Truly Julie chillin’ on the most perfectly placed hammock in the most perfect place.
No reason to neglect an “asian pose” just because you’re 70 ft underwater:)
No words or pictures can do the Maldives justice. But I’ll try. This is the lagoon at Naladhu Resort.
I’ve been told I’m rather a free spirit; that I often throw caution to the wind all the while being as bold as a honey badger (if you do not get this reference, this youtube viral video is a must). Perhaps nothing displays this better than how I often travel. Usually with two weeks or less planning time, I will play what I call “travel roulette” online. I’ll surf travel sites with great last minute deals and book it on a whim. Yup, even if it means a 24-hour flight: à la the Maldives. Once I spotted the sweet deal and sparkling pictures of Naladhu resort, which is on a private island off the coast of Sri Lanka, it was hook, line and sinker.
The travel time to paradise was grueling! From JFK, it was 14 hours to Dubai with a 7-hour layover, then another 4-hour flight to Male airport in the Maldives, then an hour boat ride to Naladhu. Two things that made this trek doable: Pinkberry at Dubai airport and flying Emirates. And boy…the first site of that ridiculously clear blue water and you realize…no distance is too far for this kind of beauty. I mean, I was waiting for unicorns to prance through the iridescent water. Simply put, it’s like winning a lotto for all your senses.
The Naladhu resort has only 20 or so ocean front homes on the whole atoll. It has a “no front desk” setting, meaning each house comes with a butler so that you never have to contact the front desk for anything. I know…ridunkulous! Each house is about 3,500 sq ft and comes with all the amenities that you ooh-and-ah over on the pages of Travel & Leisure. Here I am at the main door of my ocean front home. Yes…darling…my ocean front home.
My absolute favorite about the Maldives, though, is the marine life. Just off my back deck was basically an aquarium. A natural barrier prevented waves from breaking through, leaving 2 feet of pristine water where two octopi were mating every day! You have got to see this video, click here: Octopi Love. And in that same “pond”, 2 spotted moray eels, a school of parrot fish, a sting ray, crabs galore, a trumpet fish, a variety of starfish, and so on. I also went scuba diving every day, and one dive in particular changed my life! By a stroke of luck, I signed up for a dive and it ended up being just me and the dive master. She said, “I’ve never had fewer than 4 divers with me, but since it’s just you and me, we’re going to go to a secret spot that I usually save for us dive masters.” That dive was like West Side Story underwater. We spotted 12 sharks total, and 8 of them together. We snapped our fingers like the Jets…the Sharks paused and gave us a “don’t mess with us glare”…and we went our separate ways. 5 stars. I also spotted 4 sea turtles that were the size of SUV tires. So cool. Oh! And on a casual walk on the pier one night, look what I spotted just on the surface of the water…a very poisonous lion fish. Poor thing, it looks so busted.
There is a sad part to this story. The Maldives is a string of atolls with the highest point being just 8 ft above sea level (it has the lowest highest elevation of any country!). If global warming continues, this paradise will submerge. I also learned on the trip that tuna is beyond overfished. Since this trip, I have stopped eating tuna. I guess the true beauty of traveling is that once you really appreciate a place, you care enough to preserve it in whatever way you can. In a way, this “throw caution to the wind” trip made me all the more cautious.