the Maldives

Affordable Maldives: Part Two

Taj Exotica Resort in the Maldives exuded a high level of exclusivity and luxury beyond anything you would expect. Sure, celebrities are known to dally in the multitude of islands and escape from the city life in an effort to satisfy their every desire; but somehow the highly contrasting lifestyles between Malé and any of the upscale resorts does not prepare you for the kind of purity and unpretentious serenity found only in this dreamlike seclusion. We could only imagine that this is what French Polynesia (or at least Tahiti and Moorea) is desperately trying to preserve and save from […]

Bacon, Beer & Bibles

You know what it feels like to wake up from a dream? Your mind is still in another place while your body is in the physical reality. That’s what it felt like when we set foot on Malé, the capital of the Maldives. We stayed on the island for two nights before boarding the dhoni and docked there on our last night so we had one more chance to wander the capital. The life on Malé and the inhabited islands is completely different than the luxury resorts frequented by visitors or the dhoni —where rules were pretty much nonexistent. We could […]

Island Life

A great benefit of traveling with G Adventures is that the organization supports the local economy by partnering with guides that bring us into the heart of the country. Because of this, we had the chance to visit two inhabited islands of the Maldives, Dhiggaru & Fulidhoo. Walking from one side of the island to the other, we relished in its simplicity. Both islands could be crossed by foot and only one automobile exists on Dhiggaru, which is the ambulance. We could feel the serenity exuded by the kind people who welcomed us. We watched some children playing volleyball and […]

Ray Meets a Manta Ray

If all those fish we saw while snorkeling seemed like they were from another planet, the manta rays were from a whole other universe. Trying to placate nausea from the strong waves, Carmela stayed dhoni-side while Raymund went out with the group to swim with another “ray” (heh). Around 18 feet long, these creatures glided through the water as an eagle soars in the air. It took a lot of energy to power through the current to keep up with the rays, and luckily they didn’t shy away from the camera. oooh…Ray!      

Part of Their World

Okay. Everyone swim along the coral reef back to the dhoni. Excuse me? What? A wave of panic swept over both of us. It was our first full day of snorkeling and the dingy had just brought our group, with our guide, Sherm from the dhoni to the middle of the ocean — no shallow area in sight, and the dhoni looked like a children’s toy boat from where we were. Really swim all the way back to the boat? All our friends happily obliged jumping off the dingy into the vast ocean water sans life vest or any type […]

Finding Time

Before we left in February, we thought this round the world trip would be a chance for us to develop our individual passions since it was difficult to do so while we were both working.  So, Raymund wanted to draw more and Carmela hoped to improve her yoga practice. Fueled by ambition, we figured we’d be able to do these things every day on our trip. What were we thinking? But strip away the (mostly) enjoyable events of long term travel: seeing all the sites of an area, figuring out where to sleep and how to get there safely, and […]

Wanderlusters

It’s a humbling and inspiring experience to meet other travelers. We were lucky to have snorkelled, dined, and lazed around with six incredibly interesting people and new-found friends. Every one of the individuals we met on that tiny ship has traversed the world in their own way  — backpacking through South East Asia, South America and Europe, tackling overland trips from Cairo to Cape Town or from Beijing to Istanbul, and trekking in some of the most remote places. Some spent years of their lives on the road, with no discernible path or end date for their travels in sight. […]

the Blues

The water and islands of the Maldives are breathtaking…wait no…beautiful, that’s not right — to put it simply, they can’t be accurately described with just a word or phrase. We spent a lot of time lazily cruising around the atolls and just watching…taking it all in. Photos don’t convey the bright crystal blue waters that made us reach for our sunglasses, the clean smell of the sea air or the undulation of the boat. Alas, this is the only medium that we can share this marvel with our readers. Sadly, with all this beauty comes a sobering reality. The Maldives […]

Sandy Dining

A table made out of sand? A fiery dolphin? Torches? Did that really happen? Yes, because the crew of our dhoni were amazing. One night we were told we’d be having dinner on the beach. We expected some blankets and maybe a barbeque, but what was created for us was really remarkable. The crew spent all afternoon preparing the beach for our feast. They carved out a table and chairs out of sand, decorated the shoreline, and hauled all the food over to the island from the dhoni on a small dingy. We ate our meal by candlelight, our toes […]

Smooth Chef

What makes a good cook? What causes food to taste so darn delicious? In Japan, we discovered how the respect for the ingredients and practice of cooking made many of our meals (and snacks!) really memorable. Similarly, on our cruise of the Maldives, we realized that ingenuity, resourcefulness, passion and a little bit of quirkiness are also integral components of extraordinary food. Considering the complexity and variety of dishes we were served, one would expect that it took a fleet of cooks and fancy kitchen to come up with it all. It was exactly the opposite. Our masterful chef, Victor […]

Dolphins’ Tails

We’re officially party crashers. Not the kind that show up uninvited to a house party with a measly six pack and a snack size bag of chips to share, but the type that points and snaps pictures of the jumping, dancing, and debauchery without taking part in the festivities. Okay. We didn’t really crash a normal human party, but a venerable dolphin fiesta! While sailing from one snorkel spot to another, our dhoni was surrounded by nearly a hundred dolphins. They scurried along side the ship, jumping up to say hello or get their picture taken. Groups also took turns […]

Affordable Maldives: Part One

When we tell people that we’ve traveled to the Maldives, we typically receive one of two reactions: A look of surprise and jealousy followed by some variation of the question: are you independently wealthy? Blank stares coupled with a slow head nod and questioning grin. Most people fall into the second category. They have never heard of the Maldives, a nation made up of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean known for it’s spectacular underwater life and isolated islands. It been in the news this past year because of political uprisings as it’s former president, Mohamad Nasheed, was forced out […]

Sun Salutations

Salutation (salyəˈtāSHən)— noun. A gesture or utterance made as a greeting or acknowledgment of another’s arrival or departure. We’ve documented and posted just a few of the countless sunrises and sunsets that we’ve seen on this trip. In the Maldives, the sun was much more intense (probably because we were just one degree from the equator), which made these seemingly routine events that herald the morning and evening so much more remarkable. Each time we witness these events, it provokes different emotions in us. In this country, these sensations were much more distinct. As we watched the sunrises and sunsets […]