Moofushi, Halaveli and Bathala, Maldives
January 2011, Maldive Islands
Roberta and Paolo’s Travel Journal
You can find recent pictures galleries on visited resorts qui
You can find videos on visited resorts qui
January 16, 2011 12.09 pm: our Meridiana flight is taking off. On the landing strip we leave a thick mist to reach the warm sun of Maldives. We decided to spend 6 nights in the Maldives at the last minute. A trip we’d always wanted to do and that we finally managed to plan in one week thanks to a series of coincidences.
This time we leave with a different spirit, we go back to an island that we used to love, Moofushi, after more than two years. The island has been shut down for almost two years and it has been renovated, after Constance bought it.
During the flight and in the previous days our feelings are clashing and contrasting: curiosity and fear of what we could find there, happiness and nostalgia of how it was.
We land in Malé on January 16 at 1.08 pm, Malé time. The heat that welcomes us is the typical heat that waits for you when you land in Hulule. A feeling that submerges us in this reality immediately.
In the lounge of Constance, where we have the chance to eat something and use the internet connection, we wait for the float plane that will take us Moofushi.
We leave with the float plane at 4.30. After 25 minutes of flight we can glimpse a familiar shape, we are approaching the island! In spite of the new overwaters built, a lot, we are able to recognize it at first sight!
Here You can find all the pictures in Moofushi
Here You can find the videos in Moofushi
The island is part of the Southern Ari atoll, 92 km and 25 minutes by float plane from the capital city. It’s 300x160 meters large and there are 110 rooms total.
Enzo Spina, the manager, and Cristian Pagani from diving, are there to welcome us; Enzo has planned our visit of the island to see the news.
From the pontoon that we had often walked, we reach the famous “piazzetta” (little square) as we used to call it… the central part of the island with the common area… on the right there’s the reception, in the same spot, and the offices; in front of us there’s the diving, something has changed, but it’s always there, and the boutique; on the left the bar and the restaurant beyond it. There are differences, but seeing the buildings exactly where they used to be makes us think that nothing has changed too much.
The diving, of which we’ll talk about later
The “Manta Bar”
After completing the mere formalities like checking in, they walk us to our Senior Water Villa. Number 59, on the West side of the island, on the pontoon that has been stretched out parallel to the sea shore. It’s positioned after the old Water Villas, that have been completely renovated. The Senior Water Villas are 30, the Water Villas 56 – 17 on this side, the other 39 on the East side of the island.
On the way there, Enzo explains that all the new Water Villas have been built without undermine the reef, and that Constance put a lot of attention in the ecological aspect of the structure.
We enter our Senior Water Villa: the room is 94 square meters, the closets are shaped like trunks, an original idea, pleasant to see. At the entrance there is a dresser, a wardrobe and a bar area.
Walking down the corridor, you enter the bedroom. The furniture is in light-colored wood, but there are pieces and accessories that give a touch of color.
In the room we have air conditioning, fan on the ceiling, phone, Wi Fi connection, DVD player, Hi Fi system, iPod platform, Mini Mac, TV LCD and keyboard to connect to the internet and some channels dedicated to guests in different languages: island activities, theoretical diving classes to be held in the tranquility of your room, warnings and suggestions regarding the reef and with our wonder and relief we find the comic strips we draw a few years ago for the campaign Protect the Maldives for Mondomaldive.
Later on Enzo will explain that with the Mac tv system, the diving channel offers the opportunity to watch the class video directly from the room television, and, most important, at the time you prefer. Next day you can rehearse the new knowledge you’ve gained without having to attend a class. Another aspect is the presence of people of different nationalities, who can select from their tv set the language they prefer. Obviously, anybody who wants to attend the traditional class with the instructor can do it.
The bedroom faces the terrace, where you can find little armchairs and sun beds and direct access to the sea. Between one terrace and the other there is a wall wooden wall that guarantees privacy.
Behind the bed, close to the entrance, but on the left, there is a bath area. A second wardrobe, two sinks, a table with mirror, toilet, indoor shower and an outdoor bathtub. Towels, bath robes, hair dryers and everything for the bath is available.
After taking pictures and making videos of the tidy room, we unpack our luggage. We take a quick shower and we go to the diving. It’s almost dinner time and Enzo and the boys from the BlueTribe are waiting for us for some appetizer, but first we deserve to see the beautiful sunset on the sand beach.
The diving is particular. From the outside it looks like being in a submarine and looking into the blue. The walls are in different tones, from turquoise to deep blue. The light-colored wooden furniture and the lamps are shaped like jelly fishes.
On the right of the diving the BlueTribe has opened a little boutique where they sell diving equipment, wet suits, masks, computers, diving t-shirts and a lot of other things; what you can see in the picture below, the crab, is the desk.
The BlueTribe was created by Enzo Spina, big expert in Maldives, Marta, his partner, expert and sweet “teacher”, Christian, Enzo’s associate since years ago, Emidio, another Bluetribe associate (a lot of you might remember him in Bathala), with Valentina and Riccardo’s collaboration, ex historical “locals” of the diving in Asdu, Miles Crookes, another “big wheel” PADI with a title like “course director Padi”, to say the one who trains Padi instructors, and Domitilla, expert in the so called “technical” diving.
From this year on the diving controls all the excursions too, not just diving, but day and night snorkelling, dawn snorkelling at the beach, desert island snorkelling, excursion to look for dolphins, sunset cruising with appetizers at sunset, and all the excursion with boats like the one that allows you to see the whale shark or the hammerhead shark in Rasdhoo. They have a very powerful speed boat to go in the interesting areas in short time.
Next afternoon Paolo tested the manta point next to Moofushi.
Extraordinary operator Enzo. Here his experience.
After chatting with the guys with a tasty dry “Cristal” wine integrated in the all inclusive, we have dinner at the restaurant, the “old” Bounganville. For those of you who used to know Moofushi, you sure remember that in front of the main restaurant, on the sea, you could find the a la carte restaurant Bounganville. Now the building is part of the main restaurant, called “Manta”. You cannot reserve a table, and everybody is welcome to choose to sit outside or inside.
We have dinner with Enzo and Marta. The service is a buffet, like for breakfast and lunch. The menu is international, but we find a lot of dished that an Italian mouth could appreciate in addition to Japanese and Maldivian specialities, and international food.
There is a wonderful chandelier in the middle of the restaurant; it’s made of hundreds of seashells, luckily fake, and it gives a very pleasant appearance to the place.
We end our lovely evening with Enzo and Marta in front of the bar, on the beach, furnished with couches and tables.
We wake up with the sun in the morning of January 18. We have a quick breakfast and we start immediately the island full tour. Tomorrow we’ll have to move
We eat our breakfast on the tables outside the restaurant, there still are few people awake and we can take some pictures.
Behind the restaurant there is the main bar of the island. We find the seashells here as well. They cover the frontal part of the counter completely. Lamps are made of rocks piled one on top of the other.
On the right there is a big circular couch, a relaxation area for guests, especially for the night.
Between the bar and the restaurant you can find the wine cellar; a lot of them are part of the AI (Cristal Package), in addition you can ask for a la carte wines.
In front of the bar there is a large beach with a wooden deck furnished with couches, armchairs and tables, where, in the evening, you can enjoy a glass of something under the starry sky.
We start our patrolling of the South side of the island going West, leaving the restaurant behind us. Right after the restaurant we find a relax area called “Blue Lounge”, especially utilized in rainy days, where guests can enjoy television, board games, magazines and books.
After this we find another relax area, in the open air, used during the night.
Proceeding on the South-East side we find the SPA, the 8 little bungalows, 6 single and two double, where you can be massaged. There is a glass floor under the couch, from where you can look into the lagoon underneath it. Too bad we don’t have time to get a massage.
After the SPA we find the restaurant “Alizée Grill”, a la carte restaurant on the beach, open in the afternoon for tea time and in the evening for dinner.
Later on we find the “Totem” bar, in the swimming pool area, South-West of the island.
Going North we find the Water Villas pontoon that comes before our Senior Water Villas.
The room is slightly smaller, 66 square meters; the wall behind the bed divides the night area from the bath area: the sing is against the wall, the shower and toilet are behind it.
On the right of the Water Villas pontoon there is the biggest beach in the island; scattered all over the island there are those huge cushions that you can see in the pictures.
At the beginning of the beach we find the old Beach Bar, renovated, the Water Sport and the gym.
On the North side there are 24 Beach Villas, directly on the beach.
The room is 57 square meters, the furniture is similar to the Water Villas, the facilities are the same.
The bathroom is outside, the same supplies of the Water Villas.
Arrived to the North point of the island we find the other Water Villas pontoon.
In the inside of the island a lot of new plants have been planted to make it more rich and vigorous.
Beaches are very spacious, especially in the South-West and North-East points.
The reef surrounding the island it’s always the same, no damage has been caused to it. The East side is the most beautiful. From the beach you can go snorkelling directly in the ocean, so you can see very big fishes, turtles, carangidaes, mobules etc. It being the ocean, you can see almost everything. You can enter water from the main pontoon and swim along the South-East coast, reaching the pool.
We were fearful of what we could find before leaving our feeling is that Moofushi has been renovated, yes, but not damaged: you can find old buildings now renewed, improved, but we could still recognize the island that we had visited so many times. Enzo and the entire Bluetribe’s presence, with the staff that used to work on the island, makes Moofushi an old friend who just got a lifting :-)
On January 19, after lunch, we go to Halaveli by boat.
Here You can find all the pictures in Halaveli
The island is part of the Northern Ari atoll, 67 km and 20 minutes by seaplane from the capital city. It’s 370x170 meters large and there are 86 rooms total.
At our arrival Thierry Ng Ping Man, Area Sales and Marketing Executive of Moofushi and Halaveli, welcomes us and takes us to our room, bungalow 29, one of the 20 350 square meters big Beach Villas.
The room is located on the West side of the island and there are two areas, bedroom and bathroom.
The room is very big, with air conditioning, fan on the ceiling, phone, Wi Fi connection, DVD player, Hi Fi system, iPod platform, Mini Mac, TV LCD, bar area and a coffee machine.
On the outside we find armchairs, two sun beds and direct access to the beach.
Between the bedroom and the bathroom there is a wardrobe and a toilet.
The bathroom is outside. It’s more a relax area than a bathroom, with pool, bathtub and shower, bath robes and hair dryer. The bath set is complete.
We take a long walk along the island borders to see the beaches, very wide in some places. On the West side there are retaining walls that start from the shore. On the North point and East side the walls are offshore, parallel to the beach.
On the North-West point we see the Presidential Manor. We won’t be able to see it the inside because there are guests in it, but we know that there is a 700 square meters private swimming pool.
We keep on walking toward South-East
At the end of the East side, we find the Bar with pool and behind it the main restaurant “The Jahaz”.
After the South point we walk North on the West side of the island.
We find the “Beach Grill”, bar and restaurant on the beach, where they organize appetizers and dinners directly on the beach in the evenings.
Further we find the pontoon that takes to the 57 Water Villas. They are 100 square meters large, with private pool on the terrace and they have air conditioning, fan on the ceiling, phone, Wi Fi connection, DVD player, Mini Mac, TV LCD, Hi Fi system, iPod platform, bar area and coffee machine. Unfortunately we can’t see them inside because all of them are taken.
In the middle of the Water Villas pontoon we find the SPA and the bar and restaurant “The Jing”.
The SPA is made of 10 bungalows for treatments, 6 single and 4 double, in addition to the relax area, steam bath and Turkish bath.
We go back to the island and we keep on walking North. We find the Water Sport, the Boutique and the Reception.
The pontoon where the diving is located starts from the reception. The diving is managed by Giuseppe D’Amato’s TGI Diving, the same society that manages the divings in Dhiggiri and Alimathà.
In the evening we go out for some appetizers with Thierry at the Beach Grill and then we have dinner at “The Jahaz” restaurant. The food is international and they have buffet service. They organize theme dinners, we’ll eat Chinese the next day.
We meet Carlier Jerome, the French sommelier in Halaveli, during our dinner. After dinner he invites us to his wine cellar for a “special” wine tasting. We are amazed to find this kind of place in Maldives. Closing the door behind us it seems like we have been transported to another reality. The entire place has been furnished by Jerome: the door is covered with hundreds of corks, walls with boxes of valuable wines. The lights are perfect for a wine cellar, like the temperature, constant and way different from the external heat.
We spend a couple of hours chatting with Thierry, who is Mauritian, and with Jerome, tasting delicious wines.
On January 20, in the morning, we walk through the internal part of the island, after the previous day external walk.
We find the tennis court and the gym, where they offer yoga classes as well.
Kids from 4 to 12 years old have their own Miniclub: the area is divided in two spaces, one external and one internal.
You can find a small doctor’s office on the island, and the doctor is always there. They come from nearby islands, where there is no medical assistance, to see the doctor.
We visit one of the 8 Beach Villas with garden and pool: 410 square meters large, developed on two floors.
On the first floor we find the entrance, with a stairway that takes to the upper floor. There is a wardrobe and you can enter the night area with air conditioning, fan on the ceiling, phone, Wi Fi connection, DVD player, Mini Mac, TV LCD, Hi Fi system, iPod platform, bar area and coffee machine.
On the outside, the veranda with armchairs and sun beds and external stair that takes you upstairs.
The bathroom is a wide garden with bathtub, shower, pool and sun beds. Bath robes, complete bath set and hair dryer complete the bathroom facilities.
On the upper floor there is a day area, that could be transformed into a second bedroom, with indoor bathroom and a small deck.
After a quick lunch we spend the afternoon relaxing. We eat at the main restaurant in the evening and we realize that our stay is going to be over soon: the bed is covered with flowers, the traditional way to say goodbye to the guests.
On January 21, around 11 am, we leave to reach Bathala: we have one more day to spend and we decide to go to the small island since it’s so close to Halaveli.
The resort is full and, as planned, they offer to us a staff room next to the diving.
We meet old friends, Lidia and Nik from the diving, the guys from administration and the memories from last year’s vacation spent there come back to us.
The day rushes by us, with baths, sun and lunch, a bit of relax and chats with guests and the organization of a happy hour on the beach. There is a group of people who booked their vacation on Mondomaldive and we decide to organize something special for them, in order to get to know them all.
We enjoy the sunset, that never lets you down, and at 7.30 pm, under a starry sky, on the West beach, we meet to drink something together. The atmosphere is really magic.
As usual we take a group picture
Next morning we go back to Halaveli by boat. We take the seaplane there and we go to Malé. Our week is almost over.
We spend the afternoon and the evening in Malé. In the morning we go to the airport in Malé to fly back to Italy. Our flight is late, in Malpensa a Sea small truck crushed into the aircraft and it has perforated the cockpit. Meridiana finds a plane thanks to Air Cipro, and we postpone our departure to the evening, spending another day in Malé.
We land in Italy with some hours of delay, but happy for our new adventure.
Roberta & Paolo