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Ay Kurumba!

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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.*

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Join Ifuru Island Maldives’ exhilarating ice, bubbles challenge

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Are You Ready? The Ice & Bubbles Challenge awaits your arrival at Ifuru Island.

Are you ready for the ultimate chill thrill of indulgence and adventure? Then put on your explorer hat and jet off to Ifuru Island for the Ice & Bubbles Challenge! Imagine: you’ll be basking in the breathtaking Maldives scenery while putting your might to the test with a 6-minute polar plunge, clutching a flute of bubbly like a boss. Once you conquer the challenge, you’ll savour the delicious bubbly and feel like a true champion!

Picture yourself lounging poolside, surrounded by swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters, while also pushing your endurance to the limit. And as a badge of honour, guests are gifted with a trendy Ice Bath and Bubbles Challenge t-shirt to flaunt their fearless spirit. The current record for the Ice & Bubbles Challenge is a brave 22 minutes, and we’re daring you to beat it!

Cold-water immersion can speed up your muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and give you a boost of energy. Plus, you’ll feel like a true hero after conquering the challenge and basking under the warm Maldivian sun.

So, what are you waiting for? Rally your friends and come join us on Ifuru Island Maldives for an unforgettable adventure that’s sure to create magical memories that will last a lifetime!

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Six Senses launches Mermaid Courses in Maldives

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Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura in the Maldives are making waves with the launch of an enchanting underwater experience – PADI Mermaid courses.

Now, guests aged six and above can embark on a magical journey guided by certified PADI scuba dive instructors. Aspiring mermaids and mermen will be equipped with a monofin, a type of swim fin that mimics the movements of dolphins, and colorful fabric tail, mirroring the hues of the ocean. Catering to various ages, interests, and skill levels, both resorts offer a range of courses from discovery to advanced. A professional photographer is available on request to capture personal fairytale-moments.

“We’re thrilled to introduce this fun new experience to our range of underwater offerings,” says Judith Scheibelberger, PADI trainer and resident mermaid expert at Six Senses Laamu, an IHG Hotels & Resorts property. “Our mermaid courses are not only a source of fun and excitement for kids but also invite adults to tap into their imagination and reconnect with their inner child. Beyond the entertainment aspect and capturing Instagram-worthy memories, participants will also gain valuable underwater skills and learn about the awe-inspiring secrets of the sea.”

Mermaid courses join a plethora of underwater experiences available to guests at both Maldivian Six Senses resorts, including snorkeling with turtles, vibrant coral reef explorations, and exhilarating diving adventures. The resorts boasts state-of-the-art dive centers that provide comprehensive services and expert guidance.

For young adventurers, both resorts also offer the PADI Seal Team programme, catering to junior divers aged eight and above. This program allows aspiring divers to explore the underwater world safely, through the five ‘AquaMissions,’ where participants can delve down to four meters, or the introductory PADI Bubblemaker experience, tailored for children aged eight to nine, allowing them to dive down to two meters.

“These experiences not only offer a glimpse into the mesmerising underwater world but also provide an opportunity for young divers to develop their confidence and diving skills while exploring the diversity of Maldivian reefs,” says Anne Hospital, Dive Manager of both resorts.

The brand’s Grow With Six Senses programme offers all of the dimensions of wellness, providing kids with opportunities to reconnect with nature and engage with their surroundings. Through immersive experiences in local culture, wellness, sustainability and social interactions, children spark their curiosity and gain valuable life skills. At the heart of this programme are the dedicated kid’s clubs known as ‘The Den’, which serve as hubs for exploration and discovery.

At Six Senses Laamu and Six Senses Kanuhura, one standout offering is the Mermaid course, which invites children on an underwater adventure amidst stunning turquoise panoramas. On land, the activities are equally diverse, ranging from enlightening garden tours to innovative waste-to-wealth workshops and interactive junior cooking classes. These experiences are designed to provide children with valuable life skills through hands-on play, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching journey for young guests at the resorts.

Prices for the PADI Mermaid Courses start from USD 150 for a 45-minute discovery session. For bookings and further information, please visit sixsenses.com or contact reservations-maldives@sixsenses.com.

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Encounter of majesty: Whale Shark sighting at Vilamendhoo Island Resort

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Measuring an impressive 6.5 meters, a majestic whale shark was recently spotted gliding gracefully through the enthralling house reef of Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, just beyond the main jetty. This awe-inspiring sight captivated guests, who were fortunate enough to snorkel alongside this magnificent creature. As the whale shark meandered through the crystal-clear waters, guests paused their activities, enchanted by the rare opportunity to witness such a spectacular marine spectacle.

Whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean, are renowned for their majestic presence in the azure waters of South Ari Atoll where, Vilamendhoo is located. These magnificent creatures frequent the abundant house reefs of this tropical paradise, creating a mesmerizing spectacle for visitors. Alongside them, graceful manta rays glide effortlessly through the crystal-clear waters, while vibrant coral gardens teem with life beneath the surface. Each encounter with these marine wonders offers a glimpse into the rich biodiversity surrounding the island, captivating the hearts of all who venture into its depths, adding to the allure of this tropical paradise.

“The sighting of the whale shark has evoked an overwhelming wave of positivity among our guests, who have shared their sheer delight at the rare opportunity to encounter such a magnificent creature during their stay. For many, this unexpected marvel has transformed their holiday experience at Vilamendhoo into an unforgettable journey, solidifying our resort’s standing as a premier destination for ocean enthusiasts and nature lovers,” elucidated Mohamed Zahir, General Manager of Vilamendhoo.

Located on a pristine island measuring 900 meters long by 250 meters wide, Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa follows the cherished ‘One Island, One Resort’ concept for which the Maldives is renowned. Surrounded by a spectacular house reef teeming with marine life, guests are invited to explore the underwater wonders just a short swim away from the expansive sandy beaches.

Whether it’s diving into the depths of the ocean or snorkeling amidst vibrant coral gardens, Vilamendhoo offers the quintessential island adventure. The resort’s 184 rooms, each adorned in natural island style, provide the perfect sanctuary for relaxation after days filled with oceanic exploration.

To reach this tropical haven, guests embark on a scenic seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport, enjoying a breathtaking 25-minute flight over the mesmerizing atolls of the Maldives.

In conclusion, the sighting of a whale shark at Vilamendhoo serves as a testament to the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of the Maldives’ marine environment. As travelers seek meaningful encounters with nature, Vilamendhoo stands ready to welcome them into a world where every moment is filled with wonder and awe.

Discover paradise at Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives. With its pristine beaches, azure waters, and luxurious accommodations, Vilamendhoo offers the perfect retreat for relaxation and oceanic exploration. Nestled in the South Ari Atoll, this resort follows the cherished ‘One Island, One Resort’ concept, providing guests with a true tropical escape. Experience the magic of the Maldives with a scenic 25-minute seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport, and indulge in 184 rooms adorned in natural island style.

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