19 February 2021 | Uligan
Three islands down, one thousand, one hundred and eighty seven to go. Of these, just a hundred and eighty five are inhabited, and that seems to mean inhabited by local Maldivians. There’s apparently one hundred and fifty four resorts on other islands, the original thinking being to keep the locals away from the influence of “western” visitors..... or, perhaps as they had islands to spare, they flog them to the likes of Fairmont, Radisson, and, ironically as they’re all built on sand, Hard Rock Hotels. In these you can easily blow from £250 to over £1,000 a night. If that doesn’t suit your budget or blood pressure, there’s an abundance of quite lovely looking independent guest houses where you can get B&B from just twenty quid.
Right now, the operating theory for yotties says that with prior approval, we can stop at islands where there’s an airport and/or guest house. We haven’t tested this yet and, given the visitors to these islands will have got there after milling around the Duty Free and Starbucks in the likes of Schipol, Heathrow or Milan airports and then been sat wearing their ineffective little masks in an aluminium tube with two hundred or so people of mixed origin for seven or eight hours, we’re not entirely sure we want to mix with that lot.
Some say not to worry as the visitors are all Covid tested at least 72 hours before they left home, because, as we all know, in that 72 hours, you have complete immunity. Yeah, right. Another example of clear and logical thinking from our governments.
The end result is that we might just waft around, visiting only the uninhabited islands fiercely fighting the urge to anchor off a resort island and partake of its spas and bars and, weirdly given they’re built over the sand and coral lagoons of the crystal clear, Indian Ocean, a thousand miles from most places, their infinity pools. Explain that!
One feature of the resorts is that they operate in their own time capsule. We’ve read in our cruising bible, the Lonely Planet, that the resorts shift their clocks one hour forward so their guests don’t wake up too early to annoy the staff and so they can linger longer over their expensive evening, sundowner cocktails.
Me, I’m thinking we’ll shift our clock to 2023.