Maldives : rains in paradise

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Maldives: Rains in Paradise

spectrum on the turquoise waters

spectrum on the turquoise waters

The troika of sun, sea and sands makes for an obviously good and sensible combination. But talk of the rains on the beach and the first response would be ‘What! That’s a crazy idea!’ Right? Or so I thought until I was privileged – or should I say forced – to spend a rainy day on the brilliant sandy gems of the Maldives. I say ‘forced’ as where else can you go if you are on a small isolated island on the Indian Ocean, miles away from the nearest land.

But after that day, I think a rainy day is beautiful even by the sea. Especially if the waters are crystal clear, the beaches are more white than yellow. If you are intoxicating yourself in the salty Arabian breeze of a Coral island far, far away from civilization. Especially if you are in the Maldives!

At Fun resort @ Bodufinholhu Island

I was holidaying on the island of Bodufinholhu (don’t ask me how I still remember the name) at the Fun Resort that I was mesmerized by rains on these beautiful beaches. The island looks like a perfect picture post card on a sunny day – swaying palm trees humming with the salty sea breeze, tropical vegetation and wild flowers, cyan blue waters so transparent that you can see the colourful fishes right from the shore, and of course, the quintessential package that comes with every Maldivian island – the house reef, right close to the island, where you can snorkel to your heart’s content for hours and hours and marvel at the endless colours of the hidden oceanic wildness. Then when the day comes to a close, walk around in a pristine isolation to marvel at the stunning ruddy colors of sunset very beautifully complementing the white of the sand and the blue of the waters. If you are lucky, you can also see the mantas dutifully and domestically arriving at the island’s docking pier to get fed by the resort’s people (more as a tourist draw than a philotherian activity). And well, if you are even luckier, you may also see bioluminescence at the beach of select islands in mid-summer – certain planktons produce the chemical Luciferin (named after Lucifer – the god of light before he, well, turned dark) that help them glow in an eerily somnolent blue on the beaches at night.

Another picture perfect postcard day at Maldives

Another picture perfect postcard day at Maldives

A rainy day come September

But such perfect holiday beauty is an average day on the Maldives. What I really remember as different were the rains on the turquoise waters. It was on a late September afternoon – the monsoons are in a retreating mood at this time of the year from the Indian landmass. Dark indigo clouds had risen up and filled every inch of the unrestrained skies posing some colored threat at last to the impeccably cerulean waters. The lack of sunshine had driven other tourists to their sheltered abodes, rendering an otherwise difficult- to- find emptiness on the beach. For a brief moment I felt transported perhaps to a primeval time when these isles were left untouched on their own. The reverie was broken by the pitter-patter of the rains churning up the sands beautifully.

Spot the ray!

I must admit that there is something wildly romantic in the rains that helps create a sense of unrestrained peace. Perhaps the sudden burst engages all senses so much that the mind loves to feel lost in the torrents of the moment – just like a state of blissful meditation, At that moment, there was a heavy sense of euphoria surging all through me. I felt so ecstatic that I couldn’t help splashing like a little kid in the sea waters, half swimming, half wading to a nearby sand bar and feeling the heavy rains lash over me. But I was not alone – there was another pluviophile (a rain lover that is) in the form of a baby shark swimming close by. It’s one protruding fin out of the waters scared me initially until I realised it was no bigger than a carp and hence worth forgetting – it led its life and I mine.

When the sand bar started sinking and I ran out of energy to jump about, I came back on the beach and just lay on the sands looking up and facing the raindrops. It was like forgetting everything – and yet I remember thinking then that every person should, at least once, lie down and enjoy the rains facing them with a beaming smile rather than hiding away. It was an ethereal experience to lie on the sands and face the rains, to feel the sand dissolve beneath by caressing sea waves, while the rains try to pierce you through pointy cold shards of the water.

Still not satiated, I walked up and decided to make a round trip around the island in the rains (it is that small!) The poet in me not strangely, found the island vividly awake. The coconuts were still swaying in the rains, while the large swathes of the sea hibiscus plant seemed dancing rhythmically with the rains. Looking closely, I observed the innumerable hermit crabs of the island seeking shelter under the plants and patiently waiting for the sun again. The large grey herons, common denizens in these islands, seemed less affected by the September showers and were peacefully hunting about for food in the mud flats on one end of the island.

The torrent slowly reduced to a shower, then to a drizzle, as the clouds gave in and conceded to the sun. After all, it is was the tropical island – how long can one keep the sun out?

A heron watches as the rain draw to a close

No more pitter-patter,  just back to the sound of the lulling waves. I sat down the beach again, my eyes searching for a rainbow, while my body just lazed on the wet white sands, letting the turquoise waters lap along in fond memory…

Fact File:

  • The islands in the Maldives are accessible through airlines in India and Sri Lanka
  • There is a wide range of resorts here, from budget to ‘sky-is-the-limit’. Typically, an island just has one resort giving a brilliant sense of exclusivity but increasing prices in the process
  • The Fun resort where I stayed offers reasonable packages and is quite close to the city of Male
  • Choose wisely and consider distance from Male (the capital) as well as , further the island, higher are the transportation charges from Male
  • And don’t forget the snorkel to see the wonders of the house reef wherever you put up!

 

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