If you are tired of gray routine days, it’s time for a change and bright colors. Maldives is a place with an abundance of blue sea, azure sky, white sand and green palms. And there is a lot of sea life, which is important for people like me… real snorkelers (snorkeling is swimming with a mask, snorkel and fins).
Despite the corals in the Maldives, most atolls have already lost their true colors (due to warm currents and climate changes), the abundance of fish will definitely not let you get bored. And the warm sea makes snorkeling one of the best pastime options.
During our trip, we have visited different islands, but today I will tell you about one of my favorite places – the island Biyadhoo.
How to get there?
The cheapest way to get to the island of Biyadhoo is going by speedboat from the island of Maafushi, the price of the one-way trip is $15 per person (including taxes). The journey takes about 5 minutes. If you find a company and cooperate with other vacationers, you can reduce the price by $2-3 per person (actual for companies of 5 or more people). You can book a transfer at one of Maafushi’s tour desks, for example, at Icomtours. You can take a phone number and leave the island on any convenient day, by the way, you can call the local numbers free of charge at the hotel reception like we did.
And you also can go from Male to Maafushi Island on a budget. There is a public ferry service which departs daily from Jetty 1 in Male at 2.30PM (except Fridays). Tickets cost just $2 each way and the journey takes 90 minutes.
If Biyadhoo is the final destination of your trip and money is not a problem, then you can pre-order a transfer from the airport to the hotel, the price is about $100 per person one way.
There is only one hotel on the island – Biyadhoo Island Resort (it is common practice in the Maldives). This three-star hotel consists of several buildings and there are no water bungalows. Just a note, the charm of this island is not in the luxury rooms, but in a local reef, an amazing beach and wonderful swings right on the water. Nevertheless, the rooms are comfortable enough: comfortable beds, air conditioner, mini bar, refrigerator and your own balcony.
I recommend to book accommodation with meals, otherwise, you will spend more money paying for food, as on the island you can eat only in a restaurant or cafe, which belong to the hotel. By the way, the food is very good, a wide variety of dishes: hot (meat or fish, whatever you want), soups, vegetables, fruits (there are not a lot of them but the choice varies from day to day) and there is a wonderful dessert table. In my opinion, the chef is doing an excellent job.
There is a Russian-speaking staff (this is relevant to travelers from Russia). Wi-Fi is free of charge at the reception only.
Snorkeling on the local reef
Snorkeling in this heavenly corner of the earth will justify all your expectations if you are not afraid to swim along the edge of the reef. The edge of the reef is the place where the coral reef ends and the real depth begins (the place where the water changes its color from light blue to dark blue). Those who are engaged in snorkeling in the Maldives, it is necessary to find out where on the island the dangerous currents are. Such currents on Biyadhoo passes between the passage 1 and 2 as shown on the map below. It’s very easy to navigate using the neighboring island; you don’t have to swim in a location opposite this island.
From personal experience, the best place for snorkeling is between passages 3 and 5. This place is not difficult to find, it is better to go in the water near the swing area, and turn around and swim back without reaching a pipe. Once you see it, you will understand where to stop at the time.
I need to mention all of the interesting sea creatures we met on this distance. The main key to success is patience because real secrets are revealed to those who can wait and are very attentive (but sometimes just lucky). If you don’t feel very confident, you can always join one of the groups coming to the island on an excursion, watch an instructor and you will see a lot of interesting fish.
Not far from the pipe, we met shoals of squid many times, for some reason they like this place. The «Nemo» fishes live in actinia a little further, they are always shown on excursions.
Opposite the center of the beach, we saw a turtle, the main thing … don’t forget yourself and don’t swim behind it too far from the reef. Another time, we were swimming for the turtle right next to the beach, it swam across the reef.
We saw an octopus hiding in rocky reefs, a moray (there are many of them); here, by the way, you feel quite comfortable next to them, because the reef is deep enough and can be observed from a safe distance. Many times we met parrot fish and huge schools of glittering fish, their scales are illuminated with blue patches, an incredibly beautiful sight. And in shallow water swam a small flounder or her subspecies…
One morning, on one of the cloudy days, when we were swimming in our usual place, a blacktip reef shark about 1.5 meters long appeared. We began watching it with great interest, and suddenly my husband noticed another one from the other side, and then a third appeared. The largest one, about 2 meters long. Although reef sharks are safe for humans, when three sharks started circling around us (what is already an unkind sign), or it seemed to us that they began to circle, it became a bit uncomfortable. Adrenaline went off the scale and we swam, looking around, while the going is good. Later a few more times we saw one of these sharks nearby this place. Let’s just say we had a lot of amazing experiences of snorkeling at Biyadhoo!
What else to do?
If you are a simple beach lover, you don’t have a mask, and you didn’t rent it at the local dive center, then you are unlikely to see such varieties of fish that we saw. But you will definitely see absolutely innocuous baby sharks floating right near the shore and hunting for fry. They are absolutely safe and very interesting to watch.
Also, without exposing yourself to any risk, standing on a small pier next to the swings, you can see moray eels; we saw a pink one, it was incredible! But you need to watch for a long time, they seldom come out of their hiding place. But small crabs please the eyes constantly, they run along the stony pier.
If you come for a long time, you can go on excursions from the hotel. But it is better to take the contacts of one of the tour offices in Maafushi and join their groups which is so much cheaper.
On the island you can have a great time swinging in very comfortable hammocks near the diving center, watching the sunset on the beach and watching herons prey on fry, and the best thing is that all this can be done at the same time.
You can walk along the island. We walked around it in 10 minutes. It is especially pleasant, in the midday sun, to walk before lunch in the shade of island vegetation.
And do not miss the feeding of sharks on the main pier at 9:30 pm!
The hotel doesn’t provide free drinks, so if you have a limited budget, it is better to bring water from Maafushi. You can calmly come to the restaurant with the bottle of your own water.
If you want to cut the fruits that you brought to the island (for example, pineapple), then not all employees agree to do that, it is better to have your own knife or don’t to take such fruits.
Because of the dead corals, I recommend swimming only in special shoes. And always control the bottom, the sea, and the reef can be unfriendly to inattentive tourists: you can meet a stingray or a stone fish. All this can spoil the impression of rest and cause injury.
If you intend to swim for a long time and without breaks (we swam for 4-5 hours), take a wetsuit with you. Despite the fact that the water is warm, on cloudy days it is pretty cool, and on sunny days you can get burnt in just 30 minutes.
When planning the check in, keep in mind that the time on Biyadhoo is +1 hour to the time on Maafushi, however, the way between islands takes about 5 minutes by boat.
You can also travel to the island every day from Maafushi, but I would recommend staying there for at least a few days and enjoying all the delights of this wonderful place!
Have a nice trip!
++ all prices in US dollars