It was February 2016 and my parents embarked on a new journey, to the tropical islands of the Maldives, to celebrate their 13 year wedding anniversary. I was 20 months old at that time. It was where I discovered a truly warm ocean! And I loved it! I mean; I had been to the sea before at European coasts, but it was always so cold -even during Summer time-, that I was only able to get my toes wet.
Going to the Maldives involved one of the longest flights I've been on. It took roughly 17 hours with a 4.5 hour stopover in Moscow, Russia. The stopover in Moscow was a bit rough at first. Despite 'just being a stopover', we all had to go through extensive security procedures, even though just a few hours ago we went through similar procedures in Amsterdam. The international airport in Moscow can be a bit overbearing and unpleasant even, but guess what: they had -by far- the best baby/kids room of all the airports we've been to so far and that includes airports in Canada and Europe! The family room in Moscow was clean, had loads of toys and even a room full of bunk beds where the tired little ones can take a nap. Completely awesome!
The flight from Moscow to Malé took roughly 9 hours. Thankfully I was able to sleep quite a bit, which made my mommy and daddy very proud, especially considering the previous flight I was on -from Houston to Amsterdam back in the Summer of 2015- was such a nightmare.
Our resort was located in the South Malé Atoll. Upon arrival at Malé International airport, we had to take another 30-minute boat trip ride to finally reach our resort. How did I do on the boat? Although the boat ride was very intense, I slept the whole time.
We stayed at the beautiful -not too costly- Fihalhohi Island Resort on an all-inclusive arrangement, a resort with some of the most beautiful reef houses of the Maldives.
The house reef -how's that for confusion?- is abundant with life and stepping into the ocean means that you are literally walking past sharks, moray eels, countless tropical fish and so much more.
My parents' favorite facilities of Fihalhohi: dive centre, water sports rental service, souvenir shop and the bar at the beach!
I fell in love with the warm ocean in which I could play the entire day. I was astonished by the smoothness of the waves. It was so warm and it relaxed me!
As long as I am enjoying, my parents can just go on with their fun time activities.
My parents' 13 years of marriage.
Sunset in Maldives.
What is special on this island resort is that every evening, many stingrays come to visit. The staff of the resort feed them at exactly 9PM. It was amazing, especially since some sharks come along.
Mom and dad brought toys for me and bought me this overal swimsuit with SPF50 protection coating so I would not get sunburn, which I didn't, not even slightly.
There's the shark!
My mommy and daddy went diving, although mommy first and then daddy, so one of them could always stay and watch over me. They said it was very nice and mommy saw a beautiful turtle. Fihalhohi has its own dive center and the staff is very friendly and international.
My parents are always curious about how people live in the countries they visit. They wondered how the many small -sometimes tiny- isands of the Maldives get their fresh water supply and their food, and how the people make a living (besides tourism). Out of curiosity, we visited the island Guraidhoo, close to Fihalhohi.
Believe it or not, these houses are made of corals.
Every house in Maldives has a water tank. They mostly depend on rain which they use as fresh water.
Though inhabitants of many of the Maldives islands have to hop from one island to another to make a living, Guraidhoo is surprisingly self-sufficient. They have a hospital, power house, school, mosque, hotel, shops, police station and much more.
Reminder for the tourists.
Meeting the locals.
Afterwards we went to snorkel to see more turtles, dolphins and manta rays. And guess what? This time I could come along in my own baby float! I love the water and just enjoy floating around and letting the waves and the currents rock me gently. I'm hardly ever as peaceful as I am on the ocean.
Although we didn't see any dolphins or manta rays, seeing the sea turtles so up and close made the trip very worthwhile. Still; better luck next time.
Time to head back now... it's almost dinner time!
At the resort I made a friend: Atlas from Turkey, a boy about one year older than me. We played soccer together and on my iPad. My parents and I look back on a very nice week and who knows: maybe we'll return some time. Many more islands left to see.
During dinner, around 19:00, I surprised everyone by just falling asleep! I never do that at home...
Before heading home, we stayed one night in the capital city of the Maldives, Malé, especially noteworthy since just about everyone seems to travel on motorcycles and mopeds.
This is how the people in Maldives transport a child on a moped.
One of the most popular activities offered at the resort is 'big game fishing.' Since mom and daddy didn't do this, it was a nice alterantive to visit the fish market in Malé to get that trophy-shot. And boy did they love to see me in a child carrier they've never seen before..!