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9th – 24th November 2013
This will be a very short blog as the time in the Maldives was a holiday so involved eating and drinking too much and spending lots of time snorkelling, in the hope of mitigating the damage. It was really good to have Pauline and Colin for company especially as they both enjoy
spending lots of time in the water so I had buddies even when Jim was feeling lazy.
Meedhupparu is a larger island than we had visited previously and although the house reef has suffered lots of damage the fish life is superb, so I thought for this blog I would limit the text and include underwater pictures
The hotel was comfortable and our beach villas in a perfect position close to the sea but it did take a day to sort out a move for us as we started of in a villa on the other side of the island from Pauline and Colin.
The food was far too good. The chef chatted to us regularly and towards the end our the second week I jokingly complained that we had not had a repeat of the best Chocolate Biscuit cake ever. Usually the menu was repeated weekly. The next day our waiter said chef had a surprise for me so I thought he had put the cake on the menu, but no, he had made a special one for us. We did our best at dinner to make a dent in it but there was a lot left so it was wrapped for us and taken to our room
We all took an afternoon snorkelling trip to three other reefs and they were excellent, beautiful corals and lots of fish, and at the Garden Coral we saw lots of turtles.
However, on previous islands it seemed that staff worked hard to recycle and reduce waste. On Meedhupparu we were shocked by the amount of rubbish in the water and the way the seaplanes were allowed to land and take off so close to the reef and to be parked adjacent to the beach at night. Especially as they often left a horrible, sludgy scum on the water. It seems that the priority is transferring people to and from the island regardless of the effect on the reef.
It is hard to make a judgement without more facts but there seemed to be a general deterioration in attitude about preservation of the environment as the rubbish island, which was previously being used as a collection and recycling centre now seems to just burn everything
including tyres. Certainly, even flying over the sea in the plane we saw much more rubbish on the surface than previously
Talking about the seaplane, I love the way the pilots fly with bare feet. I have to mentally discipline myself before take-off by telling myself that having bare feet does not reflect a lack of skill or professionalism just a laid back attitude appropriate to the climate!
We flew back to India and stayed two more nights at the Quality Airport Hotel before traveling on to Sri Lanka. I don't think I mentioned the Indian head wobble or bobble, particularly prevalent in Southern India. I had seen it in films and sit-coms and thought it was an exaggeration of a mannerism (perhaps with a racist overtone?), but not so. It is much more important and an essential element of communication. People wobble their head as an acknowledgement of your presence, to agree with you, show sympathy etc. In fact, rather than eyes meeting across a crowded room, a head wobble can say much more at a greater distance!
We are now back in Sri Lanka but more about that in the next blog. Hope you like the insight into the undersea world and thank you Pauline and Colin, for allowing me to use the pictures and for being such good company.