brings me to my next piece of advice for anyone traveling:

  1. Keep your most important stuff in a money belt at all times. Thankfully, my passport was in my money belt so I can still leave the country. Although, they’ll have to drag me off this island when it comes time to leave.
  2. Separate out your money. I only had a couple of USD in my wallet and the rest was safely tucked away in a money belt.
  3. Get a second debit card and keep that with your most valued-valuables in your money belt.
  4. Take photocopies of all your important cards and documents. I was easily able to call MBNA (for credit card) and CIBC (for debit card) to cancel my cards. MBNA is even FedEx-ing me a card to the Maldives before we set off for India!

Maldives is probably the best place to lose your wallet since everything is connected (internet, phone etc) and the staff at Kurumba have been super helpful.

After the panic wore off, we took a nap before dinner which ended being a 13 hour coma! After a 30 hour trip across the world, it’s just what we needed so today, we are fully refreshed and ready to…lay on the beach and do nothing!

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