Are​ Local Islands in Maldives safe?

mal14          I’m Aquaphobic! Yes, I’m scared of water. But I also spent 1.5 years(Before my wedding :P) dreaming about my Honeymoon destination – The Maldives, the country of astonishing coral islands in the Indian Ocean, which is blessed with fantastic white sand beaches and spectacular turquoise color of the sea. These heavenly beautiful islands are well-known as a luxury destination, mainly for honeymooners.

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So how can I be dead scared of even the thought of getting into a small swimming pool and also dream of honeymoon-ing in Maldives? Yup, That’s me! I don’t know why, but I just love the turquoise colored water. I’m so obsessed with it that I decided to risk my phobia 😀

maldives28I researched everything about Maldives, the climate, the cuisine, places to stay, dress code, outfits to pack, types of photos to be clicked, places to enjoy, things to be taken- Sunscreen, accessories, sunglasses, shoes ……. Phew! But when the day came, I was totally blank. I was highly excited and scared at the same time.

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We traveled from Chennai to Maldives through Kochi, Kerala. I always thought that the turquoise colored water will be only in very specific areas. To my surprise, I saw the mesmerizing turquoise sea just outside the airport entrance.

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We then jumped into the speedboat that took us from Male to Thoddoo island. It was my first ever speedboat ride, which was terrific, just like a bumpy roller coaster. The local people were very friendly and greeted us with big smiles.

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We chose thoddoo island instead of a luxury over water villa islands because we wanted to experience the calm, non-commercialized Maldives. Over the past few years plenty of guest houses have been built on local islands, so visiting the Maldives has become more affordable and has enabled travelers to experience the real Maldives.

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The Maldives is a Muslim country and also the smallest Muslim country in the world. Most of the local women were wearing a black abaya (dress covering the head, shoulders and the body). The life on Thoddoo island is very relaxed and the island itself is quiet.

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We stayed in Holiday cottage thoddoo. It was a very simple guest house with basic amenities. Our bed was decorated with flowers and leaves. Since we arrived by the evening we didn’t have much choice, so we went to the beach to experience a beautiful sunset. Thoddoo island had very few travelers and the path to the beach was always abandoned.

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There were a few fellow travelers relaxing but slowly they started vanishing as the water level started increasing. We were the last to leave the dark beach and headed straight to dinner, a good Maldivian food.

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The next day we wanted to try watersports, but by the time we reached the Watersports center, the crew had left. It was disappointing that we missed it but we still enjoyed the remaining day in the relaxing beach and also with this cutie. Meow!

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By this time I was so tanned. The third day we went on a sandbank tour which was a small piece of land miles away from thoddoo island, surrounded by the sea. It was a slice of paradise. Just a small land surrounded by water everywhere. There were many sandbanks like this nearby which can be reached by walk through knee length water. We also decided to go for snorkeling.

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The thought of me getting into the water and that too for snorkeling was absolutely terrifying. But both my husband and the snorkeling instructor aka Guest house owner convinced me that it was a lifetime experience, so finally, I agreed. I gathered up all my courage and got ready with the snorkeling gear.

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It was a sunny afternoon and too hot to be out, but the turquoise water is what mattered the most 🙂 Just when I thought everything was perfect, I remembered that I forgot to bring sunscreen with me. My already tanned skinned became almost black. But you know right? TURQUOISE WATER !! 😀

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And so we proceeded forward to snorkel. With all my gears on, I placed my feet in the water. My heart started pounding. He held my hands, comforted me and slowly pulled me in. I felt the cold seawater wetting my shorts. I saw his eyes, It was so comforting and I gradually walked in till the water was at my hip level. The sea had hip level water for about a mile in that area.

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We stopped and the instructor started giving instructions about snorkeling. In few minutes his voice started fading and the only thing I knew was, that I was standing in the middle of the sea, which has my favorite turquoise colored water, holding the hands of my darling husband. And I thought, yes, my dream came true. It was truly a once in a lifetime moment than another activity I chose to do. I completely enjoyed that feeling and came back to my senses.

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The instructions were over and my husband had started his test snorkel. I was still holding him. As he was practicing I looked around to find the shore, and to my shock, it was at a great distance from me. OMG! I started getting anxiety about being in the water, so far away from the shore and I couldn’t breathe properly. That’s when the instructor chose to take us deeper into the sea to a reef. Now we are in chest level water. Yes, you read that right. See? I’m brave! 😀

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Now they both had to enter the reef, which was obviously soooo deep and I had to stand alone in the sea until they return and the instructor takes me into the reef area. I started getting more anxious but still chose to stand alone because I didn’t want to spoil his snorkeling experience. For about 15 minutes, I was standing in the sea, alone. (Deep exhale). Then I saw two of them surface and him with a bright face. He said that it was so magical and also that it was my turn.

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I went under the water once and had shortness of breath. With multiple tries, very soon my anxiety turned into a panic attack. And that’s it, I shut down. I was convinced but I couldn’t even feel myself. I felt terrible that I could see the colorful reef and fish and then it happened. The instructor bought all the beautiful fish to where I’m standing. My hand was held and I snorkeled right there. Oh hey, It was magical too!

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We then spent almost all the time in the water, in the sun, totally without sunscreen. Only after some time, I started feeling a burning sensation all over my body and face. Very soon my eyes became red with the worst headache. After reaching the guest house I found out that I had a heat stroke with a terrible sunburn. It was so painful and I was very tired to even pay attention to it. I took a cool bath, drank lots of water and decided to sleep it out after dinner. We waited for a long time but still didn’t get our dinner. Suddenly the owner and his brother came to us and said that our dinner was in some other place.

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The Confused Us, sat on their bikes and they took us through the dark abandoned streets. It was pitch black other than the headlight of the small bikes we were sitting on. We were taken to the beach without letting us know what and why. I have heard all the horror stories of honeymooners, but still, I had a feeling that nothing wrong is going to happen.

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And SURPRISE!!!! Wowwww, The owner of the guest house arranged a candlelight dinner on the beach just for the two of us. Just imagine- the sea, the sound of the mild waves, the only light source- the dull moon, candlelight dinner, decorated small lamps in the beach sand in shape of hearts, myself, with the love of my life. What more could I wish for in a honeymoon? All the pain of the sunburn, heat stroke and tiredness vanished in a second. It was surreal and was one of the most romantic moments in my life.

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When it comes to safety, the local islands are yet to improve in many aspects. There is no police station in thoddoo island.  We didn’t have any major problems but still, there will be 100% safety only when the female solo travelers are able to visit and enjoy these beautiful local islands without any hassle.

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The next day we gave the beautiful thoddoo island a goodbye kiss. And right now, I’m dreaming about my next Maldives trip! (Of course, with loads of Sunscreen lol 😀 )

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