Maldives Day 3 - Shabbat:
The St. Regis was surprisingly shabbat friendly. Although the lights and blinds in the room are controlled by iPads we just left the bathroom lights on and the rest off. The bathroom doors kept the light out when they were closed (while we slept) and let enough light come in when we had the doors open. The front door does require a magnetic key that has a light but we kept it unlocked by having the deadbolt turned so the door doesn't close all the way. (It's a risk we were willing to take. The island feels incredibly safe- we didnít think twice about leaving valuables lying around). We also left the Do Not Disturb sign on so we wouldn't have to worry about them changing any of our settings.
We ate our lunch on the beach chairs by the main beach (we brought a platter of finger foods - mazza as davidmal would say- from our local butcher for that day). After lunch we hung out in Vommuli house. They have a library, and two story game room with ping pong, foosball and air hockey downstairs and board games upstairs. The upstairs room is air conditioned and has very comfortable suede bean bag chairs so we spent a lot of shabbat there escaping the heat. We didnít revisit this room so sadly, we donít have pictures of it. But picture a large living room with couches and beanbags to sit on and play videogames, jenga, etc.
After Shabbat we went on a night snorkeling trip, which turned out to be a great experience. Our guide took us out to the house reef with strong flashlights and pointed out cool things like puffer fish, lion fish, huge starfish (biggest we've ever seen), a huge hermit crab, and sleeping reef fish. Once we were deep in the water he told us to cover our flashlights and wave in the water. We didn't know what he was getting at but we followed his instructions and saw something incredible. There are bioluminescent plankton in the ocean that light up when agitated. Waving created a show of lights we'll never forget.
Maldives Day 4:
Sunday was our most active day on the island. We woke up early to get some morning snorkeling in since there are supposed to be the most fish out in the morning. We then went kayaking (free) from the watersports center past the family villas, past the main beach, and around the overwater villas. We turned around at the John Jacob Estate. I sort of regret that we didnít get the glass bottom kayak because that would have been a window to whatever is underneath but it was still fun nonetheless. We saw a lot of fish from our kayak, and jellyfish that must have numbered in the thousands (literally). After kayaking we had lunch at Alba then Naseeb gave us a tour of the John Jacob Astor Estate. (dw wanted me to mention that Naseeb happens to be one of the best iphone photographers she ever met and he was amazing about taking pictures of us throughout the trip.)
A short snorkeling video:
John Jacob Astor Estate - In case anybody has 40-50k laying around and wants to try it for a night...
Me thinking Iím Tarzan:
A Ride in the butler cart (wind noise so maybe turn volume down)
We then went back to the watersports center for our Discover Scuba session (we wanted to get fully certified but they said that would take 3-4 days which we didnít have). We became friendly with Allister from the dive center - we met him Friday during Sea Bobbing and had our night snorkeling session with him so he was our guide for the scuba course. It was both of our first time scuba diving but Allister made us feel very comfortable and made the experience very fun. We started out at the watersports center getting a quick 20 minute explanation of the basics of diving. Then we moved into the water by the beach. We started out in shallow water practicing some skills then spent some time in deeper water getting comfortable with everything. When we were ready, we took a boat to an amazing coral garden with more lively and colorful coral and sea life than the house reef. We were underwater for a total of 32 minutes and went down to 12 meters.
After scuba diving we went back to the room to shower then went to the Whale Bar for drinks and dinner. The sunset was really incredible and sitting on the outdoor deck was the perfect way to end the day. (PS this is where we had a mini DO and met Chuchem and another Jewish couple from NY). I didnít mention earlier that every night at dinner we would speak to our servers about the Maldives, their local Islands, their history, and much more. Each and every one of them had such different stories and taught us so much about the islands and what itís like being a native Maldivian. (DW says ďif onlyÖĒ)
The Whale Bar
Everywhere you go on the island, the give you a scented cold towel. Each place you go has a different scent. I remember the beach being a mint scent, the restaurant some oil scent, etc.
Bloody Mary served in a shell
Just a side note, their drinks are pretty good. Not out of this world amazing but pleasant, enjoyable, and relaxing.
And another random video, this time of me in the water, taking a 360 view (there was some shmutz on the camera that we only saw now, while viewing and editing the videos)