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7 Days Exploring the Maldives on a Luxury Yacht
One of the top honeymoon destinations in the world, the Maldives are a must-see destination for those who like barefoot luxury. Spanning more than 107,500 square kilometres (41,500 square miles) of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives offers a multitude of rich cruising grounds for superyachts among its islands, atolls and reefs.
Day 1: Malé
Arriving by plane is quite an experience, the single runway darts out into the sea and is one of the most scenic landings in the world. You can opt to take a boat to the capital, Malé where you’ll meet your yacht in the Port. After refreshing yourselves, head back to town by tender, where you’ll vie for dock-space with the locals — this island nation is reliant on boats to get around. The clean, well-built town has some buildings of historic interest such as the old Mosque, built in 1656. The fish market is a bustling place — little wonder when around a quarter of the islanders earn a living as fishermen. But there are no women here — the men, trade, buy and take home the fish for the women to cook.
PIcture courtesy of Klempa/Shutterstock.com
The Maldives is rightly famous for having a host of must do dives before you die, and at Ari Atoll you’ll find one of the best. The Hukurudhoo Uthuru Kandu is a main channel through Ari Atoll’s fringing reef; here the tide brings fresh supplies of nutrients twice daily, allowing for an incredibly rich reef of corals, plus all the attendant fish and other sealife. A drift dive along the drop-off zone provides eye-popping encounters with huge shoals of barracuda and rays, with vast shoals of colourful reef fish and the occasional lurking shark. Overnight you can anchor off the Ari Beach Resort, where you may enjoy a sundowner or pick up a few souvenirs.
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Dhigurah & Mamigili Islands
One of the main reasons why private cruises or a luxury yacht charter to the Maldives is so special, is you can explore islands usually inaccessible to most tourists, who end up more-or-less ‘trapped’ on their chosen resort isle. In general, the local population is kept apart from the tourists, occupying different islands and only meeting when they work in the service industry. On ‘native’ islands such as Dhigurah and Mamigili, life goes on much as it has done for centuries: mats are woven, fish are dried and boats are repaired. The locals are usually happy to show you around, just remember that you need to cover up, and women in particular, need to make sure shoulders and legs are covered.
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Only around 200 of the more than 1100 islands are inhabited, so once more, being on board a yacht is a huge advantage — you can explore a true desert island, just sharing the beach with shells and hermit crabs. Strolling around an uninhabited island such as Dhiffushi is a real privilege; incredibly soft, perfect sand is lapped by warm water — while the rocky foreshore is home to all kinds of wildlife, on land and in the sea. If you’re lucky you may spot small shards of clay pottery telling of ancient shipwrecks; especially during the Southwest monsoon, these low lying atolls and reefs were much feared by mariners as a treacherous lee shore.
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Madivaru is yet another perfect ‘Robinson Crusoe’ isle – and also a great spot for snorkelling and windsurfing. Why not get out all the yacht’s exciting water toys and enjoy having the space to learn some new skills. When darkness falls you can enjoy a beach barbecue to top off a perfectly relaxing day.
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Mushimasmigili and Kandholhudhu
Island hopping within the atoll, you’ll discover yet more ‘favourite’ beaches. Swim and snorkel from Mushimasmigili before taking a trip to the coral reef at Kandholhudhu for diving or snorkelling. Everywhere you go, you’re sure to be entranced by the clear water, vibrant reefs and rich sea life.
Picture courtesy of Rostislav Ageev/Shutterstock.com
Heading back across the Ari channel towards Malé, you can stop at the island of Kurumba, a peaceful base within easy reach of Malé, so you can top up on your gift shopping, whilst still retreating to the luxury of the Maldives first private island resort to enjoy your last evening here.
Picture courtesy of Kurumba/Facebook.com