Natural beauty, formed by patterns Maldivian reefs on the blue surface of the ocean, impossible to reach, being at the level of the sea - it's almost like looking at the masterpieces in the Louvre, burying his nose in them. Here it is necessary to step back from the picture, rise above it and only divine brushstrokes form a harmonious masterpiece and one atoll does not seem something formless and presents a picture of the hundreds of reefs with round turquoise lagoons and golden beaches.
For those who want to relax in the hotels located at a distance from the international airport, the thrill included in the program. Of the hundreds of hotels, only about 1/3 is located in a radius of 50 km from the capital atoll North and South Male ', the other hotels were built on the islands of neighboring atolls, and if you plan to live in a hotel in Baa Atoll, Lhaviyani, Ari and some others, then hop on a small seaplane provided to you.
Airport seaplanes shares an island with an international airport and is exactly across the tarmac in the central lagoon. Travelers arriving at the check-inyat local flight and ground transportation to deliver one of the two points-based seaplanes. Two competing companies Maldivian Air Taxi (red and white) and Trans Maldivian Airways (yellow-blue) divide the transportation market and have contracts with certain hotels.
In our hotel flew Maldivian Air Taxi - Danish company, which operates in the market of the Maldives. On the face of it more clearly competitor and has most of the business of transportation, in the market since 1993. It is considered the world's largest seaplane operator in the world.
On arrival at the departure terminal welcomes guests waiting room, a small cafe, toilets and all that is needed to pass an hour or two in anticipation of landing.
A number of hotels (about 10 pieces) present their exclusive waiting area for guests.
At the hotel chain Four Seasons is very nice lounge - spacious, which is pleasing to the eye interior and relaxing light music and a cooling air conditioner gently. Predubeditelny uniformed concierge soothing voice, the voice capabilities brightened the expectation of departure, and after his speech, the impression remains that this maldivets clearly has a talent manager ceremony to turn usually anxious waiting time in pleasing part of the holiday.
One of the features of the hotel Four Seasons, as well as the region in general, Maldives - the establishment of his time at the resort, other than the national time. Sometimes it's a half-hour, in this case had an hour and it happens that the resort / boat lives on the hour and a half ahead. This is to ensure that guests have seized more light time on vacation. At the equator, day / night are approximately 12 hours, respectively, around 6 am sunrise, sunset around 6 pm, on vacation few rises at 6 am, therefore, guests and shift - stood up at 9:00 am, and the sun as if would be at 8:00 am and formed an extra hour of sunbathing.
Cozy family area in the Four Seasons Launge waiting for air transfer. I must say that the air transfer - this is no ordinary transfer when they meet there and then sits down two of you in a car and driven to the hotel for two aircraft at a reasonable price no. Airline consolidates the flight group of passengers, besides that gathers those who are in a hotel with you, so also in the neighboring hotels too. Therefore, the average waiting time for an hour or two on hand and the availability of toilets, drinks / snacks, library and wifi fall by the way.
In the vicinity of the entire fleet based companies moving away from the coast strip plavprichalov and similar to each other seaplanes slightly swaying, heaving wind.
Over the complex airport air traffic control tower rises from time to time sit down and fly big planes.
It was possible to observe the captain, apparently conducts routine preflight inspection. He walked briskly along on the car, pulled over flap vigorously jumped on the float, check the tension of some ropes, something clicked, and then opened the round door and stepped inside, a moment later opened a second reason, square door and stepped out, flipping through a magazine and later in the same spirit. All-in, the Europeans felt work.
All aircraft of the same type - Canadian DHC-6 Twin Otter to 19 passengers, Maldives general world champion on the application of this model airplanes. In sum, both Maldivian company employs about 50 cars carrying about 2,000 people a day. In the cabin has two rows of seats with a passageway therebetween, left and right by one, two seats. Baggage tuck in the tail of the aircraft, hand luggage taken there Ms. allowing leave small lady's handbag or camera. Cockpit communicates with the interior and manipulation can be seen through the open doorway.
The view from the cabin
Flight crib at the helm, I brought a focus expecting to see something like "over-up myself down," but no, seriously. Operational flight plan with the route data on distance, fuel weight of passengers. As can be seen the route includes several 5 hotels directly, less lucky for those who before arriving at your island made several landings / takeoffs.
Take off very gently and not noticeable. Noise turbo engines vitnovyh uniform and loud enough, would like to issue ear plugs.
All gained altitude, the feelings of 700-900 meters, moving at an average speed of 250 km per hour.
Prior to our hotel Four Seasons Landaa Giravaru Male from 130 km, total somewhere around 40 minutes fly through the waters of the North Male Atoll / Baa and wide Strait between. Approximately half way will run over beautiful reef systems of various degrees of circularity, they are called faro (faro) and similar to those micro-atolls. If you own a huge atoll has a diameter of 35 km and its outline is difficult to grasp without adequate removal, the patterns of the many faro on the perimeter and inside the lagoon, a total of outlines of the atoll, look very expressive.
Map of North Male Atoll, indicating the direction of flight. The dimensions of approximately 40 by 60 km, on the border of the atoll seen how big the island was a few million years ago, while the external forces of nature do not equate it with the surface of the water, leaving only the reef on the perimeter and a shallow lagoon. Map can be seen that the depth of the outside of the atoll 500-1000-2000 meters, and within a maximum of 20-40-60 meters. Bright feature atolls of the Maldives - the abundant presence of reefs not only on the perimeter of the atoll (as usual), but also within the lagoon, as if from the bottom of a shallow bowl atoll grew dozens of atolls in miniature and just to have reached the surface, acquiring its fine lagunku depth of 1 -2-3 meters and outer reef. Explanation of this feature most closely matches the theory of multiple channels in the outer reef atoll large, it literally cut through them every 2-4 km. Through them Lagoon gets a good water exchange and the conditions for the consolidation and growth of polyps inside the coral reef lagoon. Comparable in size Lagoon Rangiroa Atoll (French Polynesia) has only 2 passes in the outer reef and no reef / island inside the lagoon, although the depth of 35 meters.
40 minutes way plane flies through dozens of islands, many of them live and they resort to be local or village, this here island near the capital Male '- the residence of the president of the republic. Obviously artificially spiked lagoon to increase the land area of the island.
And this is one of the faro reefs almost reaching the surface land area it does not have, but clearly visible outer reef and priglubuyu central part with small reefs. What is not a micro-atoll?
Reefs in the lagoon with a large area of the beach, converted into resorts. In the foreground, Banyan Tree Resort, in the back Angsana Ihuru Resort.
Variations elongated reefs, but, again, without the land and therefore uninhabited. Fly over the atolls as never agree with a statistical fact that the territory of the country only 025% of the land is, in fact - is the realm of the sea and reef.
Reef with a tiny beach area, most likely by the outgoing tide in the water. MTS did not get here with his egg-shaped brand advertising.
Cute faro, part of which is occupied island resort Baros Resort. In the lagoon, in the quiet place where the wind can not disperse wave are spa court.
Beautiful elongated faro and Resort Huvafen Fushi Resort. In the background you can see the western boundary of the large North Male 'Atoll, the outer reef which takes the pounding waves of the open ocean.
Unnamed faro uninhabited reef with beach area and a well-illuminated lagoon. I want to draw attention to an important point about understanding the position of the sun at a potential flight. If you are flying, for example, from south to north in the morning, the sun will shine on the east and on the plane is critical to take the left lane, then you will have a beautiful view of the island, with no glare, whitish sky and blinding rays of the sun through the window. By analogy should estimate the position of the sun and the direction of flight paths for others.
But one of the reefs in the lagoon, which essentially does not reach the surface of the water and in the Maldive called tila (thila). Many dive sites have in its name the word, because Diving on the banks overgrown with corals and schools of fish population, is one of the most interesting, along with diving in the channels or on the mantle of shallow reef slopes PostScript points.
A small island occupied by luxury resort Coco Palm Kuda Hithi, only a few villas on the island.
The elder brother - Resort Coco Palm Budu Hidhi and unusual configuration in the form of 2 branches water bungalows extending from both ends of the island. Judging from the top view, as well as considering the proximity to the edge of the atoll and therefore better water clarity, in my opinion, this hotel is very, very good for those who like snorkeling and scuba diving on the house reef. As can be seen within the North Male Atoll, there is a very good options for accommodation and flight by seaplane is widely perceived as increases the cost of recreation component. Its cost from 400 to 550 dollars per person per raundtrip that with a budget hotel, for example, 3000 for a week for two, will give 30% to the cost of simply transfer by air. So what to do than removal, the more expensive.
Bungalows on the water. When the sea level rises meter and a half and all current land Maldives disappear under water, all the resorts will look like this - the water surface and numbers on a shallow reef.
We fly to the edge of the atoll. Surely a great dive site - a plateau reef as the angle at which you can stay and watch the sharks and fish clusters with good flow, and further along the wall in the drift dive in the channel.
Baa Atoll and is already one of the regional airports has recently put into operation - Dharavandhoo Airport. Inter-island aviation exists not only in the form of seaplanes for tourists between the atolls fly scheduled flights rather roomy aircraft (up to 50 people) and more profitable for the price - 50-150 dollars each way.
And here is an interesting picture - a beautiful lagoon with the famous Hanifaru deadlock channel formed by the exhaust portion of the reef, where the pop-up manta rays and whale sharks for eating plankton, whose concentration in the channel increases significantly in the season the south-east monsoon. I remember writing about this point in the article hits the mantle, since 2012 has any operator is not allowed to dive in this place, only snorkelling on conservative rules. In addition to the term faro, the Maldives is also present term lamp, which means land of the reef, so this is the HaniFaru and is seen in the photo as a small part of the reef system, serving on the surface.
The closest resort to Hanifaru - Kihaad Island Resort. Beautiful wide fringing reef island - an indicator that it is located in a favorable area for growth of coral atoll. Where the ocean water to eat better Atoll (typically from the outside), there are thicker and longer the reefs.
One of the islands, which is densely populated by locals. It seems only populated, too much greenery. In the background is similar in size faro reef, but without land. Such a contrast.
Two opposites of yin and yang - the sea and the reef, the more portion of the reef is exposed to wave breaking, the faster growing and restored it corals.
One of uninhabited islands on the outer boundary of the atoll. What was beautiful.
Of approach in the cockpit revival. Our island was the first, so with particular interest to look around his bird's-eye view.
Soft splashdown occurs near the island, depending on the direction of the waves and the wind, the captain chooses waters for planting and then drove up to the passenger terminal - a floating platform where tourists with luggage takes a boat resort.
Our smiling European capital - Bo Brownell (Training capitan). The co-pilot was a native of Maldives adopts experience. By law, businesses must attract a certain percentage of the local population, from 50-70% kind of like, well, a quota aircraft performed well.
Welcome to the Baa Atoll, the entire territory of which became part of the reserve and since June 2011 has the status of a biosphere under the auspices of UNESCO. Very serious internationally recognized status, involving high standards of protection of the waters in order to preserve the environment for future generations.
Just Welcome to Four Seasons Landaa Giravaru Resort - one of the premium hotels in the Maldives, I must say one of the best hotels.