Maldives seen from the sky. February 2014.

Maldives, at the water's edge

  Maldives - February 2014

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

I've been dreaming about it for years. I'm in! The Maldives... A gigantic archipelago at the water's edge, spectacular from the moment 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 Maldives, finding it difficult to continue to brag about the beauties of this archipelago of the Indian Ocean (and thus to encourage people to visit the Maldives) while the regime had hardened its application of sharia, 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 Nasheed, former president of the Maldives (2008-2012), several times imprisoned by the regime and main figure of the opposition, won the first legislative elections since Yameen left. The Maldives return to the path of democracythat's great news !

Without 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 window seat in the plane, so as not to miss anything of the show.

Like in French PolynesiaI'm going to get more blue in my eyes... 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 most striking when you fly over them is the fragility of these islets at the surface of the water. Their sand and coral barriers seem derisory when compared to the enormous, fiercely blue ocean.

Hanimaadhoo

At the time I post these lines, my stay is already well under way ... 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 hotel island exclusively reserved 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 coconut palms, 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 gradually changing. As a reminder, the Maldives is not especially the country of freedom for its inhabitants, with a whole bunch of laws dictated by the sharia...

For decades, the Maldives has staked everything on luxury tourism with delusional island-hotels, cut off from the population. The development of more modest guesthouses and accommodation for independent travelers on a lower budget is brand 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 ex-president Nasheed, painted on the wall of a house, in Hanimaadhoo. (Maldives, February 2014.)

Dive from shore and cruise

I'm closing the political parenthesis here, to return to my more futile concerns as a holidaymaker and quickly present the rest of the trip... Because it was, among other things, the reputed underwater world of the Maldivian archipelago that attracted me here!

I already dived a bit during my stay on Hanimaadhoo Island, 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 is said that in this season we meet manta rays and whale sharks... I'm waiting to see.

I'm sailing this Sunday... Can't wait!

  Maldives - February 2014

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  1. all too well you must be over the moon, so it becomes "affordable" to go 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 journey, you need a budget, of course. But we can now stay in simpler accommodation than the hotel-islands at great prices ... The trip becomes much more affordable, indeed.

      The following happens very soon ...
      😉

  2. The Maldives at the water's edge and the big and the small Brittany under the water !!
    Great pleasure to read you, as always.

  3. @Corinne: That's right! It's well on the side of Ari Atoll that are the mantas and whale sharks: We had seen some on the side of Male North also (Sun light Tila) I hope they will be there, but there is no reason! 🙄 Finally, it's nature that rules, eh? Good dives!

    1. @Didier: That's for sure, nature decides... As for sharks, turtles, stingrays and the usual tropical fauna, I'm overjoyed. But I come back a bit frustrated anyway: I missed the whale shark (which another couple saw) and the mantas almost sulked us (only one crossing). As a result, I'm going to have to go back there !!!! 😀

  4. Hello Corinne, nice comment and great pictures, thank you to make us dream through your photos, I can not wait to see your next, I too am a diver who does the photo too, but I do not have your level I have 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 come true ... The proof! I have already returned from the Maldives, the weather has been running fast. And there, I still have not found a moment to plunge into the photos and videos brought back ... Patience, the result is coming soon!
      🙄

    1. @Nicole: I did not manage to have a correct connection then, on the spot. And then I came back to France, but it's the time that I miss to connect to other articles ... But the rest happens, I have lots of images in my hard drive!
      8)

  5. Enjoy !

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

    I was there last August. Return of the aquarium, some pictures:

    http://www.pascalkober.com/index.php/retour-de-laquarium-les-maldives-autrement.html

    Stay in the extreme south in Gan, another inhabited island accepting travelers. Then cruise, beautiful, south of Male, in dhoni. Whose captain was a native of ... Hanimaadhoo!

    Look forward to seeing your pictures!

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

      Fun, I almost went to Gan, it was one of the other corners on which I had set my sights to spend a few days "on earth" in an inhabited island, and finally, I went to extreme north instead of the extreme south. But I intend to go there on a future trip.

      Thank you for the link, very nice to discover your pictures. I understand that you have succumbed to the temptation to make a section dedicated to "blues"!

      😉

  6. Oh, how you make me dream! I am really happy to hear that independent travelers are welcome and that there is infrastructure for us. I wish you a beautiful dives and I can not wait to see your pictures. If you are looking for an assistant, the hostess is up! hihihi

    1. @Elizabeth: Yes, there is now the possibility to travel independently in the Maldives. More and more inhabited islands have opened guesthouses to foreign visitors. It's not the luxury of the island-resorts, but it's more authentic!
      8)

  7. I am curious to see how local women are treated in the Maldives. I've heard a lot but have difficulty decrying reality without going there.

    In any case the last picture is beautiful!

    Have a good stay

    1. @Chriss: I do not know how Maldivian women are "treated", I did not share their daily life. This must vary from one island to another, from one family to another, depending on the weight of tradition and religion, depending on whether one lives in Male or in a more isolated atoll ... One thing is certain they surely do not have as much freedom as me. But many girls go to school, speak English, and come willingly to share a few words with visiting tourists ... There is surely more to be done for women in the Maldives, but it looks like things have started. to evolve a little, already.

    1. @Curious Traveler: it's something we do not know much about in our francophone countries. But you will find lots of information on blogs and sites in English, googling "Maldives" + "backpacker" ...

  8. Veinarde !!!!

    I almost went there once, but at the last moment, canceled! Since then, I dream of it !!

    Well in the meantime, I catch up here in Reunion, it's just as pretty and some corners are really worth it!

  9. No, but here is the end of everything !!
    Still, could we tolerate that a backpacker just thirty years old gets bored to the point of accepting to be upgraded to a luxury resort at R4 where to be forced to privatize by default a yacht **** in teak centenary to Komodo, but from there to knowingly organize a stay AND a cruise to MALDIVES ISLANDS ➡ We bury the "pbda.fr" and welcome on 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 !!

  10. 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 leaving there on Friday for a new cruise and a little trip to Sri Lanka 😉

    1. @Alimata: Yep! I was there!!! And I'm already planning on going back next year. Because I missed a whale shark, and now I'm coming back frustrated... 😡

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

      In short, my impressions are mixed. It is an amazing country and an immense archipelago. Culturally closer to India and Sri Lanka than to Southeast Asia that I know better ... I discover completely. But now that I had this first brief overview, I absolutely want to go back to diving, I want to see other islands, spend more time in the middle 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 returned for 15 days and, caught up in the job and various domestic contingencies, I still have not found time to continue the story of this little Maldivian trip unpublished ... Patience, the result happens.

      In the meantime, have a nice cruise! I envy you... 🙄

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