A Working Man’s Holiday in the Maldives

Holiday Island South Ari Atoll Maldives

As most tourists are when they get to the Maldives, I was swept away to an atoll island shortly after landing at the international airport.

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Villa Air’s beautiful new (2013) ATR 72-600 with white leather seats.

And so in lies the business model. The airlines of the Maldives thrive on getting tourists away from the international airport and away from Male, the capital and most populated city in the Maldives, to the outlying resort islands.

In this case, I was heading to the inhabited island of Maamigili which has one of the few airports in the Maldives. The Maamigili Airport is relatively new, having been open less than two years. Before that the nearby resorts were serviced by boat and seaplane but the boats took too long and the seaplane could not keep up with the demand from the large capacity resorts nearby. To stay competitive the local area needed an airport.

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Flyme (Villa Air) ATR 72-600 at Maamigili Airport in the Maldives

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The British say that if you don’t like the weather then wait 20 minutes.

In the Maldives the weather is relatively mild and consistent year round with the daytime temperatures ranging between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius. The two monsoon seasons vary in the amount of rainfall and winds with the south west monsoon, from May to November, bringing the strongest winds and heaviest rains. All the blogs and websites, however, like to remind you that no matter how bad the weather gets it is not so bad.

A heavy south west monsoon downpour in the Maldives usually lasts between 10-20 minutes.

Dhoani ride from the airport to Holiday Island Resort

After the 25 minute flight, a 5 minute bus ride and a 10 minute dhoani (boat) ride and we were on Holiday Island. It would be another 5 minutes by boat to Sun Island the sister island resort.

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After the storm. Seaplane platform and transfer boat anchored inside the reef at Holiday Island.

Seaplane platform and transfer boat anchored inside the reef at Holiday Island.

The weather patterns tend to follow two week trends and for the first two weeks I have been here it has been cloudy, windy and punctuated with lots of heavy rain showers. The overcast sky keeps the ambient air warm and allows enough sun to filter through producing a comforting aqua-velvet glow in the lagoon waters.

Holiday Island Boat Jetty South Ari Atoll

South facing beach Holiday Island Resort Maldives

Despite the intermittent rain and somewhat gloomy skies the tourists didn’t seem to mind.

The resident Grey Heron doesn’t mind the weather either.

They still went shell hunting on the beach, paddling around in the shallow waters and venturing off on day trips to find better snorkeling reefs.

Tourists collecting shells on the west tip of Holiday Island Resort Maldives

View of Sun Island in the South Ari Atoll Maldives

Most of the websites and books are laden with images of jetties, villas, beach chairs and coconut trees all taken in bright sunshine. You don’t see many pictures taken in the rain.

Since I didn’t have the sun the challenge for me was to see if I could take some interesting pictures despite the bland and blustery weather.

I decided to wait out a rain storm coming along with a brisk breeze from the west smothering the setting sun. These pictures are the results.

Sun setting over Sun Island in the South Ari Atoll Maldives

By the way, did I mention… I am here to work.

For more images of Holiday Island click on the link below.

Holiday Island South Ari Atoll Maldives

About John S Goulet

Air Transport Pilot, consultant, writer, blogger and photographer with 40 years in Professional Aviation.
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