maldives - gate to the indian ocean
all year all seasons
It is early in the morning. Just on time we reach the gate when we hear the announcement " this is the last call for TK 732 to Male …". In the afternoon this same day we print our first food steps into the beach sand of one of these 1,200 islands in the north of the Indian Ocean, known as the Maldives. The right place to get away from it all. The Maldives are an all year, all season, holiday destination. They offer a taste of paradise in a quiet ambience and are one of the ultimate destinations for divers. Here you get in touch with the oceans most famous animals, such as dolphins, manta rays and whale sharks.
But this time we didn't come here to deal with diving equipment, diving instructors and their busy time schedules. We just want to swim and hang out at the beach that surrounds this beautiful island. We are here to relax; to snorkel around the house reef at sunrise and to enjoy an exotic fruit cocktail in the beach bar at sunset.
This time we have chosen an island that has no regular hotel rooms but water villas that are build close to the house reef, connected to the island by a sea bridge. The water villa concept is perfect for anyone who wants to feel more connected to the sea and who likes to jump straight into the water from the terrace. It also invites us to spend the nights on the terrace, looking at this amazing star-spattered sky. A perfect place to enjoy life.
the big swim
From the hotel's sea bridge we can see the neighbor island, a couple of kilometers away. After some days of good food and resting we are now a little hungry for adventure. We wonder how far it is and how long it would take to swim over there. Since we do not have an open water training site like this every day, we decide to make it a big day and swim to the other island. We rent the hotel's dive boat for the afternoon, to accompany us during the swim.
some snoopy visitors
A couple of hours later, we see the dive boat waiting for us outside the house reef. Time to get ready. We are just about to get into the water when the captain calls and asks us to wait, because the dive boat has some "visitors". There are a some small reef sharks swimming excited around the boat, expecting to get some free food. A couple of minutes later they disappear and we get into the water. We are not so much concerned about the sharks when we dive in.
There is another fish that gives us some trouble. A "Giant Triggerfish" has marked its territory right under our villas. Actually not a "giant" at all, this guy is very aggressive and attacks without warning. So we carefully scan the water until we reach the edge of the reef. From now on there is nothing else then the crystal clear blue water of the Indian Ocean.
After some time we realize that the water is actually too warm for a long distance swim. So we keep it slow, not to get into hyperthermia.
Suddenly another reef appears about 2 meters below the surface. We give it a break hoping to see some nice corals and other exotic sea life. And we don't get disappointed. A swarm of "surgeonfish" is swimming on top of the reef. I have seen this species many times but not in such huge numbers. I'm swimming over to the dive boat. The captain ask "what's wrong?", I say "nothing wrong, please hand me my camera - we found Dory."
It is late afternoon when we reach the other island. Getting on the boat we are happy and exhausted. The captain looks happy too because he was a little worried about our venture. His only comment: "you guys are crazy". Back on our island we are just on time for the daily sunset show at the beach bar. "Beer anyone? - yes, yes, yes, …"