By Krista Gray-Donald. Krista is Canadian living with her husband and two small children in India for a year. She is a photographer, wine lover, victim advocate, tomboy, and sports fan, and writes about life, as she sees it at www.lilbunnyrabbitz.com.
After several long and tiring trips, both within India, and around the globe, we had one important criteria for our summer vacation planning: direct flight. While there are several nice places that fit the bill, the one that interested us the most was the flight to Malé, Maldives. Private resort islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Of course we were interested. After soliciting a number of friends, we booked in at Kurumba, a resort that offered some other features that we were interested in; close to the airport, children’s activity centre, and scuba diving.
We arrived at noon on Sunday, and immediately noticed that it was hot and humid. Given that the Maldives are essentially on the equator, we expected this, but it was still noteworthy. Once we connected with the resort employee who was sent to fetch us, we were whisked on to a luxurious and air conditioned boat and sped to the island that housed Kurumba. As with most resorts and hotels in the Maldives, the island consisted only of our resort, a neat feature. We were quickly and efficiently checked in, and shown to our room, which was right on the beach and looked out onto the ocean.
It didn’t take us long to get settled. While I quickly tried to find the sand toys and bathing suits, the lils and Willy ran the fifteen feet to the water’s edge and started playing in the sand. They inched closer and closer to the water until both lils were happily swimming, in their clothes. We eventually got them into bathing suits and later dragged then away from the water to find food. We walked the perimeter of the island to find the restaurant, and watched the lils inch closer and closer to the water until they were wet again. It was a scene that was happily repeated throughout the week.
That evening we headed to the beach bar on the eastern side of the island. We had heard from friends that the patio was a great place to look for aquatic life, and had heard from the resort that they would be hosting happy hour for the guests! On our walk around the island, the waters were calm and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the area within the breakwall and natural reef was teeming with fish and other creatures. Our favourites were the numerous hermit crabs that skillfully* dodged little and big feet on the beach. We sat outside on the deck at the bar, and marvelled at the fish, rays, crabs, squid, seahorse, and baby SHARKS that kept passing by.
Our days followed a lazy pattern of early morning “shark walks”, lavish meals at the buffet, snorkelling in the patch of ocean that was right in front of our door (the snorkelling was really amazing, the reef is really well developed), more eating, some margaritas or other appropriate drinks, a visit to the “kid’s club”, more eating and switching to wine, and finished off with pouring the lils into bed (and occasionally falling asleep with them). I was also lucky enough to get in five dives, which absolutely thrilled me.
While this may sound like it could have been any other all-inclusive vacation that we have been on, it was so much better. The staff was bend-over-backwards friendly to us and the lils. Everyone that we met, including the great staff working at the dive centre, went out of their way to ensure that we were all enjoying ourselves. The food was great for the carnivores and seafood lovers in the family, and the chefs in particular were responsive to Woo’s allergy needs. The rooms were clean and spacious, had nice linens, and were really well maintained for a resort that is around thirty years old! We all loved the bathroom, with a great big soaker tub and a fabulous outdoor rain shower. A nice side effect is that has convinced the lils that showers are not so bad after all.
One of the best memories that we will all take from the trip was the sunset cruise on Wednesday night. Billed as a dolphin and sunset cruise, I had no way of knowing just how many spinner dolphins we would see, and how they would perform for us! There were literally hundreds of dolphins, swimming in the bow wake, dipping and diving all around us, jumping and doing their patented spin in the air as far as we could see. We were all amazed, and I keep smiling thinking of it. I just wish I had tried harder to get some better shots of them. I was too busy looking on in awe! Now I have to convince Willy that we can go back there before we leave India. I am pretty sure that he wants to go, we just need to know if we will be able to squeeze it in.
*well, all but one skillfully dodged my big feet. RIP lil fella.*