Sunday 4 April 2021


April ‘21

The Maldives

Max and Milo are continuing to develop their confidence in doing activities other than sitting in their bedrooms and listening to online school, pushing their boundaries by being adventurous, diving and snorkelling in the beautiful sea in the Maldives.

We had had a holiday tentatively booked for the Maldives since November 2020 in the hope that Covid had started to ease, which it had in India. The quick break in Goa in February was a moment of madness, but this had been carefully planned

Covid Jabs

As the end of March approached, the numbers of infections in India started to spin out of control and to go back up. There was talk of another lockdown. We started to get nervous that the trip might be called off if the flights were stopped. At this time of year there are lots of weddings and festivals. People were beginning to drop their guard and not wear their masks and the local government is threatening action if people do not comply.

At the same time, the local hospital started to roll out vaccinations for the elderly and vulnerable (over 50s!) .
A week and a half before we were due to go to the Maldives, Andrew and I managed to get vaccinated. It was a smooth process, and all went well. We both have a certificate to say we have had it. We await our second jab date.

We felt fine for the first 24 hours and then both had the same symptoms of feeling tired and very lethargic. As I was home, I was able to sit on the sofa, watching BBC TV. Andrew eventually came home from work and did the same. 
My symptoms carried on another day and then went away. Andrew is made of sterner stuff and was bouncing around again by the next day.

The Nervous Wait to Go

We were glued to the local news and had our fingers crossed that we could go to the Maldives the following week.
Two days before departure, we had to have a Covid test ready for the flight and we had to fill in a form to upload for the Maldivian government and the airline.

Our friends, Michael and Ken, offered to have Andy. On the Saturday, he was happily whisked away, jumping into the back of their car without any fuss or bother. 

No local lockdown or restrictions occurred so this meant that we could go.

On Sunday 21st March, we set off early ( 7:30 am) to avoid any last-minute running to the plane, (11:30)  like we usually must do.

Getting onto the flight was quite long as at each stage all the documents were checked and rechecked. We had to prove that we had somewhere to stay, had negative Covid tests and a flight back.
We had to wear the face shields again but no PPE clothes this time.

The flight was good and took 2 hours, although we spent the last 30 minutes circling the island of Male. Unfortunately, we could not see much as there was a lot of fluffy cloud. As we came into land, I decided not to tell Milo that it looked like we might land in the sea if the pilot made one error of judgement. There is no room for making a mistake on this runway.

A quick transfer on the speed boat of 10 minutes, and we were on the island of Bandos. This was the island that we went to before. We chose it again because it is not quite as expensive as other island resorts (!) The accommodation is good, food is good and there are plenty of things to do.

Milo sitting on his own on the boat , acting cool .

(We were pleased that we did this, as everything and everyone was very efficient and polite, just like last time. The island was busier than we thought it would be and it had many Russian clients. Even the Karaoke night was in Russian!)

Our Week

But back to the arrival, by 3pm, we were swimming in the sea opposite our beach hut. 
This beach hut was more of a villa that was two storeys high. There is an open -air bathroom with a huge jacuzzi with a thatched shelter so that you can have a bath without getting wet (although, I know that you get wet when having a jacuzzi!).

This time we were all inclusive and it meant that we could order drinks and not worry about how much we were spending. The boys spend most of their time eating now and the three meals a day were needed .
We kept a tally to see how much we would have spent out of interest. The boys need to know the value of money and this was a good exercise. Their eyes widened at the cost of the drinks over the course of the week.

The Kids Club

The last time we had visited Bandos, Milo had spent time at the kids club. Walking past the club one day, Milo and Max decided to call in and say hello to the ladies there.
 It was unbelievable, as the lady opened the door, she smiled so happily and said, “Milo, Max , you have both grown so much”. 
How on earth did she remember their names ? What a memory! We had spent four days on the island two years ago and this lady had remembered our children without any hesitation.
Then, she went on the recall the names of the two other children that we knew from Bangalore that had been there by coincidence when we were there the last time. Amazing!

The Red Parakeet

Milo and I were walking to the dive centre one day, when a bright red parakeet and its mate flew very close and landed in a low tree. The tree had a little platform for the birds and one of them sat on it and put its head to one side as we talked “parrot “ fashion to the bird. It listened to us and chirped back. Parakeets are my favourite birds and I was so happy to get so close to a red one.

The Sea

The sea has many different shades of blue and the water is crystal clear. Over the week we saw so many coloured fish, dolphins, turtles, sharks, moray eels, stingrays, even a lionfish (poisonous if you stand on them)

Andrew had a strange encounter when he was snorkelling. He was in a different part of the sea  from me, swimming above the coral when he gave a shout of alarm. It made me look up and he was swimming away from something very quickly. Apparently, he had been bitten on his knee by a fish! He had swum close to it and it had suddenly shot towards him and sunk its sharp teeth in his leg. As he got out of the water, we could see the teeth marks. Now, of course, we all found this rather amusing and spent a while laughing. On investigating “dangerous fish “ of the Maldives we discovered a short list that included sharks, lionfish, moray eels, stingrays, and trigger fish.

Andrew identified the trigger fish as the one that bit him. They are not big but have sharp, pointy teeth. They guard their eggs and if you get too close will attack. Not long after Andrew’s encounter, there was a woman screaming in the same area, it had obviously done the same thing to someone else. Andrew decided that he would say that there were sharks in the sea and he got bitten. Not that it was by a pretty fish as big as his hand….. 

About ten black tipped sharks swam into the shallow part of the beach.


Max’s Diving Achievement

Before we had gone to the Maldives, Max had started his PADI diving training, and he continued at the diving school on Bandos. This was another reason to go to Bandos as the diving school has a good reputation.

Max did so well and is now a qualified diver. He had to do several open water dives in the sea and two off a boat. 
One of the dives in the sea was carried out in a heavy thunderstorm. Max said he could hear the thunder and see the lightening through the water, but he was not worried ( I was, watching from the beach café, I could not wait for him to resurface and come out of the water!)

Both Andrew and Max went diving off the boat at another island 40 minutes away. The current was quite strong in places and they both said it was like in the film Nemo, when the turtles swim on the current, the water pushes you along quickly.

The Weather 

In India, we always watch the weather in the morning and the Maldives weather is given as well. The Maldives has quite a bit of stormy weather due to its position near the equator and being a string of islands. We always say when we see the rain “ don’t go to the Maldives “ 
We looked daily at the weather and it was forecasting rain and thunderstorms every day, but we were so lucky. 
We had one late afternoon of rain and thunder ( when Max was diving). Another evening, when it rained, we were caught off guard without the hotel’s umbrellas and we had to break into a Peter Kay run to get back to the hut.
Otherwise, the forecast was not correct, and the rain did not appear. We had hot, sunny weather with the occasional relief of a bit of cloud.

We left Bandos island on the Friday, at 6pm, and went by speed boat back to Male. 

The Final Night 

We stopped in a hotel called The Paralian. It was a wonderful small hotel. We had a suite with a balcony overlooking the sea. The service was swift, efficient, the room was clean and shiny. It had a restaurant on the roof. We were impressed and would recommend it.
When we woke the next day, to spend our last morning, it was pouring with rain. It did not stop. Milo was worried that the plane could not fly but we reassured him that it was waterproof and able to manage. 
The boys went for a windy, wet walk and then it was time to go to the airport.

We were there in plenty of time, after Goa’s drama of running for the plane, we wanted to avoid any last-minute hitches.
We were in the queue to check in the luggage when a very polite member of staff asked if we had filled in the online form for entry into India?
No, we had not and neither had most of the plane queue. We had to go out of the queue and fill in the most complicated online form that has ever been invented! Luckily, the young lady was patient and helpful. We could feel the time ticking away as we had to put in every detail available. I am surprised it did not ask what school we had gone to when we were small! It seemed to take forever to fill in it. Andrew did it and I acted as his secretary, reading out all the numbers and information. 

As we were doing this, we noticed a plane load of Russian people all running to get their bags checked in and then dashing to get their flight. It makes a change from us running.

We were casual in getting our flight this time and it took 1 hour 40 minutes, so it is not too bad.

We were expecting trouble at the immigration desk as we approached the “foreigners” passport control, but it went smoothly and none of us were detained or heavily questioned which makes a change.
We have been home a week. The weather in Bangalore is really hot and quite uncomfortable, it has been 35 degrees in the day ( but 37 today !) and about 23 at night. 
We did have

the cool relief of being able to use the club swimming pool but unfortunately, as from yesterday, it is closed until 20th April as the government has said all gyms and swimming pools must close. Although, we can go to a (small) wedding of 500 people if it is outside or 50% capacity for the cinema. ( which is inside ) but we cannot swim in a pool with 10 other people? Last week, on most days, there were three of us at the pool in the morning ....
On reading the newspaper today , the government has changed its mind and let the cinemas be at full capacity until next week and the gym owners are complaining about business.

None has said anything about swimming pools yet. 

Fingers crossed they open it again soon or on the date they have said. Otherwise we are back to our trusty blow up luxury paddling pool at the hottest time of the year !

Some more photos....

These were taken on the main island and not Bandos. It rained on the last day but was still so warm.

One of the Island hopping seaplanes about to land

Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...