Ten things I love about the Maldives: Katie Hollamby
By Katie Hollamby
Katie, originally from the England, moved to the Maldives in November 2011 to join the Hilton Group as Cluster PR and Marketing Manager for the Waldorf Astoria Maldives and the Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi Resort & Spa. She left the shimmering blue waters of the Red Sea in Egypt, after many years of heading up the PR for a resort of six hotels, overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba to try broaden her horizons and to venture to another place of peace on the planet, a far cry from the time she had spent in Cairo with the all the hustle and bustle.
This really has to start with the journey to one of the most remote islands in the Northern Atolls, the seaplane! Not having been to the Maldives before taking the plunge to work here, I did my research and viewed the many islands on Google Earth, but still didn’t really know what to expect. Probably the first seaplane journey one takes is the most special, flying over the miles and miles of deep blue sea and the palm filled islands, with white sandy beaches fringed with turquoise lagoons, something that words really cannot describe, picture postcard perfect. One day, on one of my many days of commuting from one island to another, I was lucky enough to fly low over the islands, soaring over a group of Manta Rays swimming in formation. A picture that is now firmly implanted into my memory.
The first moment stepping onto a magical island – the continuation of my arrival day. The warmth and humidity, tropical sounds, waves lapping at the shores, the fruit bats swooping low, geckos chattering away to each other, taking my shoes off and walking with sand between my toes. True paradise. Although an awful lot of time is spent in the office, there is never a moment that I take what I have for granted.
The sky and its ever changing colours! The sunsets always amaze me, the mind-blowing hues as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, the sunrises (not that I see too many of those) and the occasional moody weather that creates a stark difference between the white sand, turquoise lagoons and black skies.
It has to be the underwater world. The Maldives was recently voted as one of the best diving spots in the world, and I am inclined to agree. Warm waters, generally good visibility, so much sea life and the big stuff! How many people are lucky enough to say that they can see sharks, octopus, rays and turtles on their day off each week?!
The people. “Maruhabaa” is the local word for welcome. The Maldivian people welcome you with big, broad, white toothed smiles, with a hint of shyness which is soon overcome by their natural warmth, enthusiasm and curiosity. A hard working bunch, they seem to love nothing more than a great game of football after work.
The weather. Now being from England, that really is a no brainer.
The peace. There is something about not having the trappings of my “normal” life. No shopping excursions are needed! What more do you need than long floaty dresses, a pair of flip flops and a wetsuit? A refreshing change from suits, heels and a car!
The views. So we have covered the weather, the sea and the island. Put them all together and really you can create some of the most magical photographs in the world. Being a keen photographer, again, that “paradise” word slips into place!
The food. Living on one of the larger islands in the Maldives has its benefits, the choice of outlets here: Maldivian – gastronomic, chilled and relaxed, Thai and various other influences from all over the world. The Maldivian food is pretty spicy and full of big fat succulent home grown chillis, the temperature takes a little getting used to, but makes for delicious curries!
The romance. I believe that this really is a very romantic place to share memories with someone special. Who could not fall in love with all the peace and beauty around them. I challenge you all!