Maldives Wrap Up
The Maldives were the last addition to our trip (along with the corresponding transit stop in the UAE). I was pushing for some stops in Africa and Europe; Alyce reigned me back in and said enough…probably for the best.
Still, I had one last bullet left to fire…The tropical paradise known as the Maldives.
Alyce was resistant at first, like most things with the trip. But, she opened up to this addition relatively easily. Our final itinerary was set.
The Maldives are a chain of island atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean. There are 1192 islands in the chain, 192 of which are inhabited. The entire country’s population is just over 300,000 people and about a third of the population resides in the capital island of Male.
For just about the previous 40 days of the trip, we had been in native English speaking countries (Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand). We would be leaving that comfort zone.
But, we honestly were looking forward to it. We were excited to get to an exotic and new destination. Plus, Bali is heavily tourist driven, so they are pretty accommodating to English speakers (similar to the areas we went to in Thailand).
Bali is an island in the archipelago of Indonesia. I was pretty surprised to learn when planning that Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world by population at 237 million people. Only China, India, and the US are larger.
The vast majority of the Indonesian population is muslim, and several of the provinces are governed under Sharia Law (Islamic Law). Bali is its own province (governing region) within Indonesia and is unique in that the population of Bali is almost exclusively Hindu.
We really enjoyed Anguilla. It is a flat (Coral) Island and is known for its great beaches and fine dining options. Anguilla is relatively “new” in terms of Caribbean tourism, so it is not overly developed – which is nice.
We went in May, which is actually the beginning of low season in Anguilla (and the Caribbean in general). I like going at that time of the year because it is before hurricane season (and heart of summer) – so you don’t have to worry about that. But it is low season, so you avoid the high season rates.
Today, we did the 2 tank morning dive. We were really looking forward to these two dives. The afternoon dive yesterday was OK, although it wasn’t much different than snorkeling the house reef (but it was A LOT more expensive). The Maldives has some of the best SCUBA in the world, and we couldn’t wait to see some different things. There were 6 divers on the boat, plus 2 guides (a French couple, Swiss couple, and us).
Sidebar: One of the staff at the resort told us that they very rarely get visitors from the US. It would be an extremely long trip to solely visit the Maldives from the US (about 2 days travel each way). Surprisingly, everything is priced in US currency.
Anyway…… It was about a 45 minute boat ride to the dive site. During that time, they serve you water and make sure that all the equipment is ready to go. I don’t know what I would do if I ever had to put my BCD and regulator on my tank by myself. It’s pretty standard operating procedure that the dive shops do that for you. Although, this place went a step further and helped me into and out of my wetsuit!
I can’t believe that our time in the Maldives is over half way done! We have been having a great time! I think that this was the perfect ending to the big trip before we start heading home (6 more nights!).
We have been doing alot of snorkeling and hanging out by the beach. The snorkeling is incredible. We have seen tons of tropical fish, coral, and reef sharks. Unfortunately, I got sunburned the first day. The sun is incredibly hot. The Maldives is pretty much on the equator. Even though I put on ALOT of sunscreen and had on my swim shirt, the back of my legs and butt burnt! Now, I have to wear my wetsuit to snorkel, and I hate hate hate putting on my wetsuit. Ugggggghhhh!
Today was our first full day in Bali, and Justin arranged for us to go scuba diving in Padang Bai (a coastal city of Bali). It takes about an hour to get there from Ubud, so we had to leave around 7 am. They arranged for the restaurant to open early for us so that we could have breakfast before we had to leave. We even ordered the night before, and they had it ready to go when we got there at 6:30 am.
The group we dove with is called Geko Dive. The dive shop is located right on the beach. It was only the two of us diving with the guide, so we got plenty of attention (4 staff on the boat plus us). We did a 2 tank dive.
We’re tight on time right now, but I had typed up reviews of our trips in the past. So this can serve as some interim entertainment
British Virgin Islands – June 2009 (Honeymoon)
We went to the British Virgin Islands for 15 nights on our honeymoon. We stayed on two different islands (for a week each), in addition to a night spent on St. Thomas the day we arrived.
On the whole, we loved the BVI’s. We always felt safe on the islands. They were not overly touristy. Plus there were plenty of things to do when you actually are looking for something to do.
Well, we made it to Australia! Australia and New Zealand are how this whole trip got started, and I can’t wait to see what they have to offer!
We took the Qantas airbus A380 from Singapore to Sydney (a super big double decker plane). This was our second first class flight (the other one was the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong). Of course, we wanted to get the full experience! Go big or go home. Well, we should have gone home. The flight was only about 7 hours. When they woke us up for landing, we were both sick as dogs! It’s hard to resist free flowing booze. We’re only human…..although neither of us felt human by the end! It must have been poisoned wine.