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HJ and Pam's "Reasons to be cheerful, Part 15" 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:21 am Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6240
Location: Leeds, UK


FRIENDS REUNITED

First of all a HUUUGE hello to our chums mrsfella (Elli) and her husband, Frank, who we spent a really fun time with. We first met Elli and Frank briefly on their honeymoon two years ago at Meeru. Back then we only overlapped by a day or so and wished we had seen more of them. This time we had much more common time and we enjoyed their company tremendously. We kept an eye out for other forum people too. Sometimes they found us (hi, loobieloo!) and sometimes we found them (greetings jacquimark!). From the beginning I knew t2truth was on the island but sadly it was only towards the end of the holiday that we finally met her (real name Linda, along with her Stewart and daughter Jo). And that was thanks to t2truth's tracking skills I have to say; she'd worked out when we were having a Hot Rock meal. It was a pleasure to finally meet up with Linda and co. I'd be remiss in not mentioning another Linda we ran into as well, slinda, who we had met last year. We were also delighted to (re)discover two non-forum members we had first met in April 2008 namely the intrepid diver Paula and her lovely Mum, Sue. Paula had the rare privilege of diving with a Whaleshark back then. And so it was that the first thing Pam said to Paula was 'Whaleshark!' which in all other circumstances could be taken not entirely as a compliment Wink.




ROOMS WE STAYED IN

For the first few days we were in our usual area in a JLV, at room 655 to be precise. Then an opportunity arose, which we took, to upgrade to a Water Villa. So about 5 days in we moved across to our new residence, room 520. We were very impressed with our new home.


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One thing I hadn't previously appreciated about the Water Villas, at their Eastern side of island position, is that the beach areas between them get the Sun right up to and even beyond 4pm.




REGULAR RESTAURANT INDULGENCES

Like Alan Yates, I'm a fan of the marmalade puddings and chocolate steamed puddings too for that matter. We don't get these school dinner items at home! On Hungarian Night though we made a new discovery along similar lines. Coffee Dumplings with custard. Just gorgeous, lovely texture and taste with neat ‘sintered' tops. If you spot these, do try them, but please ensure you're wearing loose fitting clothes to begin with...

The waffle making machine was out for repair/replacement at the Maalan so Pam felt slightly bereft on this front but more than made up for it by converting to pancakes at breakfast. Better news for Farivalhu guests by the way. I checked. Your waffle iron is doing just fine right now!




A-LA-CARTE PLEASURES

We had two Asian Wok sessions and relished the spring rolls, tandoori chicken tikka, tandoori tiger prawns, and fresh ice creams that we ordered up during both of them. It was at the Wok that we toasted all our absent friends from the past and present.




HOT ROCK RESTAURANT REVIEW IS PENDING

As mentioned, we had a meal at Meeru's newest a-la-carte restaurant, the Hot Rock which is adjacent to the new infinity pool. My Pam has volunteered to write a small illustrated review of this great experience which blew away a few misconceptions I had about the venue and what it offers. This review will appear in due course.




OTHER ISLAND NEWS

The company that runs Meeru has now taken over (i.e. purchased) another resort island. It's called Vilamendhoo Island Resort, and it sits in the South Ari Atoll. The island is, I think, about 80 miles from Meeru or 50 miles in a south west direction from Male. The Vilamendhoo resort is undergoing change already, some staff sourced from Meeru are there now, and from April it will be shut down for a number of months to allow several hundred contractors to transform the island's facilities. It will be a major exercise this and it is hoped the work will be finished for the new season starting November 2010. Incidentally, I understand that this resort will be a seaplane only destination when it comes back on stream.




SPECIAL MENTIONS

As ever, the staff provided top level service at all levels. So our thanks go out to Walter the General Manager, Shaheen the new Sales and Marketing Manager, Nazeer who is Manager of Food and Beverages, Solah the Guest Services Manager, and everyone else who works so hard on Meeru to make things so easy for all the guests. Our room boy Rauf also did us proud and kept our Water Villa in fine fettle.




10 YEARS ON...STILL GOING...WHY?

It was in 2000 that we first went to Meeru, so on this trip both Pam and myself were drawn inevitably to thinking about why we keep returning there. The full explanation would take pages so we'll spare you that! The much shorter version would go something like ‘if you've found paradise why look elsewhere?'. In large part it's down to people, staff and guests both. In no small measure it's down to the environment too. Many people look to the Maldives simply for a 'Sun' holiday. It delivers that, but so much more too. We just adore all the many moods of the sea the sky and the creatures that inhabit the land and the ocean. We get as much thrill out of an approaching thunderstorm as well as any good sunset.




WEATHER REPORT AND OTHER THINGS

Initially at least, it was deja-vu all over again from last March. We had several electric storms in the night. At 2.40am on 14th March I dashed out to the beach, took this, and then fled back to my room!


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It was well I did as shortly afterwards the island got struck somewhere. The explosive sound woke practically everyone. Pam nearly fell out of bed. For a few days after, TV signals to many rooms were down and the Spa rooms temporarily lost their ambient music feeds.

By day there were one or two spectacular thunderstorms that rolled by but didn't really douse the island despite their threatening appearance. To be honest, I get the wow factor with these sights as much as any epic sunset.


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We did get the odd drop of rain though...and...here they are Wink. Nature's own lenses!


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After a day or so the Sun broke through in full force and soon evaporated all traces of the rain.


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Once a more settled regime took over, we had bright days and clear nights for the rest of the holiday.

It wasn't just us who were happy with the change in weather. "Mrsfella's fella", Frank, seemed well pleased with the conditions...


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Assorted pictures now follow. Starting with our immediate neighbour to our Water Villa ...


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One afternoon a ray nearly came right out of the water by our steps to show off his/her white spots on dark upper skin background and neat exact negative arrangement underneath...


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From our Water Villa decking we saw all sorts of wild life come by, including this (plover?) bird that always seemed to turn up at around sunset.


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There were frequent appearances of shoals of bait fish being herded and occasionally snapped up by groups of sharks. At one point I went in the water to follow them. And then one shark broke from the pack and hurled himself towards me...


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Happy to report I survived intact Smile! The shark stopped just short of me when it realised I had rather bigger feet than the heron he thought I might be. They're no threat at all to guests these animals. We're way, way, bigger than their normal morsels.

Both Pam and I took full advantage of the new infinity pool. It really is a huge success. At the very edge of the pool little water wavelets skeet over the crackle glazed tiles...


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If you hang off said edge of pool you will notice these two long trunked palm trees. Pam and myself called these the “Ostrich Feet” Laughing!


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Thanks to these two lasses below, it did not escape our attention that 17th March was St Patrick's Day Smile!


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By way of Main Reception one Sunday...


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I joined the people watching the Staff-v-Guests football match. As always it was hot work for both players and audience.


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At one stage I encountered a younger heron near the Overwater Spa. I can't help thinking this might be one of the baby birds we saw last time we were on Meeru.


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It had a keen interest in the 'fish slick' of bait fish swirling around the feet of the Overwater Spa (the bird is in the shadow of the jetty in this shot below carefully eyeing up the little fish).


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Two things make you squint on arrival in the Maldives. First the light is so bright, and secondly everything is so very colourful.


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Mind you, when the light dims it can stay pretty colourful too. Below, some breeze blocks are being unloaded at the jetty. Right in among the existing staff accommodation several staff rooms are being built (as such there is zero noise impact on guests I am pleased to report).


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There was other ‘housing activity' going on if you looked for it though. I caught these three hermit crabs below in the middle of a complicated transaction. What you see here is two larger hermit crabs tussling over a new prospective shell. The smallest hermit crab, with the black and white shell is keeping a careful eye out for any spare residence left over. The perils of house moves...Rolling Eyes


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Spotting wildlife becomes easier with practice. You just need to keep an eye out and get to know the signs. For example, below left is trace of 'Human', and to the right is a sure sign a Heron has passed by Wink!

...

There's always some sort of photo opportunity at the main jetty if you look for it...


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We're coming to the end now (still hanging in there are you? Well done!). Here's a dreamy west beach view to help stay warm with through the rest of the poor winter we've been having in the UK.


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For the camera nerds hereabouts, I used a tripod for the above and a long (6 second) exposure. The long exposure was achieved with help from a neutral density filter, and the length of exposure made the sea super-wispy by ironing out all the wave motion.

Well that's all for now. Time for me, the 'Man-In-The-Sand' below, to sign off on this trip report.


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Thanks for reading this.


Best wishes to all Cool


HJ and Pam


Last edited by Humble Jim on Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:58 am Reply with quote
helenpea
Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 1133
Location: Cleveland
Hi HJ

Sounds like you had another wonderful holiday. Pics (which I'd really been looking forward to) as usual did not disappoint. It really brings it all back.

I think the little bird (the plover) is the same one that visited us on each of our 3 stays in the WV's. He used to turn up most evenings and we nicknamed him Stumpy as one of his little feet seemed a bit deformed and he hobbled along the waters edge. The wildlife is so varied and always something going on to keep you amused.

Love to Pam

Helen & Glenn Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:02 pm Reply with quote
maria & mike
Joined: 01 Jun 2008
Posts: 106
Location: Devon
Absolutely fabulous trip report HJ!

Your piccies are just mesmorising...really like the rain drops ones, especially! Shocked

Looking forward to Pams report on the new Hot Rocks restaurant, would like to give this a try when we go again in June.

Thanks for all your import, it really does help! Wink

Maria & Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Freckles
Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 473
Location: Shropshire
Great trip report HJ, fantastic pictures - you never disappoint. Looking foward to Pam's report on Hot Rocks.

We won't be going back to Meeru this year but hopefully we'll bump into you again next year.

Ellen & Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Billy
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 790
Jim

Just viewed your pictures on this thread. Better than some in professional magazines. Now that is a compliment unless you do it for a livelihood. lol Laughing

The art seems to be just to get that additional element from a photo or to see it through a different predictable angle or view. The close ups are top draw.


May a take a few?.

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HJ's trip report and wonderful pictures 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Meeru Dreamer
Joined: 29 Oct 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Oxted, UK
Thank you HJ for your report and brilliant photos.

It is always a special treat to see the pictures you post and it has made my day!

So pleased that you had a great holiday.

Jill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:15 pm Reply with quote
helen m
Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 633
Location: Liverpool
Great report and wonderful pictures as always!
Thanks HJ.
Looking forward to Pam's restaurant review.
Helen

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:18 pm Reply with quote
Steve from Durham
Site Admin
Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6098
Location: Lancashire.
James

great piccies as usuall,

glad Pam is going to do the report on the hot rock, we have been busy with family having a heart bypass & other surgery, we have not had the time to do one.

steve
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:54 pm Reply with quote
Haggis slayer
Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 235
Location: Elgin Scotland
Hi Jim

Thanks for a great report. I love the raindrop photos!

Julie
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:25 pm Reply with quote
alan.yates
Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 1099
Location: worcester england
Great report James, and wonderful images once again. Love the stormy sky ones but my particular fave is the long exposure west beach one..superb.

How many helpings of the Marmalade Sponge did you manage??
Tell Pam to hurry with the Hot Rocks notes!

Best wishes
Joyce & Alan

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:41 pm Reply with quote
Bobby
Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 133
Location: Clacton on Sea
knew you were back and have been keeping our eyes open for your report and especially your pictures, and as always it doesn't disappoint. Your photography is incredible Very Happy Cant wait for Pams trip report either. We have been back since beginning of March and still haven't had time to do one, Sad yes we are holding our heads in shame but have had a few setbacks since getting home. Thanks Jim for sharing these - awesome Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:51 pm Reply with quote
madmalteaser
Joined: 13 Mar 2010
Posts: 89
Location: Essex
I'm pretty new to the board so this is the first time I've seen one of your trip reports and can I just say, your photographs are incredible! As a budding amateur I'm intrigued to know how you achieved such amazing photographs. What do you shoot with? And what other equipment would you recommend taking to Meeru for a learner like me to achieve similar results?

I only plan to go to Meeru the once so I would love to come back with some photographs even half as good as these ones. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:24 pm Reply with quote
Mark Jones
Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 3559
Lovely photos james, you capture Meeru so well.

Glad you had a good time again and long may it continue.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:27 pm Reply with quote
sams
Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1635
Location: Scotland
WOW “Man-In-The-Sand”, that has to be my favourite set of photos yet. I love the one with the sharks, not forgetting the one taken from the front of the water villa, which is the view we are so looking forward to this October.

The trip report as usual is top notch, thank you Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:11 pm Reply with quote
1ee
Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Posts: 175
Jim

Got to say, those were the best images yet thumright simply stunning!

Which lens did you use for the water droplets?

Lee Razz
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HJ and Pam's "Reasons to be cheerful, Part 15" 
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