Maldives Day 1
We landed about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We stepped out of the plane into just instant heat. We stepped about 50 yards from the plane into the air conditioned terminal.
We passed through Passport control and were given our Visas. From here it was another few yards to the baggage collection area. Within minutes the carousel started and our bags came out.
We then, bizarrely had to have our bags x-rayed before we went out into the Arrival area of the airport. This is the quickest time I have ever done the whole arrival at airport thing, even when I have just had hand luggage! We normally say 30-60 minutes.
After stepping out into what could be called the main terminal, we were greeting by the Virgin Holidays rep, who handed us an envelope and directed us to the desk for check in to catch the Maldivian Air Taxi. They weighed and placed our luggage in to a van and escorted us to a minibus.
The minibus did look dodgy, but it was lovely and air conditioned. It drove us round to the Air Taxi terminal. This looked like a massive pub by the sea, with patio furniture and a bar. We took a seat and Sam fetched some cokes for us to refresh ourselves. And before we knew it, our flight number appeared on screen.
We walked out on to the Jetty and boarded this bright red seaplane, we sat right at the front and the cockpit was completely opened. The pilot and co-pilot, climbed in barefooted and started the right engine.
I looked at Charlie who had a smile on him like a Cheshire cat. The engine was on and the other people had sat down and belted up. Velidhu was our first stop and the flight time approximately 30 minutes. Using the right engine, the pilot navigated us away from the airport, whilst holding the switch to start the left engine as well as controlling the rudder with his barefeet.
He took us slowly out of the harbour area to what appeared to be the runway, lined with buoys, as we turned for the first set. The co-pilot adjusted the flaps and feathering and the pilot initiated full throttle.
Water sprayed up from the ski’s and the engines were helping us gain momentum. Before we knew it we were up in the air and my ears were popping.
I looked again at Charlie who had still got a massive grin on his face. He had found a hole in his window and decided to try his fingers to see what would happen.
As we climbed through the clouds the ride got extremely bumpy, up and down, left and right. The pilot made the necessary adjustments and increased throttle to take us to about 4,000ft.
The view from the plane was fantastic, loads of tiny islands, some with buildings some just pure beach and one palm tree. The odd couple took advantage of this with Kayaks, just lying arm in arm with each other knowing that the only people to watch were weirdo’s like me from a seaplane. I don’t think they cared.
I noticed our island out of the window, I knew it was ours as I had already gone over it with Google Earth. We took a fly past over the beach and turned to land. The plane skimmed the water, before slowing and heading for the Jetty.
There to greet us were the Rep’s from the hotel. They took our luggage and shook our hands. As we walked off the Jetty onto the island, we were handed three ice cold flannels. Sam being Sam refused it, as she probably thought there would be a cost.
Our hotel rep, took us through the trees and showed us where certain facilities were such as the diving school, restaurant and bar. As we walked past the bar, we were offered complimentary drinks before being sat down in the reception area.
We filled in all of the forms and the rep began to tell us about the hotel resort and the facilities they offered. Even down to detailing what was included in the deal, in the way of food and drinks.
We were given “theme park” style wrist bands to where, as we were fully inclusive and then given 20 minutes to relax whilst our room was prepared.
When our room was finished, the rep walked us along the beach to our bungalow. He opened the door and the cold air conditioned air rushed out. We were also greeted by another guy, who was our “room boy” for the week. He greeted us and explained the features.
The bungalow is a small round hut. Inside a large king sized bed, single bed for Charlie. A wet room containing a shower, toilet, beday and a sink, a walk in wardrobe and some storage areas. The room was lovely and cold due to the air conditioning.
We all got changed and showered due to the 11 hours on the plane and then had a bit of a nap. When I say bit of a nap, we managed to sleep until about 6pm Maldives time. Although we only decided it was 6pm after walking to reception, me and Sam managed to have an argument about what the realtime was. Sam was adding 5 hours onto the time on her watch, when the real time difference is GMT +5.
We had a sit down in the bar and within minutes a guy took our order. Due to me being tight, I already knew what was and wasn’t included in the all inclusive package. I had a drink of the local Lion draft beer. Charlie and Sam had Sprite and Coke, respectively.
The beer was beautiful, just like my favourite San Miguel. We enjoyed the sit down and waited until 7.30pm, when we went t the restaurant to have some food.
A waiter sat us down at the table, and took our drinks order… Another Lion Beer and then told us how to get the food. We all went and had a look round all of the different sections. I’m not normally very daring with the food, so I thought whilst it was included I would try as many things as possible.
For starter I had Crab Meat and Egg Drop soup with a cheese roll. Charlie had Tomato Pasta and Sam had some Rice and Meat. The soup was lovely, very eggy taste but not the taste to put you off. For my main course I had a bit of everything including Seafood Stirfry, Beef Steak with Cheese and Fried Rice.
I’m not a desert person, but Charlie didn’t eat his Jam Sponge and Custard so I decided not to waste it for him. The meal was finished off with a coffee.
When we had finished in the restaurant we decided to go for a walk up to the south pier. There was 1 light at the start of the Jetty that lit the bright clear blue and lit up the small baby sharks and brightly coloured fish swimming around the jetty.
I’d already read up on the wildlife in the Maldives and knew that these shark didn’t attack. We took a walk to the end of the jetty, and noticed that there we lights coming from underneath the sea. We later discovered that these were divers.
A heron joined us at the end, think he was looking for a bit of food. I managed to scare him back to the beach by taking a photo of him.
We walked back up the Jetty to the beach where we all decided we needed to dip our toes in the water to see how warm the sea was. Glad we did as I ended up in the sea to my neck. The water was gorgeous and so warm. We all had a bit of a paddle before retiring back to the bungalow.