Having turned off the AC in the middle of the night cause it was too cold (travelling has changed us!!), we both woke up feeling better and a bit too giddy about the day ahead. Had a shower and got dressed before having breakfast delivered to our room. A feast of omelette, sausage , toast and jam washed down with an ice cold bottle of water. Didn’t have to check out for over three hours so decided to go for a walk around Male and get our ferry tickets later for Dhiffushi. Wandered through the streets, marvelling at how there are no TukTuks and no beeping! It was wonderful. Popped into a shop that looked like it was selling dive equipment for a nose around only to buy myself a pair of flip flops (oops!). Kept walking until we hit the beach front and followed it down towards the ferry marina. Walked past a local swimming pool, filled with water from the ocean by building up rocks around the outer perimeter. Opposite it, was an outside gymnasium- clearly so you could exercise and then run across the road to wash off the sweat! It was really nice to see locals using the pool, even if you do have to be fully dressed to use it. Continued our stroll, trying desperately to find the cooler shady spots on the street. Came across a driving school where people were being taught to drive a whole range of vehicles, from scooters to pick up trucks! They even had a hill section which is probably the only time any of these learners are going to come across an incline of any size in their driving careers!! Arrived at the ferry port and weren’t allowed to buy our tickets until 10am so we waited for 5 minutes and then got them!! Was nice to watch the mix of people arriving and leaving the ferry port – mainly locals with a massive range of produce followed by backpackers (like us, clearly unable to afford the fancy resorts with the free speed boat transfers!!). With our tickets for the 14.30 ferry, we headed back to our hotel via a supermarket. Saw a class of young children (probably reception age) clearly on a class trip to buy fruit from the shop – each one of them had a 10 rufiyaa note in their hand. Most of them gave us a smile and a wave. One girl kept scowling at me and, much to her teachers amusement, I scowled back as her friends kept telling her to smile and say hello. Got some supplies for the next couple of days, including an assortment of new drinks to try – including an alcohol free fruit beer. They also have Milo here(!) but I resisted the urge to buy every single one!! Headed back to the hotel to cool down and check emails before we needed to check out. Made our way to there ferry port with all our bags and once there, Jayne headed off again to buy herself a (very) early birthday present! Boarded the boat at 14.15 for a super prompt departure at 14.30 (nothing like efficiency to get us both excited!!). The ferry had a 50:50 mix of tourists and locals, with a massive amount of shopping stacked into the back corner – fruit, coffee, eggs, cigarettes, soap etc. The ferry also had a little shop onboard which was really sweet – a range of things in plastic jars or nailed to the ferry as a display. The 3.5 hour ferry ride to Dhiffushi was lovely. Sailed past several resort islands that, quite honestly, looked like they would be completely torturous to stay on… Not jealous, not jealous at all!!! Three short stop offs at other islands before arriving in Dhiffushi. Was met by a hotel representative and we walked the 268m from port to the hotel whilst other tourists were collected in golf buggies! We were given a fresh coconut as we checked in and shown our room… Wow! For £45 a night I’m not sure why we haven’t been to the Maldives sooner!!! Took our coconuts for a walk to the beach and followed the coast all the way around the island, watching the sunset and chatting to a pair of Danish tourists. Only took about 30 minutes to walk the entire perimeter of the island (it’s about 500m long by 50m wide) with plenty of photo stops along the way. Had dinner at the hotel to make things easier for us tonight – will head into the village during daylight to scope out the eateries there. Had traditional Maldivian fish curry and chicken curry for dinner – the base of which is almost like a French onion soup with coconut and curry! As we finished eating, a man plonked himself down at the table and introduced himself as the hotels cousin. He showed us some photos he took of today’s sunset and started chatting about the plans he and the hotel owner had for creating an aquarium. Well… Jayne was in her element and before you know it, he is offering to take us night snorkelling to look for baby sharks. Being a total scaredy cat when it comes to night diving, I decided to give night snorkelling a miss and left them to it. I’m writing today’s blog on the beach, looking up every couple of minutes to follow their torch lights underwater.
Wednesday 24th February 2016