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Embracing Maldives rainy season

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Lying close to the equator and within the doldrums, the Maldives rarely experiences any severe weather events. However, the world famous holiday destination has two distinct monsoons (seasons) a year that shape the prevailing weather patterns. The monsoons which dictate the weather in the archipelago are characterised not by heavy rain, as is often assumed, but by their winds, which blow consistently and reverse their direction seasonally.

The South-West Monsoon, or Hulhangu as it is called in local Dhivehi language, runs from May to October, while the North-East Monsoon, or in the local language Iruvai, runs from December to March each year, with the months of November and April acting as transitional periods of change in between.

Don’t forget; almost every resort in the Maldives has a special summer offer with hefty discounts and a host of other complimentary benefits too.

Beware the rough sea!

After a hotter than average North-East Monsoon, Maldivians are relieved to have a bit of rain. But with the welcome change in temperature comes challenges; heavy showers, rough seas and strong winds. In the South-West Monsoon, the Maldives weather becomes very versatile and can change in a few minutes. Skies become dark, strong rains can follow a beautiful sunny morning and wind gusts can reach up to 50 Knts (approximately 90 km per h) for hours.

These dark, rainy and very windy periods can be very short, but they can also continue for a few days and be immediately replaced by idyllic weather conditions.

This year as well, the Maldives Meteorological Service (MET) has warned that heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas will continue in north and central Maldives for the most part of the monsoon period. Winds in north and central Maldives are expected to reach 15 to 25 miles per hour, while wind speeds in other areas are projected to be eight to 18 miles per hour.

Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM), which represents the boating industry of the Maldives, has also cautioned over the bad weather conditions prevailing across the country, urging liveaboard operators and other transport service providers to avoid sailing or travelling in the night. The association urged boat operators to keep an eye on local weather forecasts before and even during the journey, recheck all safety equipment and have communication devices on hand.

A ferry boat braves rough seas as it travels to capital Male from the satellite town of Hulhumale. PHOTO/ MIHAARU

Diving: choose the western side

You must have heard that the best time to visit the Maldives is during the North-Eat Monsoon, when the weather is dry with clear skies and calm seas. But if you are planning to visit the Maldives for a summer getaway, go ahead and book your holiday. Even during the South-West Monsoon, the Maldives rarely experiences extreme weather conditions.

Diving in the Maldives is generally good all year round, but underwater visibility, water temperatures and marine life changes depending on the season. During the rainy season (May t0 October), the western side of an atoll is better for scuba diving.  Make sure you select your resort accommodation accordingly.

If the prevailing wind is coming from south-west and your resort is on the south-western side of the atoll, you will experience the worst of it or best of it depending on what you want. Villas located over the water can actually shudder when the wind and waves are strong. So it may pay to try to get a room on the eastern side of the island, but then you give up the sunset view. Storms are not common.

For diving, this is not necessarily a bad thing. While the weather can be bad and the winds strong, the wind is also creating the current to a certain extent. While it is impossible to dive the outside channels when the wind is very strong, the days after can be exhilarating or terrifying to some.

Diving at the western side of the atoll during the South-West Monsoon, you will experience predominantly incoming currents. This means the water is rising from the deep ocean and flowing into the shallow atoll. Visibility is generally better, water slightly cooler with better chances to see pelagic. Visibility can be 50 metres on a sunny calm day with a good incoming current.

When rain clouds have cleared, you get to see one of the most stunning sunsets you will ever experience in Maldives. PHOTO/ GURAIDHOO INN

Get up close with manta rays

From June to October, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with majestic manta rays. During this time of the year, a combination of South-West Monsoon currents and lunar tides bring large quantities of planktonic shrimp (mantas’ favourite food) to various sites around resorts across the country, attracting large numbers of manta rays.

Several resorts have already announced special manta packages, including the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa atoll and Olhuveli Beach and Spa Maldives in South Male Atoll.

Manta rays with wing-like pectoral fins that stretch to a length of 13 to 15 feet (4 to 4.5 metres) move gracefully through the water while feeding with their enormous mouths. Having one of the largest comparable brain sizes of any marine animal makes them highly curious, resulting in some very close snorkelling encounters.

A manta ray glides over a reef in a Maldives resort. PHOTO/ OLHUVELI BEACH AND SPA MALDIVES

Swim with whale sharks

Over the years, the Maldives has maintained its position as one of the few destinations in the world for whale shark sightings.

Whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, are year round residents of the Maldives, tending to favour the western side of the Indian Ocean archipelago from May to December, then heading to the east until April.

There are two main whale shark sighting spots in the nation. The first is the well-known UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Hanifaru Bay in Baa atoll, while the second is the marine protected area off the coast of Maamigili island in Alif Dhaal atoll, also known as South Ari atoll. The latter in particular is considered a special zone as whale shark sightings take place all year round, unlike Hanifaru Bay where sightings occur in the southwest monsoon.

A whale shark swims across the waters of Baa atoll. PHOTO/ FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES

Sightings of whale sharks have sparked a distinct brand of tourism, luring countless tourists that make brief sojourns to the island nation solely for the pleasure of sighting these majestic creatures. Several resorts and guesthouses in South Ari Atoll and Baa atoll organise expert-led excursions that allow guests to dive and snorkel with these creatures.

Don’t forget; almost every resort in the Maldives has a special summer offer with hefty discounts and a host of other complimentary benefits too. So you have every reason to take some time off and visit the paradise islands during this season as well. And when the rain clouds have cleared, you get to see one of the most stunning sunsets you will ever experience in the Maldives if not in your lifetime!

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Excursions

Uncover the Gems and Untold Tales of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll Through Personalised and Free-Spirited Adventures with The Nautilus Maldives

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When envisioning the Maldives, one often conjures images of pristine white sands and  luxurious resorts. However, beyond the typical tourist attractions lies a realm of adventure,  cultural immersion, and natural wonders waiting to be explored. The Nautilus Maldives, an  ultra-luxury private island hideaway, is crafting extraordinary journeys in the captivating Baa  Atoll, inviting its guests to embrace escapism through immersive cultural experiences. 

Inspired by The Nautilus’s brand hallmarks of the Art of Bohemia and Free Spirited  Adventures, guests are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and indulge in  transformative experiences. Through encounters with local personalities, guests gain an  insight into island life, delving into cultural roots, traditions, nature, language, cuisine, and  more. 

The Nautilus prides itself on tailoring bespoke experiences to suit the unique preferences of  its guests—whether adventurers, culture enthusiasts, or families seeking more than a  beachside retreat. Guests embark on one of The Nautilus’s luxurious yachts, exploring  treasured spots of the Atoll and creating unforgettable memories that will linger in their  hearts long after their journey ends. 

Discover the roots at the Kendhoo 

Nestled in the northwest of the Baa Atoll, Kendhoo carries a rich tapestry of experiences  weaving together history and culture. Once a vital hub along ancient maritime routes,  Kendhoo’s vibrant cultural landscape is shaped by centuries of influences from Indian, Arab,  and Southeast Asian merchants, as well colonial conquests. Guests can wander its streets, 

indulging in local culinary treats with distinct flavours, and exploring landmarks like the 800- year old house marking the place of prayers of Abdul Barakaath Yoosuf al Barbary, a renowned Islamic scholar. 

Weave your memories of the Maldives into art at Kihaadhoo 

On the beautiful island of Kihaadhoo, guests can immerse themselves in the therapeutic art  of coconut leaf weaving, a cherished tradition passed down through generations. Through  hands-on experiences with the island’s residents, guests can learn to create baskets, hats,  and decorative pieces, fostering a sense of cultural identity and belonging.

www.thenautilusmaldives.com 

Traditional lacquer masters at Thulhaadhoo 

Venturing to the southern tip of Baa Atoll, guests discover Thulhaadhoo island, renowned for  its exquisite craftsmanship in traditional lacquerware. Here, artisans share their secrets of this  ancient art of decorating items with vibrant colours and intricate designs inspired by the  Maldives’ marine life and lush tropics, which has been passed down through generations. 

Guests can even try their hand at creating these unique art pieces, serving as precious souvenir  of their tropical getaway. 

Exploration of the Deep Blue Waters of Dhonfanu 

At Dhonfanu, one of Baa Atoll’s premier diving spots, vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine  life awaits beneath azure waters. In season, there’s also a high chance for guests to encounter  graceful manta rays and majestic whale sharks, igniting the senses with excitement and awe. 

Delve into Poetic Ambiance of Dharavandhoo 

Guests can make a stop at Dharavandhoo island, which boasts a rich tradition of Maldivian  poetry, where locals celebrate history and folklore through the art of storytelling, expressing  emotions, beliefs, and aspirations in the most poetic ways. These enchanting verses, inspired  by the islands’ natural beauty, love, nature, and daily island life, transport listeners to a world  where ocean rhythms intertwine poetic imagery.  

To craft your own cultural journey across Maldivian islands, contact The Nautilus at hello@thenautilusmaldives.com and begin creating your ultimate bohemian dream escape. For more information visit www.thenautilusmaldives.com.

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InterContinental Maldives invites guests to third Manta Retreat in March 2024

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After the successful launch of the Manta Retreat in 2022, the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is gearing up for its third Manta Retreat, scheduled to take place from March 9th to 12th, 2024. This unique experience offers guests an opportunity to delve into the world of manta rays, their natural habitat, and the conservation efforts led by the Manta Trust.

The Manta Retreat, designed for travelers seeking an extra dimension to their vacations, encourages participants to explore and understand these majestic creatures while contributing to ocean conservation. The retreat will be led by Meral Hafeez, the Manta Trust base leader at InterContinental Maldives, who will guide participants through an immersive experience.

The focus of the third Manta Retreat will be on meeting the manta rays that inhabit the surrounding waters of the island, emphasizing their protection and ocean conservation. Meral Hafeez expressed her enthusiasm for sharing the wonders of Maldivian marine life, stating, “I can’t wait for everyone to experience their first manta ray and the wonders of the deep!”

This year’s retreat coincides with the Maamunagau Manta Season in March, where young manta rays gather in the resort’s lagoon, offering a unique opportunity for up-close encounters. The Maamunagau Lagoon serves as a crucial research ground for the Manta Trust team, allowing guests to actively participate in the identification and naming of manta rays through the Manta ID workshop.

The Manta Retreat package, priced at USD 1490 per guest, includes two manta ray snorkeling trips, a guided house reef snorkeling experience, the chance to name and adopt a manta ray, and various workshops covering manta rays, plankton, and coral restoration.

For certified divers, dedicated dive spots around the resort provide opportunities to observe the natural manta ray ‘spa’ at cleaning stations, showcasing the fascinating symbiosis of marine life in the Maldives.

The purpose of the Manta Retreat goes beyond education and exploration; it also serves as a fundraiser to support the valuable work of the Manta Trust. Guests staying at InterContinental Maldives can enjoy the resort’s luxurious facilities and accommodations while those not participating in the retreat have plenty of entertainment options.

To book the Manta Retreat or for more information, visit InterContinental Maldives Sustainability or contact the reservations team at reservations.icmaldives@ihg.com or on WhatsApp at +960 730 9300.

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Football legend Lukas Podolski lights up Heritance Aarah with friendly match against Maldivian youth

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In a heartwarming display of football’s unifying spirit, German legend Lukas Podolski traded the grand stadiums for the sun-kissed shores of Heritance Aarah, Maldives, to play a friendly match with a team of eager young players from Meedhu Island. The event saw Podolski donning a custom Heritance Aarah jersey and taking to the pitch alongside the spirited Maldivian children.

More than just a friendly kickabout, the match was a platform for learning and inspiration. The young athletes showcased their skills and learned new tricks from the seasoned pro. The air crackled with a distinctive camaraderie as Podolski’s guidance and encouragement blended seamlessly with the children’s infectious joy.

As a memento of this extraordinary encounter, each participant received a personally signed jersey from Podolski, adding a priceless touch to the occasion. The football star’s presence transformed the friendly match into an unforgettable experience, etching itself indelibly into the memories of the young players and their families.

Podolski later took to his Facebook, sharing photos from the event with the caption, “Football is our global game. A pleasure to meet you all thanks @oneluxury.de & @heritanceaarah #LP10 #football #strassenkicker #enjoy #love.” The post resonated with fans worldwide, celebrating the power of sports to connect people across cultures and backgrounds.

Heritance Aarah, a Premium All-Inclusive resort, offers an idyllic setting for the ultimate getaway, presenting a diverse range of experiences. From the culinary delights crafted by award-winning chefs to the exploration of the captivating over and underwater wonders of the Raa Atoll, the resort sets a remarkable tone for luxury and adventure. With five restaurants included in the Premium All-Inclusive package, exclusive bars, and access to Hatha and Baani with supplement charges, Heritance Aarah offers a holistic experience. The spa and wellness facilities, featuring a hot tub and a fitness center, further enhance the overall well-being of guests, who can also enjoy various activities.

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