Maldives - Beautiful Sunrises

When I went to sleep each night in the Maldives, I purposely left the curtains undone. The villa I stayed in had a great view of the surf spot (Kandooma Right)... but it had an even more beautiful view of the morning sunrise. The light naturally woke me up each morning and the excitement of the great waves encouraged me to get out of bed. These are a few photos I took of those sunrises.

Maldives - Beautiful Sunset IV

I took these photos on the beach front of Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort as I was waiting for the boat for the airport. It was a beautiful place!

Maldives - Beautiful Sunset III

Photographs taken from the same spot as my previous post... just a different night (same beauty).

Maldives - Beautiful Sunset II

Around 6PM each evening, guests at the Holiday Inn Resort on Kandooma Island would gather on the roof deck to reflect on the day, drink cocktails, and watch the sky light up. For surfers, it was a time to rest/recover and talk about all the amazing waves they rode. For couples, it was a time to be together and enjoy the last few hours of the day. Regardless of who you were or what you were doing, the free show that Mother Nature put on each night was worth the daily resort fees.

Maldives - Beautiful Sunset I

I took these photos as I was walking to dinner (we had an incredible seafood feast this night)... and I decided to take the scenic route around the island as the sun had just started to go down. It's amazing how much the color of the sky changes over the course of an hour. Miss being able to watch this each evening!

Maldives - Foxy's Left

Across the lagoon and over an exposed coral reef was "Foxy's Left". When I first arrived on the island, I asked about this spot... and the boat captains told me that it needed a really big swell to be rideable (otherwise, it would just break on top of very shallow coral). Each day, I looked at the spot (never anyone out surfing)... and each day the boat captains would say "not big enough, too shallow, dangerous." However, the surf kept getting bigger each day... and by the 5th day of the trip, it was definitely rideable by anyone's standards. These are a few photos I took while gazing upon it from the other side of the lagoon.

I actually never made it out to surf Foxy's Left. The boat captains didn't seem to want to take us here... and there were plenty of other uncrowded/perfect waves (that didn't break over extremely shallow coral). Maybe I will try surfing it next time... until then, I can enjoy the pictures.

Maldives - Rip Tides

On the other side of the island I stayed on was a surf spot called Rip Tides. You could get to this spot by wading through a lagoon, walking over coral, and then paddling across a channel (which took a bit of time)... or you could take a 10  minute ride. I chose to take the boat.

Rip Tides is not that powerful of a wave (there were a few random barrel sections), but it is super playful. The wave breaks over a reef that feels like it is in the middle of the ocean. The first time I surfed here, it was a bit difficult to figure out where to sit (especially since there were long lulls between sets). However, when I did manage to glide into my first wave, I was all smiles. The wave "wedges up"when it hits the outer reef... and then wraps around to the inside section. After surfing the barreling right at Kandooma, it was nice to sit back and relax at this spot.

Maldives - Kandooma Right

Situated directly in front of my beach front villa (at the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma) was a surf spot called "Kandooma Right". Kandooma Right is a fast/barreling reef break and offers adrenaline pumping rides. When I first arrived at the resort, I was mentally preparing myself for some beatings (the wave had quite a bit of power). However, after gliding into my first few waves, I was surprised at how easy the takeoff was. It helps having perfect waves to ride... but I think the lack of people and warm water were a bigger boost to my surfing ability. For some reason, waves are just easier to surf in warm water.

The Perfect Wave set me up with this amazing villa. However, as much as I loved the view, it was difficult to relax. Watching perfect/empty waves go unridden made me a bit restless (and caused me to surf 3-4 times per day). Luckily, there was a talented massage therapist at the spa!

Maldives - Like No Place On Earth

It's difficult to describe the Maldives to someone that has never been. I can't provide an analogy or say that it's "like somewhere else". The truth is that it is really like no place I've ever been. Imagine a country that consists of over 1,100 tiny islands (no bigger than a large parking lot) spread out over 35,000 square miles of ocean. The islands are grouped together by 26 atolls... and they have an average ground elevation of only 1.4 meters above sea level (which makes it the lowest country in the world). As you can imagine, the locals are a bit concerned about global warming.

Just arriving in the Maldives is a bit of an adventure (especially if you're coming from the US). If you include total transit time, it can take about 30-40 hours just to get there. Do not bring alcohol or pork into the country (as they are Muslim). The resorts have special licenses to serve liquor... but you can get into some trouble if caught in the airport (also recommend that women cover up if going to a "local island"). The airport is located on an island close to the capital city of Malé. Upon arrival, there are no taxis, limos, or buses to take you where you are going... you need to hitch a ride on one a boat or sea plane. The island I stayed on was about an hour speed boat ride from the airport.

Life in the Maldives depends on the ocean. It provides food, transportation, and supports the huge tourism industry (diving, fishing, snorkeling, surfing, etc). The water is the clearest that I've ever seen. When sitting in 20+ feet of water, you can see straight down to the bottom. Because it is so clear, your depth perception gets messed up (looks much shallower than it is)... and this creates some confusion when surfing.

Anyways, this was one of the most memorable holidays that I've been on. The resort was very nice (Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort). I was situated on a tiny island surrounded by coral reefs. The food was delicious (endless fresh seafood buffets!!), sunsets were breathtaking, and there was a barreling right hand reef break directly in front of my villa. I couldn't ask for much more! I would like to thank The Perfect Wave for making this a reality.

More photos to come later!