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!

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