Maldives 20050118

Although we actually set the alarm to see the sunrise, it was an easy decision to sleep in. Today we were one of the later ones for breakfast.

New arrivals commandeered our beach shade spot (there’s not one for every villa), so we made do hanging out on our own shaded deck. While Madame Oui wrote her postcards, I went to see manager Riyaz about our tsunami donation. It was fine to leave our relief items with him, to give out to Medhufushi and any staff that would benefit. (Medhufushi is one of the four resorts owned by the same company (AAA) that runs Filitheyo.) He told me that some of the Medhufushi staff have been transferred to Filitheyo, as the tsunami has closed that resort. It’s also fine to have a photograph taken of me giving him the items, so I can promote this back in Northern Ireland. We’ll do this tomorrow morning.

Nimal, the proprietor of a Sri Lankan gem shop, introduced himself to me, in a casual conversational way, which unsurprisingly proceeded to a welcome into his shop and a further conversation and introduction to his wares. Beautiful gem stones are sold, and at very good prices. All the same, I’m afraid to show them to Madame Oui, as I haven’t budgeted for this!

Went to the Sunset Bar for lunch. Shared a “Filitheyo burger” and nachos. Relished sitting in the pool bar, sipping a fresh lime soda and mango juice. Can’t wait to see those photos.

I went off by myself to do some edge reef snorkelling. Amazing. Better than yesterday. Started at point 6, the shortest distance to the edge reef. When I hit the edge, the current was flowing back toward the bar (where I wanted to go), so I only had to keep my head down and arms forward, and I was whisked along, straight into loads of colourful fish that were swimming against the current snapping up plankton. The swim between points 5 and 4 was a little trickier: the current was at a different angle and bit stronger. I had no difficulty finishing the roll of film in my underwater camera. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any exposures left to take a photo of a pirate fish chomping away at a big piece of coral. The eating was so loud, it echoed in your ear.

Came onshore and talked Madame Oui into coming back in with me. Word was that there was a sea turtle near point 7, so we headed towards it. But on the way, the same informers told us that they couldn’t manage swimming against the tide at the edge, so they were giving up on the sea turtle. I told them that the swim from point 6 to 5 was a fun one, so all four of us went that way. And sure enough, Madame Oui thoroughly enjoyed the snorkelling. Hundreds and hundreds of fish. My favourite is a large (say, 10-pounder) dark blue fish with fluorescent purple spotted markings along its top side. As it swims, the light reflects and shows the fluorescent markings. Pretty cool.

After dinner, we joined up with fellow English travellers, Darren and Jo. We got talking about the hermit crabs (as there was a crab race coming up at the bar), and I showed them a video I shot of a hermit crab walking away.  Darren and I bought separate hermit crabs for the race. Mine was a dud (because someone was making a shadow standing over it, and the crabs freeze on sudden change of darkness). But Darren’s won his heat and ultimately third place. The prize was two Grolsch beers, which we discovered were on special offer today because they expire later this week. Darren was kind enough to offer them to us to drink, and we had a pleasant conversation afterwards.

We talked about the effects of the tsunami. Learnt about what happened at Kuredu, or at least a rumour. The resort itself was only mildly affected, but when the staff learned about the wider effects, they left the resort. Then the food was shipped off the resort, thus leaving the guests without any staff or food! By the 28th December, the tour operators serving Kuredu demanded all guests to leave the island, and were thus shipped off. Not that they were going to last long without staff or food.

We were one of the last to leave the bar, at only 11 pm. The guests don’t stay up late at Filitheyo.

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