Tuesday, May 27, 2014

30th Anniversary in The Maldives!

Joe and I just got back from celebrating our 30th anniversary-- in The Maldives!  The Maldives is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, just southwest of India.  And southeast of Oman.  It was only a 3 1/2 hour flight from Muscat to Male, the capital of The Maldives.  We then took another plane to our resort.  If you look very closely, we were at the very bottom dot in the red circle, just below the equator.  Pretty much all alone in the big Indian Ocean.

The Maldives is made up of more than 1200 islands.  We stayed at one of our favorite hotel chains, the Shangri-La.  The resort was located 500 km south of Male.  Side note:  if you are flying into Male, be sure your camera is not in the overhead bin.  I can kick myself for missing some amazing pictures.

(Warning:  This is a long blog post with lots of pictures of water.  I don't want to lose you in the middle.)

We flew a Maldivian Airline plane to Gan.  You can see a sprinkling of islands in the water below.

The airstrip in Gan was built during the WWII, when Gan was the location of a secret British Naval Base.  It stayed a secret until 1943, but by then, Japan didn't pose as much of a threat (according to the sign).

Not a bad location for a secret naval base.

We took a boat from Gan for the short trip to our resort.

Our first glimpse of the beach.  It felt very much like what I would imagine Fantasy Island to be.  I half-expected to hear 'Ze plane, ze plane.'  If you don't know what I am talking about, you are too young.  :)

View from our deck.  We stayed in a water villa.

The water villas were a little ways off the shore, and the resort was also rather spread out.  Each villa came with two bikes.  We loved riding them.

Our neighbors.  Though we never really saw any other people by us.

I kept trying to get a decent picture of the water.  This still does not do it justice.  I have never seen so many shades of turquoise in the water at once.

The island is very jungly.  We loved bike riding on the roads.  There were no cars, only golf carts on the island.

We saw lots of flying foxes.

Which is a nice name for this bat.

We also saw quite a few crabs.  Which after a minute, just look like big spiders to me.

On a nicer note, we saw this stingray in the water close to our villa.  We also saw a giant sea turtle and a baby shark.  By baby, I mean 3 or 4 feet long.

Here is Joe, riding the bike to our villa.  The boardwalk was about 10-12 feet off the ground.  It was a little nerve-wracking on the windier days.  I was just concentrating on not falling in the water!

Our deck loungers

Can't go to the beach without a toe picture.

This is the reception area and jetty, where the hotel guests come in and leave from.

The area right behind Joe is an outdoor lounge, and the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

These were really awesome cabanas by the infinity pool.

The view of the pool and beach from the cabana.

Riding through a tree tunnel.  This Shangri-La resort was immaculate!  There would be people out on these paths every morning, sweeping up the fallen leaves.

This was the view from my massage room.  Granted, I only saw it coming and going, but I knew it was there.  :)

I took a picture of this on our last day.  It had been kind of rainy for a couple of days.  May is the beginning of the rainy season, so you might want to visit earlier in the year.  Anyways, this was one of my favorite spots on the island.  I loved riding my bike over this water every morning, and that bit of green grass in the middle is the only golf course in The Maldives.  I think.  You can't tell here, but I could also see the ocean on the other side of the golf course.

2,702 km from home.

There are quite a few activities to be enjoyed at this resort.  Snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and even mountain climbing.  Yes, we 'climbed' to the tallest spot in all of The Maldives.  Elevation:  16 feet!

This was actually a tee box on the golf course.  Joe golfed the course the day before, but on the last morning, we rode our bikes on the cart path.  I didn't realize we could do that, and the views were some of the best on the island!  Anyways, The Maldives is the flattest country in the world.

This sign on the course showed that there was nothing between this spot and the Antarctica, except lots of water.

Almost forgot to take pics of the villa.  Beautiful and huge.

This hall leads to an amazing bathroom and outdoor shower.  There was also an indoor shower.  Really should have closed the shower door.

Ready for dinner on the last night.

We spent five days here and it was beautiful, beyond our expectations!  A great place to celebrate 30 years of marriage to this great guy!

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