Maldives seen from the sky. February 2014.

The Maldives, at the water's edge

  Maldives - February 2014

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

I've been dreaming about it for years. I am there! The Maldives... A gigantic archipelago on the water, spectacular as soon as you arrive by plane.

New destination

The destination is a new one, on Bubbles Underwater & Beyond ! I'm in the Maldives for two weeks, in this month of February 2014.

The archipelago consists of 1,199 islands, according to Wikipedia, 202 are inhabited. Crumbs of coral land scattered in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka.

CLARIFICATIONS: in April 2014, I interrupted my series of articles on the MaldivesI found it difficult to continue to praise the beauties of this Indian Ocean archipelago (and thus to encourage people to go to the Maldives) when the regime had tightened its application of Sharia law, after my stay in February 2014. Not respecting human rights, the Maldives had to leave the Commonwealth of Nations in 2016. But in september 2018, things have changed, with the surprise defeat in the autocratic president's elections Abdulla Yameen supported by Islamists and now prosecuted for corruption, beaten by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, an ally of the democratic camp. Then in april 2019, the party of Mohamed Nasheedformer president of the Maldives (2008-2012), several times imprisoned by the regime and main opposition figure, won the first legislative elections since Yameen left. The Maldives return to the path of democracyThis is great news!

Due to the lack of a good internet connection, it will be difficult for me to post "live" articles about this new trip. But I will try. Here are already some pictures of the Maldives seen from the sky... I chose a seat on the window side of the plane, so as not to miss anything of the show.

Like in French PolynesiaI'm going to get blue eyes again... It's beautiful !!!

Maldives seen from the sky. February 2014.
Maldives seen from the sky. (February 2014)
Maldives seen from the sky. February 2014.
Maldives seen from the sky. (February 2014)

What is striking, when flying over, is the fragility of these islets just above the water. Their sand and coral barriers seem derisory in the face of the immense ocean, of an intense blue.


At the time I post these few lines, my stay is already well underway... I just spent a few days in a nice guesthouse, Asseyri Inn, located on an island in the very north of the Maldivian archipelago, Hanimaadhoo. It is an inhabited island, with a village and "real" people, not a luxury island-hotel reserved exclusively for tourists.

Update - January 2017 : the guesthouse Asseyri Inn as I knew it no longer seems to exist. The website now refers to another hotel, much more chic, located on another island ...

Despite the white sand and the coconut trees, Hanimaadhoo and the so-called "local" islands are far from what we imagine in Europe, when we talk about the Maldives. But I will soon write more about the peaceful Hanimaadhoo in a future post. Here, it's just for the appetizer...

The sandy street in front of the Asseyri Inn guesthouse on Hanimaadhoo Island. Maldives, February 2014.
The sandy street in front of the Asseyri Inn guesthouse on Hanimaadhoo Island (Maldives, February 2014.)
The beach at Hanimadhoo. Maldives, February 2014.
The beach at Hanimadhoo. (Maldives, February 2014.)

Until very recently, contacts between Maldivians and foreign visitors were strictly limited and regulated. But things are changing little by little. As a reminder, the Maldives is not especially the country of freedom for the inhabitants, with a whole bunch of laws dictated by the Sharia...

For decades, the Maldives has relied on luxury tourism with island hotels at crazy prices, cut off from the population. The development of guesthouses and more modest accommodations, for independent travelers with smaller budgets, is new.

This development was supported by Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012. A young president, forty-year-old, eco-friendly and progressive, who made a lot of headlines in 2009, holding a council of ministers 3 metres underwater, with scuba tanks, to alert public opinion to the rising waters and global warming that threaten the Maldivian archipelago – but he has been ousted from power and thrown into prison since then by the new Islamist dictatorial government...

The portrait of ex-president Nasheed, painted on the wall of a house. Maldives, February 2014.
The portrait of former President Nasheed, painted on the wall of a house, in Hanimaadhoo (Maldives, February 2014.)

Dive from shore and cruise

I close the political parenthesis here, to come back to my more futile concerns as a vacationer and to quickly present the rest of the trip... Because it is, among other things, the famous underwater world of the Maldivian archipelago that attracted me here!

I have already dived a little during my stay on the island of Hanimaadhoo, but the best is yet to come...

Bench of snappers. Hanimaadhoo, Maldives, February 2014.
Bench of snappers. (Hanimaadhoo, Maldives, February 2014.)
Clown fish. Hanimaadhoo, Maldives, February 2014.
Clown fish. (Hanimaadhoo, Maldives, February 2014.)

The second week of my stay will be totally dedicated to diving. On the program: a cruise aboard the magnificent Ocean Divinetowards Ari Atoll !!! It seems that in this season we meet manta rays and whale sharks... I'm waiting to see.

I'm boarding this Sunday... Can't wait to get there!

  Maldives - February 2014

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  1. too good you must be ecstatic, so it becomes "affordable" to travel to the maldives if you can stay in guest houses? can't wait to read and see the rest of the sublime photos 😉

    1. @Nessie: The Maldives is a long-haul trip, so you need a certain budget, of course. But it's now possible to stay in simpler accommodations than the overpriced island-hotels... Travel is becoming much more affordable, indeed.

      The following happens very soon ...

  2. @Corinne : Yes! The mantas and whale sharks are found on Ari Atoll: We had seen some on Male Nord as well (Sun light Tila) I hope they'll be there, but there's no reason why not! 🙄 Well, nature's in charge, eh? Happy diving!

    1. @Didier: As for sharks, turtles, stingrays and the usual tropical fauna, I was delighted. But I came back a little frustrated: I missed the whale shark (which another couple saw) and the mantas almost didn't see us (only one was seen). So I'll have to go back !!!! 😀

  3. Hi Corinne, nice comment and superb photos, thank you for making us dream through your photos, I can't wait to see your next ones, I'm a diver too, who also takes photos, but I don't have your level. I've never been to the Maldives, a dream too, but not for this year. See you soon for the rest of your adventure.
    Mireille 🙂

    1. @Cam: dreams do come true... The proof! I'm already back from the Maldives, and time has flown by. And now, I still haven't found a moment to dive back into the photos and videos I brought back... Patience, the rest is coming soon!

    1. @Nicole: I didn't manage to get a proper connection afterwards, on the spot. And now I'm back in France, but I'm running out of time to tackle other articles... But the rest is coming, I've got loads of images on my hard drive!!!!

  4. Enjoy !

    There is hardly another place in the world comparable to the Maldives in terms of topography...

    I was there last August. Back from the aquarium, some pictures :

    Stay in the far south at Gan, another inhabited island that accepts travellers. Then a magnificent cruise south of Male on a dhoni. The captain was a native of... Hanimaadhoo!

    Look forward to seeing your pictures!

    1. @Pascal: yes, I'm completely fascinated by these crumbs of coral scattered at water's edge... Unique topography, indeed.

      Funnily enough, I almost went to Gan, which was one of the other places I'd set my sights on to spend a few days "on land" on an inhabited island, and ended up in the far north instead of the far south. But I intend to go there on a future trip.

      Thanks for the link, very nice to discover your images. I can see why you succumbed to the temptation to make a section dedicated to the "blues"!


  5. Oh, you make me dream! I'm really glad to hear that independent travelers are welcome and that there are facilities for us. I wish you great diving and can't wait to see your images. If you're looking for an assistant, the hostess is up for it! Hihihi

    1. @Elizabeth: Yes, it is now possible to travel independently in the Maldives. More and more inhabited islands have opened guesthouses to foreign visitors. It's not the luxury of the resort islands, but it's more authentic!

  6. I'm curious to see how local women are treated in the Maldives. I've heard a lot of things, but it's hard to determine the reality without having been there.

    In any case the last picture is beautiful!

    Have a good stay

    1. @Chriss: I don't know how Maldivian women are "treated", as I haven't shared their daily lives. It must vary from one island to another, from one family to another, depending on the weight of tradition and religion, whether you live in Malé or in a more isolated atoll... One thing's for sure, they certainly don't have as much freedom as I do. But many of the girls go to school, speak English and are happy to exchange a few words with passing tourists... There's certainly still a lot to be done for the cause of women in the Maldives, but it looks like things have already started to evolve a little.

    1. @Curious Traveler: it's a little-known fact in our French-speaking countries. But you'll find plenty of information on English-language blogs and websites, by googling "Maldives" + "backpacker"...

  7. Veinarde !!!!

    I almost went once, but cancelled at the last minute! I've been dreaming about it ever since!

    In the meantime, I'm making up for it here on Reunion Island, where it's just as pretty and some corners are well worth the detour!

  8. No, but this is the end of everything!
    We could still tolerate a backpacker in her early thirties gentrifying herself to the point of agreeing to be upgraded at a luxury resort in the R4 or being forced to privatize a hundred-year-old teak yacht **** in Komodo by default, but from there to knowingly organizing a stay AND a cruise in the MALDIVES ➡ We're burying the "" and welcome to the "PPDA.COM".
    Soon :
    - a report on the Wakatobi retirement home,
    - a live from the bottom of the Martinez pool,
    - an article about an exceptional dive of Johnny and Lætitia in a sandy bay of St Barts,
    - a scoop of our President with Julie Chepluqui in the goldfish pond of the Elysée gardens !!

  9. Waooouuuhhhh ❗ ❗
    I don't believe it 😮
    Corinne is in the Maldives 😯
    Kind of like Putin's going to spend his holidays in LA 😆
    So, your impressions?
    I'm off on Friday for another cruise and a little trip to Sri Lanka 😉

    1. @Alimata: Yep! I was there!!! And I'm already planning to go back next year. Because since I missed a whale shark, I'm coming away frustrated... 😡

      Underwater, the shark passes are spectacular, but when it comes to coral, there's not the Indonesian profusion. On land, I'm fascinated by the way people manage to live on these tiny islands, but the constraints imposed by religion are rather radical... And then there's this other, artificial world, that of tourist resorts cut off from everyday realities, of which I only had a glimpse during a day trip...

      In short, my impressions are mixed. It's an astonishing country and an immense archipelago. Culturally, it's closer to India and Sri Lanka than to Southeast Asia, which I know better... So I'm completely discovering it. But now that I've had this first brief glimpse, I absolutely want to go diving there again, to see other islands, to spend more time in the midst of the incredible azure blue of the Indian Ocean !!!!

      (But I'll have to take some pictures at the bottom of the Martinez's pool to finance the next cruises... 😆 )

      I've been back home for 15 days and, caught up in work and various domestic contingencies, I still haven't found the time to continue the story of this little Maldivian trip... Patience, the rest is coming.

      In the meantime, happy cruising! I envy you... 🙄