A traveler and his story told
Maldives Promotion House – Jim celebrated his 80th birthday in the most unique way possible this past month. Jim is handsome, charming, and active as ever at this ripe old age. Born and raised in England, Jim is soft spoke, friendly and the way he speaks, everything from his accent to his eager way of expressing things would keep any listener intent.
The Maldivian Islands are a gorgeous group of small islands scattered across the Indian Ocean. Glowing like emerald under the sunlight, these small islands are world famous for their luxury, comfort, natural beauty, and most of all, the natives who are eager , and more than happy to welcome you into their homes – and tell you their stories.
Jim has been a frequent visitor of the Maldives for the past couple of years since he first visited here in 2004. Travelling to Maldives three times a year after that, Jim is now windowed, and mostly stays at the Atoll Explorer during his stay. Arriving to Maldives to celebrate his birthday, Jim arrived with his close friend Maggie to the Atoll Explorer.
The boat, upon first glance, looks like your regular cruise boat. As it was a particularly windy day outside, the seas were a bit rough making my trip all the more exciting. Stepping on to the Atoll Explorer, I was greeted by the captain of the ship, and staff as well. The Dive School located right at the entrance of the ship – is run by only the best dive schools in Maldives, Euro Divers.
A small tour of the three storied cruise ship, and a brief introduction later, I met Jim for the first time. The minute we started talking, conversation flowed easily, and quickly, and my time spent on the boat wasn’t nearly enough for all of Jim’s exciting stories. One particular story moved me, as it obviously did him. Jim mentioned he felt accepted as part of the family on board, as part of the crew. One incident which he shared was particularly beautiful. ‘Mr. Moosa, a very quiet, reserved man.’ Jim began. ‘ As I came in and sat on this bench right here, Moosa got up, went to the bar, and came back with an Orange Juice. He didn’t say a word, but kept the glass of juice in front of me. And that right that meant more to me that you would ever know…’ Jim’s eyes glistened as he reminisced about the day. ‘I’ve been accepted as part of the family here, and you know…you don’t get there anywhere else’.
As an added bonus on this year’s first trip to the Maldives, Jim invited his best friend Maggie along with him. Having made a lot of trips to the capital island, Jim, like any other traveler, is not too keen to spend a lot of time in Male’. The roads are too crowded and too noisy compared to any other island and so he only comes to Male’ to do a little bit of shopping. Besides the capital Island, Jim has travelled to other resorts, but ‘this boat has always been my home away from home’.
Jim is part of the family at the boat. The crew knows him and they adore Jim’s company at any time of the year. This year, celebrating his 80th birthday was done in style. Started off with a beautiful dive underwater swimming with exotic fish of various colors, finishing the day off with a fantastic dinner on the deck of the boat, where all the guests on board were invited. The continuous flow of wine, good company on a boat somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean, does sum up to a good holiday.