The tiny island of Malé is the most densely populated city in the world. But it sits in the middle of a beautiful blue ocean and the country boasts more than 1200 islands with powder sand beaches and luminous blue water and apparently luxury resorts. You can understand why over a million visitors a year visit this tiny, remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise. At least little known on my side of the world to me. I would definitely return here.
Insignia anchored off shore on this stop and we took the tender to town. I had a snorkelling tour booked for the afternoon and decided to just wander around town. Dave – a fellow passenger from Vancouver – was doing the same thing I was, so we wandered along the waterfront together and through a maze of narrow streets. Dave went back to the ship and I stopped to rest – it was hot and humid – in the Sultan’s Park near the white Islamic Centre and Grand Friday Mosque which is huge and beautiful and dominates the city’s skyline. Very peaceful and I was rewarded by a “call to prayer” from the minaret. It is a Muslim island and there are over 20 other mosques scattered around Malé. The photo above is part of a memorial at the mosque.
I was struck by the number of motor bikes. Hundreds of them and they park everywhere. Sometimes it is hard to get onto the sidewalk because of them. And I loved the fresh markets with their huge variety of local fruit and vegetables. The fresh fish market was interesting but it was a little smelly for my liking. I gag easily.
Our snorkelling trip included two different locations and we were not disappointed by the huge variety of tropical fish we saw and live coral. My other snorkelling trips only showed mostly dead coral. Very disappointing and scary for our oceans. I wish I had had a go-pro camera. I did however think to grab a couple of bread rolls at breakfast and before I jumped into the water I stuffed them down my front, so I could feed the fish. It created a feeding frenzy and the gal with the go-pro camera was a happy camper. She got off the ship in Singapore before I could remember to ask her to send me a few photos. It was a lovely afternoon and we could see the beautiful resorts and beaches from the water. Many of these islands are being made larger by reclaiming land. The airport sits on one such island. Great visit.