Bored in the Maldives
FAQ: Don’t you get bored in the Maldives?
Today I am going to combine the run down of my day (4th November 2023) with my thoughts on the most common response I hear when I talk about my love of the Maldives with those who have never been.
“Don’t you get bored in the Maldives?”.
The short answer is - Across the countless trips I have made, I am yet to have a single day where I am bored in the Maldives.
The days just flow so well here even when you have no plans.
Hopefully my daily blog gives you a good idea of what the days look like. If you’ve been I’d love to know if yours feel different to how I portray it. I have no doubt that there are many ways to vacation in the Maldives.
Yesterday I slept in later than usual after a late night bringing my past trips into this new blog. I have become slightly obsessed with this space and now want everything in one neat and easy to access place for my own memories as much as for your ease of access.
I got up and went for a later breakfast. Breakfast in the Maldives is a lovely, leisurely affair. I can easily pass two hours sitting, admiring the view, getting up and down to peruse the options where there is a buffet - and ordering from the menu where there is one.
Here at JA Manafaru, they have the hybrid breakfast approach. Many options available as a buffet and then an a la carte menu to order eggs, Asian plates and other items from.
I always find that I have an average of five drinks on the go at breakfast. Between coffee, my OJ & ginger, the daily booster shot and the daily infusion plus water… it’s a commitment.
When I was done with breakfast, I walked back to my room and could see they were cleaning it. So I decided to do a lap of the island. This time I walked the anti-clockwise direction and all on the internal paths. The sky was much more blue today and so everything looked different. I went to the infinity pool which was being set up by Darshan who works there (who incidentally knows our friend who is a bartender at Oaga Art Resort). It was otherwise deserted so it was a nice opportunity to take some photos.
I continued my walk around the island and then came in to Andiamo (it’s taking a while for this name to stick and I’m still not 100% convinced that I’ve got it right!). Again, I paused to take a photo and some video to share on Instagram capturing the place before anyone arrived.
It has a real jungle feel and the landscaping is stunning. Unaware of anything else like it in the Maldives. I’m actually sat here now as I write this post.
I made it back around to the villa from here and the sky was looking so blue that the turquoise of the Indian Ocean was calling my name.
I grabbed my snorkelling gear and set off for the dive centre who kindly cleaned my mask for me ready for it’s first use in 6 months.
I entered the water from the beach alongside the jetty. Here at JA Manafaru, the only reef to speak of is at the end of the arrival jetty and to the left. My beach villa is the closest one to the reef area on this stretch of beach but it’s too far to swim, even for me (I used to be a competitive swimmer) as there can be mega currents.
The jetty is long and the snorkel alongside it felt longer. While I was staring at a sandy bottom, the colours and shade of turquoise were blindingly beautiful. I think this may have been the first time I have ever wished my mask was tinted to help reduce my need to squint!
As I made it further out along the side of the jetty, marine life started to appear. Small coral outcrops were scattered here and there and there was life with each one. A large titan triggerfish swam along to my left - I swear they follow me everywhere I go. Read about them here.
I scooped up a very old, discarded Philadelphia cream cheese pot on my journey to the reef which scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t see it coming 😂. I held on to it and a wrapper that floated by at the end of the jetty ready to hand to the team back on shore for safe disposal.
My expectations were certainly low when it came to what I should be expecting from time snorkelling whilst here and for this reason I was not disappointed. In fact, there were many more fish in the schools that I came across then I was imagining I would see. I happily scooted around out there with some free diving moments to get a closer look underneath the edges of the outcrops in case of anything surprising (no luck) for around an hour before I swam back to shore.
What I could see was that there are concerted efforts taking place by the resort to establish more corals and hopefully as these nurseries flourish, there will be more to enjoy when it comes to checking out under the water.
The Dive Center also has snorkelling trips on offer which are paid and will take you to more established reefs. At the time of writing though, the corals have been hit pretty badly up here and are yet to begin recovering as well as reefs further south.
For me, this is a non-issue as the island has such a relaxing feel and so much to offer on land. What I’m truly struck by and enjoying the most - is the service.
Every single staff member is engaging, reads the moment perfectly and has a total “can do” attitude. Right now, I am sitting on an extremely comfortable sun lounger with my every need being pre-empted as I order lunch. They have a plan on where to move me should it begin raining and I am set up with my lunch order to be arranged here by my side on the lounger.
Each meal is preceded by a basket of daily specials of bread and with either island made butter or a balsamic vinegar and olive oil combo.
Nothing provides better relaxation than knowing that needs you’re not even aware that you yet are going to be met.
After snorkelling, I had a swim in my pool, a shower and then applied my sun cream. At which point it duly clouded over and proceeded to rain for the remainder of the afternoon.
I went for lunch back to Kakani and they led me to my already “usual” table. I took a book with me and relaxed into a leisurely lunch of reef fish ceviche followed by a prawn Caesar salad. Both entrees on the menu but a ‘main course’ in its traditional sense is just far too much food for me knowing there is a 3-course dinner on the horizon.
My obsession with the reef fish ceviche at Amilla has previously been very well documented (with a previous server there even able to access the system to tell me how many times I had ordered it over my past visits… I’m not willing to provide that information 😂), so this felt like a risky game and the first direct ‘comparison’ I would be unable to resist making.
I am relieved to share that it did not disappoint. And my ceviche standards are high. If anything, I will ask for more chill next time - but a next time there shall certainly be.
The shrimp Caesar salad came right on time. Worth noting that I had ordered both from the gluten free menu so the croutons were different than those regularly served.
My idea of a perfect lunch.
After lunch I came back to the room and could see the clouds rolling in. I took a dip in the ocean and the colours were electric with the distant dark clouds really contrasting the blues cast by the current window of sunlight.
As it was Saturday I had a work call to host at 3pm (10am back home) and did so from the comfort of my deck and watched the clouds shift and change in the background. At one point a stunning rainbow appeared perfectly positioned in my direct line of sight.
Following the call I relaxed on the day bed out the back of the villa as the rain started to fall. It came down hard. I went through to the pool in my private garden (can’t believe it’s taken me this far into the post to drop that in today) and swam in the downpour. It felt reminiscent of being in Bali during monsoon season.
After a shower and being dressed for dinner, I made my way to Kakani where a special theme night was being laid on. Asian street-food night was the order of the day. It smelled incredible.
When you are seated, your napkin is presented and laid in your lap. They take your drink order - always offering an aperitif - for me, I opted for the mocktail of the day which was a ginger concoction of some kind.
Appetisers are served family style. When dining solo, family style can be slightly overwhelming! The pomelo salad and sashimi were the highlights of the four dishes presented.
The main meal is created by visiting 11 live cooking stations buffet style and curating your own plate. The winner for me of this evening was undoubtedly the yellowfin tune which was cooked on a sizzling hot plate with just the right blend of spices and salts. perfection.
And then… there is dessert. Again, this is served family style. Four dishes presented beautifully on a plate. The lychee ice cream and the sticky rice with mango were outstandingly good.
I would share pictures but as is the Maldivian resort way, restaurants are so low-lit that photos do a disservice to the presentation and ambience that is present.
You’ll need to come and see for yourself :)
After dinner, I strolled back to my room in the spitting rain and climbed into the now turned down bed and wrote the recap post from my first full day (you can read that here if you missed it).
That’s my day. And it felt like a bit of a non-descript one.
So tell me… does it sound boring?!