Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Our Top Five Experiences in Kolamaafushi, Maldives.

COUNTRY: Maldives
PROJECT: Teaching and Sports Coaching
WRITTEN BY: Emily Edwards

We’ve already been here three weeks and the time has gone so fast. Five experiences that you absolutely cannot miss while visiting the Maldives are:

1. Snorkelling trips to uninhabited islands
On some of our mornings off we like to indulge in a trip to an uninhabited island. At around 9.30 in the morning we get on our island dad’s boat and he takes us to another island, usually around 15-20 minutes away from Kolamaafushi. The first time we did this, it was a daunting ride. The boat is somewhat small and flat, with no sides to stop us from rolling out, but we make it there and back in one piece every time.

Getting to explore the other islands is beautiful, with us circling the island either by foot or in the water, snorkelling. On some of these trips we have had the pleasure of turtle sightings, thousands of fish, and a few too many sharks for Katie’s liking! Just make sure it doesn’t start raining heavily on your way home, as it makes for a tough time getting out of the boat in a wet towel.

2. Australia vs. Maldives Netball match
This week we had a netball match versing the local teachers. This turned out to be a frustrating experience, as the Maldivian players follow a slightly different set of rules to what is used in Australia, but it was nonetheless a successful game and friendships were forged. Phil wasn’t allowed to play, as the teachers requested that it be a female-only match, but he was able to entertain himself cheering and making friends with the local children. Once the game finished, we were invited to the home of one of our Maldivian opponents for a post-game coconut to quench everyone’s’ thirst.

3. Performing for the locals
On Tuesday we had a concert to celebrate Australia Day. The locals set up a stage for us and decorated it with everything Australian – blue background, Australian flags, balloons printed with Australian motifs and a poster with information on the origins of Australia Day for the locals to read. We performed a dance to a mash up of a series of songs that are on repeat throughout the trip. We also sung ‘Home Among The Gum trees’ with the hand actions that some of us have been teaching our classes. The school provided traditional Maldivian dress for the girls to wear for the night, and the school children and principal had a few songs to perform for us as well.

4. Night Fishing
The evening before Australia Day we went night fishing. Our Island dad caught 4 fish, which we found extremely impressive. Anna maintains that she caught a shark, which has been the source of much debate – everyone else believes it merely swam past. The most exciting part of our night was catching a turtle that we named Terry the Turtle. Nothing had happened in a while, when suddenly Sam’s line got extremely heavy. We thought it was a manta ray, then a shark (Katie: “If that shark comes on the boat I’m getting off!”), before finally pulling in Terry.

5. Robinson’s Resort
We’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay at Robinson’s Resort, a 5 star resort located on it’s own private island. It was a very exciting experience as few of us have stayed at a resort such as Robinson’s, especially as we had access to hot water for the first time in weeks as well as buffet meals with all of our favourite foods (one waiter has noticed Sammy and Katie’s love for French fries and brings a personal dish out for them both). We are already popular amongst the staff due to our frequent chats, enthusiastic sing-alongs, and bursts of dancing.

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