Happy little Vegemites!
  • Day11

    Maldives - Day 11

    July 31, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Well today is our last day on this beautiful tropical paradise. We will be leaving in a couple of hours to catch our boat transfer back to the airport.

    Paul had a great time on the jetski this morning after breakfast while I watched on from the shore. He had an absolute ball but lost his sunglasses in the midst of his crazy jumps & donuts.

    On his return we returned to our bungalow, had a swim & finished packing. Richard & Rachel moved into our bungalow & we went & settled the bill before having pizza on the back deck with our bottle of South African Merlot that was generously gifted by the resort to Paul for his birthday.

    After lunch we headed to T4 Tea House for a final afternoon tea with the lovely Leena. We will miss her dearly. She is an absolute darling.

    All in all it has been a wonderful holiday & we would absolutely recommend the Sheraton to anyone considering a visit to the Maldives. We would definitely love to come back & visit again some day.
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  • Day10

    Maldives - Day 10

    July 30, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We awoke to another beautiful morning & headed to breakfast before arranging a late checkout for tomorrow & finalising the boat transfer details. We have been blessed with a late checkout of 7pm (the staff here are awesome!) & we will catch our boat transfer at 9pm in order to make our 2325 flight from Male to Singapore.

    We headed down to the eastern end of the beach, on the lagoon side, & snagged a spot under a cabana. Richard & Paul went out for a snorkel whilst Rachel & I read & enjoyed cocktails. We had a light lunch at the Kakanui hut on the beach - they of course brought the food to us under our cabana. It was blissfully relaxing. We headed back to our bungalow for a spot of sunbathing (plenty of sunscreen this time); Paul is the brownest I have ever seen him - he could almost be a local! & a nap before dinner.

    This evening we dusted off the suitcases & slowly began packing.... It is our last night in our little bungalow. We will miss it dearly.
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  • Day9

    Maldives - Day 9

    July 29, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I am still nursing the sunburn today but couldn't resist a snorkel off the back deck after breakfast. It was just after low tide & the sea life was plentiful. We even saw a couple of black tip reef sharks! All that snorkelling made us tired so a nap was in order until about 12pm when we moseyed down to the Anchorage Bar for a leisurely drink before our afternoon excursion commenced at 1330....we were going on a trip to snorkel with turtles & stingrays.

    The excursion crew welcomed us aboard their traditional dhoni & ran us through the safety checks before informing us that due to murky conditions it was best for us not to visit the turtles today, they instead would be taking us to ' Fish Point' before we headed to the stingray site. Well, what a surprise awaited us at Fish Point! It was a massive natural aquarium that was located on the edge of another island just where it dropped off into an abyss that was the Indian Ocean. The conditions were perfect & the water visibility was astounding - crystal clear; we could see a good 20m in every direction. The fish were incredible & so plentiful. There were sharks, angelfish, grouper, parrotfish, so many species of butterflyfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, clownfish, anemonefish, triggerfish, pufferfish, trevally, damselfish, napoleonfish, flyingfish, pennantfish, bream, eels, bannerfish, cowfish (they had a unicorn like horn), emperor, snapper, unicornfish, firefish, batfish & sweetlip, just to name a few! It blew our minds & was the best snorkelling we have experienced on our journeys so far. After spending a good 40 minutes here we took a 10 minute boat ride to the stingray spot. Here we saw a few massive stingrays in amongst the schools of fish & Paul & Richard spotted a moray eel too. The GoPro footage is awesome!

    Dinner tonight at Sand Coast again. It was delicious!
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  • Day8

    Maldives - Day 8

    July 28, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Today was spent nursing our sunburn under the shade of a cabana on a deck chair overlooking the lagoon. No watersports today. Just snoozing & reading. We had afternoon tea served by the beautiful Leena at T4 cafe. Her iced teas & coffees go down a real treat in the balmy conditions.

    1730 was shark feeding time at Anchorage Bar. There was heaps of them (black tip reef sharks) & they are really quite cute & almost have gummy smiles. It was awesome seeing them in barely a foot of water fighting for scraps of tuna that the staff treat them with.

    Dinner was booked in the beautiful Sand Coast Restaurant & consisted of 4 courses.
    1. Pan fried scallops
    2. Parmesan prawns, halloumi & warm watermelon
    3. Lobster with mashed potato & a delicious sauce & side salad
    4. White chocolate & raspberry icecream sandwich
    The best meal we have had yet! Every component was delicious & arranged beautifully.

    We have a snorkelling tour booked for tomorrow where hopefully we will spot turtles, eagle rays & stingrays....
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  • Day7

    Maldives - Day 7

    July 27, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I tell you what, this waking up in paradise thing is not getting any easier. After breakfast this morning we joined Richard & Rachel at deckchairs on the sand overlooking the lagoon. After reading, relaxing & ordering pizza &.... more cocktails, a spot of Stand Up Paddleboarding was in order. Despite my best efforts to appear like I was coordinated, it was clear to me that this recreational sport was a heck of a lot harder to master than it looks. I am sure I gave the locals a good laugh. Once I had sort of 'got it', I was so exhausted & was happy to hand it back to the team & swap it out for my snorkel gear, a recreational activity I much more accustomed to.

    An afternoon siesta exposed more than just a sunkissed glow on the backs of my legs & Paul's back. We were looking a bit like overcooked lobsters. After lathering ourselves in moisturising lotion we covered up & headed up to the Reception area where we boarded our traditional Maldivian boat - a Dhoni, for a Sunset Dolphin Cruise. What a spectacular experience! There were so many different dolphin pods frolicking & playing in the wake created by the boats. Their acrobatic displays were incredible & drew lots of oohhhhs & ahhhhs from their adoring public. As an added bonus I spotted a number of flying fish, hovering & darting above the surface like hummingbirds. It reminded me of my recently departed Father & his love of the open sea. My Dad would have loved it here, a deep sea fisherman's paradise. A very special experience indeed.

    Back on dry land we were welcomed by staff to a sunset barbecue on the beach surrounding the lagoon. What a unique & breathtakingly beautiful plan! All of the kitchen staff & their appliances had been relocated to the shoreline for this special event. Nothing was a problem & the layout & planning was executed with precision & eloquence. The locals performing traditional music & dance was an added bonus, their rhythmic drumming was mesmerizing & accompanied the evening perfectly.

    A luxurious, deep bath in mineral salts topped the night off & took the sting out of my sunburn. Before going to bed we set the alarm for 0115 so that we would not miss the climax of the Blood Moon event occuring overnight. We were not disappointed. The view was spectacular!
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  • Day6

    Maldives - Day 6

    July 26, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Today we had organised an excursion to a local island to immerse ourselves in the true Maldivian culture & experience how the locals live. Our guides from the resort (great guys by the way) transported us by speedboat to Himmafushi Island, home to about 900 people whose major employment includes either work at the fish factory or the water desalination plant located on the island. There was a small school (Kindergarten-Grade 10), mosque, local government offices, police station, health centre & community swimming complex, in addition to the sports ground (sand soccer field), dive centre & local shops. The buildings & lifestyle of the locals is pretty primitive & it is clear that everything runs on island time - what an awesome way to live! All of the land has been gifted to the locals by the Government & they are encouraged to build dwellings & create communities. There is no rent paid to the Government on these islands & the locals are pretty much self sufficient. The Government makes it's money from tourism (resorts have to pay island lease fees & fully develop their island, in addition to paying a portion of their income revenue in high taxes) & exporting fish to the world - of which there is an abundance. The Government ensures that some of the 1200 odd islands are dedicated to food production too with root vegetables, watermelon, mangos & bananas growing for the locals & visitors. Everything else is pretty much imported to the region which makes the whole tourism industry a pretty impressive, well oiled machine.

    Today, as tourists, we were able to purchase souvenirs from 'The Lobster' store (the resorts have an arrangement with the locals whereby souvenir shops are rotated amongst the tourists to ensure everyone gets a 'fair go'), where we bartered our way to purchasing some local wares - it was an hilarious & quirky experience. We loved that items left behind by other visitors were on display for sale too - used Haviana's, an old swim shirt & an Under Armour cap! Gotta love their enterprising spirit!

    Our afternoon was spent snorkelling, lazing by the pool & sipping on cocktails before eating again (Mediterranean Night at Feast) & ambling back to our bungalows.
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  • Day5

    Maldives - Day 5

    July 25, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Waking up in paradise is a tough gig, but someone has to do it! Our body clocks are a bit out of wack so we were awake fairly early & after spending half an hour or so on our deck taking in the sun rising & watching schools of fish dart by we decided to explore our island before breakfast. We headed up to the eastern end of the island & walked across a picturesque footbridge to another small island housing the Sheraton's Shine Day Spa....as it turned out we would be back here this afternoon for our 'Deep Ocean' massages. In addition to the exotic, serene location of the spa, there was a myriad of tropical fish drifting about in the current under the footbridge, their iridescent colours shimmering in the sunlight. Can this place get any better??!!!

    Our morning was spent eating at the buffet, snorkelling, exploring & snoozing, whilst our afternoon schedule included couple massages & a gorgeous dinner at the resort's Sand Coast restaurant set against candlelight & a warm ocean breeze overlooking the lagoon.

    Our food babies were followed by food comas & thus ended another day in paradise.
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  • Day4

    Maldives - Day 4

    July 24, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    This morning we departed Singapore on a Silk Air flight for the Maldives! We were so excited! The journey took approximately 5 hours & we landed just after lunch local time (5 hours behind Brisbane time) - interestingly they have a franchise of the Coffee Club at the airport - a taste of home!
    A representative from the Sheraton welcomed us at the airport & after a 30 minute wait we were aboard the resort's speed boat for the 25 minute journey to our destination for the next 7 nights, Furanafushi Island - home to the Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa!

    We have been transported to paradise! The water colour is exactly as it appears in photos - turquoise & crystal clear! The staff at the resort met us at the dock with cheery waves & a refreshing grape juice - what a welcome! Next we were bundled on to a golf cart & driven to our rooms via the sandy, palm tree lined paths that wind through the resort. Our rooms - overwater bungalows, WOW! We pulled up to a small, wooden walking bridge that stretched out over the crystal clear water to our bungalows. It was a scene straight from a postcard! The door opened to polished wood floors, an exposed beam ceiling & an incredible outlook from our bed of the deck, daybed & ocean. Even the bathroom had a view & it's own private door leading out to the deck! If heaven is like a place on earth, then this surely must come close to being it!

    After settling in & picking our jaw up off the floor due to the spectacular view, we got our snorkelling gear & descended the ladder from our deck into the crystal clear water below where a wonderland of tropical reef fish & exotic shells awaited. What an absolute awesome experience! After an hour or so exploring this undersea paradise we emerged, washed off under our outdoor shower & made our way to dinner at Feast Restaurant; & what a feast awaited! It was Maldivian Night at the buffet so we got to experience what the locals eat, lots of curries, fish & spicy food, although there was plenty of food that was not too spicy as well. The fish was incredible & so fresh! There was so much food & the variety & quality was incredible given the logistics required to get it all to the island. Hats off to the chefs & kitchen staff!

    Our bellies were full, our bodies exhausted & our minds overwhelmed...we drifted off to sleep between sheets of crisp white linen, lulled by the ocean lapping at our doorstep, literally.
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  • Day3

    Singapore - Day 3

    July 23, 2018 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Today we visited the Singapore Flyer & Gardens by the Bay! It was very hot & humid (moreso than our last visit in early October).

    Rachel overcame her fear of heights & enclosed spaces & ventured onto the Singapore Flyer. The 30 minute journey was again incredible & the views awesome! We all loved the experience.

    We walked across the Helix bridge to Gardens by the Bay & spent the remainder of the morning & into the early afternoon exploring the exquisite, award winning orchid displays within the Flower Dome & the spectacular greenery in the Cloud Dome before heading to the Supertree Grove where Richard & Paul headed up to the Skywalk for some incedible scenic shots.

    By the time we got back to the hotel we were well & truly ready for a swim & a sleep near the pool 😁.

    We packed up before bed tonight in preparation for the next leg of our journey tomorrow! Thanks Singapore - you've been great!
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  • Day2

    Singapore - Day 2

    July 22, 2018 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    It's Paul's birthday today & he was made a fuss of all day - cake & champagne from hotel staff on arrival, cake & singing at breakfast & personalised menus & more cake (souffle actually) at dinner! Needless to say, I think he had a good one!

    After filling ourselves with the most decadent & expansive buffet breakfast I have ever indulged in at our hotel we walked it off by visiting Suntec City shopping centre, Haji Lane & Arab Street. Of course we had to take Richard & Rachel for a Selfie Coffee! Richard was in awe of the city's architecture (as we all were) & took great delight in the many optical illusions that the designers had created.

    Our journey back to the hotel took us for a quick detour to Raffles Hotel gift shop (unfortunately the Hotel was closed for major renovations) where we picked up a gift for Bettye (Paul & Richard's mum) before Richard, Rachel & Paul retired to the pool. I took a quick taxi ride to Orchard Road - Singapore's major shopping precinct with every designer brand store you can think of in one stretch of road. What a nightmare - every man & his dog apparently visits Orchard Road on a Sunday! The stores were packed & I had to dodge a plethora of 'selfie stick' carrying tourists on the street! It was all worth it though, as I sourced Paul's favourite cologne & managed a side trip to Victoria's Secret as well. Cocktails & a swim at the pool were a wonderful reward when I finally made it back to the hotel.

    Dinner had been organised at Morton's Steakhouse, located within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The food, ambiance & staff were amazing; the prices eye watering. However, staff had gone to great detail to ensure Paul was treated like a star. In addition to personalised menus he also received a birthday card & photo of us all that had been signed by all of the staff.

    We finished off the evening with a walk & visit to Marina Bay Sands Sky Tower where we took in the incredible views of Singapore by night from the architectural wonder that is the "ship" atop the Marina Bay Sands resort! Pretty spectacular & well worth the experience!
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