Expansive island hopping across
Life truly stripped down to the very fundamentals.
People before us knew that the Maldives offer a paradigm of paradise.
For instance, Thor Heyerdahl once wrote: “Each little island was a separate gem set in a ring of golden beach sand and with another wider ring of glass-green water outside where the coral reef approached the surface, rising like a giant mushroom from the bottomless blue”.
Island enthusiasts such as ourselves will simply need to travel here a few times during their lifetime.
The Maldives is the "original atolls" on Earth. What do we mean by that?
Well, without becoming too nerdy, the word comes from the local 'atholhu' in the islander's Dhivehi language, meaning fragmented islets of coral.
And that is precisely what the Maldives is: fragmented islands of coral that have accreted around the peaks of ancient, long-departed volcanoes that are now submerged in the vast Indian Ocean, now draped as twenty atolls and thousands of tiny islands across the Equator like a necklace of exotic diamonds.
Location: 15 different islands across five atolls in the Maldives off the Coast of southern India and Sri Lanka, during 1,5 months
To us, many island nations – e.g. Seychelles, Mauritius, French Polynesia, Fiji, and others – has the right ingredients for an escape, which is all about rest and relaxation: Pristine tropical islands with swaying palm trees, pure white sand beaches, and brilliant turquoise lagoons. However, we think that the physical beauty of the Maldives is perhaps unmatched in the world. Here, life is stripped down to simplicity and to the fundamentals: Bright blue skies, all-year sunshine and fantastic diving and snorkeling in lagoons with the temperature of bath water.
Most people tend to go here for one or two weeks for a "one in a lifetime-experience". We keep coming back and each time, we learned that it is best to know what one want from the islands, and then do a bit of homework, check out websites and see through relevant reviews until a few islands remains on the list.
So-far we have visited in 45 days more than 15 islands in five different atolls, incl. North Male Atoll, Rasdhoo Atoll, Ari Atoll, Faafu Atoll and South Male Atoll. Our next trips to the Maldives will focus on the far-away atolls at the poles of the archipelago.
Selected pics from our island hopping adventures in this region:
A geological eccentricity nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a series of ancient coral reefs that grew up around the sides of towering prehistoric volcanoes. These immense structures have long since sunk into the ocean, leaving behind coral atolls of incredible natural beauty.
View to South Male Atoll
Many places in the Maldives seek to reinforce the country’s Islanmic status. Perhaps most importantly with the Grand Friday mosque in Malé, whose golden dome lights up the skyline.
Malé is - despite its rumour - very charming capital with access to several fish and vegetable markets where we could mingle with the locals.
Big tunas for sale
Local fisher having an early morning break at the Malé fish market, North Malé Atoll
From the airport boats frequenty leave for nearby islands and nearby atolls. Speedboat (expensive) or dhoni (cheap)
Artificial island next to Malé
On a sailing trip in the Fafuu Atoll
Yet another island: Guraidhoo Island, South Malé Atoll.
The Maldives is a unique place whichever way you look at it. From the air it is magical, breathtakingly beautiful and almost surreal. An air trip is ofte mandatory to reach places outside the central attols and Malé.
The resort on Filitheyo Island – and pretty much all other resorts – is something of a cocoon. Critics may say that a stay here is too perfect, too boring. What should one do in an area of 1x1 km? But that is why we and most people come! To recharge and forget about daily urgencies.
What about going barefoot for the entire holiday? Wooden walkways through the public area is the only change from the sandy floors and trails that crisscross the interior. The interior is splendid: few resorts beat this one for impressive strands of mature coconut palms, indigenous vegetation and the chance to walk through, and not just around, the island.
The beach is broad down the side with the large lagoon and narrower on the other side where the reef is close to shore.
There has been very little intervention on the beach or in the lagoon, so nothing spoils the view or the walk down either side of Filitheyo island.
Yes! The water really is this blue.
The marine life is abundant; manta rays, eagle rays, barracudas, napoleon wrasse, white-tip sharks and grey reef sharks.
Arrival in Fieeali Island, Nilandoo Atoll.
Fieeali Island, Nilandhoo Atol
Fieeali Island, Nilandhoo Atoll.
Filiheyo Island, Nilandhoo Atoll
Visitors amass to take pictures during the last rays of the day.