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HJ and Pam's island adventures... 
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:34 am Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6240
Location: Leeds, UK
I'm making this into a pseudo diary type report as it's a style I've not tried before but seen done and thought effective.

Remember that if you want to look at larger versions of images than those displayed in this post then click any of the links that you may see provided below some of the photos. Understand that "original size" will load very large versions indeed (so avoid if on a slow connection).

It's a longish affair this text, so maybe get yourself a drink before venturing further !


Thursday 15th October
=================
After 18 months away from Meeru we are finally at Manchester for an easy check in at the Emirates desk. But we'd managed to hit Training Day at security which meant it took over half an hour to just get our hand luggage cleared. Tried to be understanding about the experience - these guys are looking after your security after all looking for explosive materials, weapons, etc.

Had plenty of time in Duty Free even so, and eventually boarded the A380 waiting for us for the leg to Dubai which was mostly a night flight, both hitch and turbulence free.


Friday 16th October
===============
A word or two about the Airbus A380, which was a first for us to fly on. It's an impressive plane of course, truly massive and bristling underneath with technological and engineering wonderfulness but when you plonk yourselves down into your economy seat you realise...it's still just economy, though in the context of Emirates a most comfortable one.

We had passed the grand staircase to the posh upstairs as we entered the plane and thought about what it was like up there. Later I did similar in the flight when I went to the back of the plane and saw the large fancy spiral staircase there. Access was barred off with one of those fancy twisty rope affairs with polished metal ends. I did lean across as far as I could to listen to noises coming down from the top deck. An odd sound but I worked out what it was. Yes, and remember you read it here, they clearly have a squash court up there Razz.

We were on a smaller Boeing 777 for the journey to Male. It was the most uncrowded plane I've ever been on. 15% loading at most? Everyone could have had three seats to themselves with loads to spare. Emirates are serving the Maldives 4 times a day now compared to just once a day of a year or so back.

At Male we were a thin grouping going to Meeru too. Just one other couple and us. So a small speedboat and calm sea meant a refreshing and restorative journey to Meeru. By the time we put paw to the new jetty all the airline cobwebs were blown away though we were still tired.

We arrived into room JBV 653. Home at last Very Happy!


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Saturday 17th October
=================
Phew. Wot a scorcher. It was hot,hot hot. Winds are stalling. Ocean turning to glass. Is this the change of prevailing wind about to happen? Worth a stroll to the beach.


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Pam and I have a policy of taking Day 1 always at a slooow pace. This speeds up acclimatisation in the longer run. We always watch our pace and watch our Sun exposure in the first hours.

We had one hard fixture that first day and that was the Lobster and Seafood Beach Dinner. I did a separate report on that in the General Meeru Discussion section of the forum HERE.


Sunday 18th October
===================
Oh my. The sea has almost stopped moving Shocked. It looks like a lake but that's the Indian Ocean out there!


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Clear sky. Still air. Blazing Sun. One can only imagine the amount of energy being pumped into the sea and hence into the upcoming weather at the moment. High clouds developed through the day which became increasingly overcast. Storms must surely follow.

Pam had a "Head Neck and Shoulders" massage which did great things for her.


Monday 19th October
===================
All aboard the new Hagern for a cruise accompanied by Simon and Sharon, a.k.a. IvorFatArse on the forum, who we knew from previous visits and who we synced our holidays with. I picked up that eleven couples were boarding. The thought occurred that we might feel a bit crowded on board but no it turned out not to be the case at all; the Hagern has acres of space on board to accommodate 22 guests plus supporting crew.

The business of getting to the Hagern in the first place was interesting. The heavens opened just before we left Reception to board the dhoni transfer boat to the Hagern.

And then I suffered a small "costume failure"; my left sandal fell apart as we boarded the dhoni. I therefore resolved to go entirely "no shoes" for the rest of our stay. I had trainers but those I only use for travel into and out of the country. My fallback option was I could always wear my coral shoes which work as well on land as in water. As it turned out I never needed to depart from bare soles, which eventually ended up beautifully smooth.

There's something liberating about being in bare feet. You have to be careful in a few locations on the island such as where vehicles have compacted the sand and where a nick from a stray piece of coral might occur, but after a short while you realise just how brilliant it feels to be so connected to the Earth.

The day we boarded the Hagern might have started soggy but there was a pretty ending to it...


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Night fishing that first evening on the Hagern resulted in...no results on my part. Best memory of today was snorkelling off a sand bank and I was so thrilled to be staring at the glorious scenery that lurks below the waves here.

In my mind's eye I briefly pretended to be the astronaut I never was when I swam over the "drop off", where the sea floor falls away to the deep. I'm sure real astronauts get a bigger thrill but I'm sure they could relate to my feeling of being suspended in space looking down on a blue green world...


Tuesday 20th October
====================
Off to Kagi island. Waived off snorkelling today to be with Pam on the Hagern who doesn't like sea swimming. But even from the vantage point of the boat wildlife came visiting. Who's to know, but this looked like Mum And Daughter somehow.



Night fishing this night was very, very eventful. I caught a couple of fish then Simon caught a good size White Snapper which when he brought it up had been bitten cleanly in half while being retrieved. This photo of it taken from a phone.



Made you wonder what had done that Shocked. Clearly something else was fishing that night. The young German behind me who had witnessed the same thing shook his head and muttered "Man, that is SO weird!". Minutes later the perpetrator was revealed.

One of the staff caught a large shark, who properly did not attempt to land it but just release the beast as per Maldives shark protection law.


Wednesday 21st October
======================
I've decided that Suresh, our barman on the Hagern, is the best barman I've encountered at sea. He proudly wears an 8 years at Meeru badge. He's also a good friend of Yovan (of Uthuru fame but currently based at the Dhoni bar) and hails from the same part of the world as him.

This is a picture of Suresh along with our good friend Simon, the fisherman who fishes for half-fishes Laughing!



Simon also developed a new way of using Nutella on the Hagern. Yes, this really is Nutella on fresh pineapple...yum..maybe...!




We tipped the crew of the Hagern, who were all brilliant, when we left it. Incidentally, and in case you were wondering, the way tipping works on the cruises is this. If you want to leave a tip at the end of the trip then leave it with the Captain. He will distribute among the crew. Amount?

Entirely to you if you want to tip or not, but we felt we had been treated exceptionally well and passed $50 to the Captain. He's easy to identify as he's the only crew member with epaulettes on his shoulders.




Back to Meeru and homed to a new room, a brand new room in fact. We are fortunate to be given a newly refreshed Water Villa, room 509. Again, I did a separate report on that in the General Meeru Discussion section so I'll not repeat any words around that here.


Thursday 22nd October
=====================
Developed something of an ear ache overnight. No it wasn't Pam (ducks!). Turned out that despite best efforts to clear out my ears with fresh water after snorkelling my right ear is throbbing. In retrospect using swimming ear plugs would have been a good way to go.

So I popped down to the on-island clinic and saw the doctor. He has an excellent manner Dr Mohammed, and very reassuring. For the infection and accompanying inflammation I was prescribed some antibiotics, eardrops, painkillers, and some anti-inflammatory pills. For all that, inc. consultation, I was charged $55. I reckoned that was about as cheap, or better, than NHS prescription charges equivalent. Won't be true if you are exempt from NHS charges of course but my point is that if things do go awry health wise while you're on Meeru then don't worry about the business of seeking medical attention there. You should never delay seeking medical advice as infection of any variety in the tropics can develop really, really, quickly and you want to minimize any downtime as it's also worth remembering that it doesn't cost a trivial amount per day to just be on Meeru.

I would add as a post script to this part of our story that the doctor said that if my poorly ear wasn't improving in a day or two then to come back to him (the consultation also would be free if such circumstances applied).

So I rested this day and kept myself essentially detained to the magnificent room we're in. It was beautifully sunny outside which made me a tad sorry for myself but I read a real book right though for the first time in ages. I had forgotten the fun in that I realised.


Friday 23rd October
===================
Ear issue caused me to lay low today as well. First time I can remember that I didn't take a single photo during on a day on Meeru but I was still in reading heaven getting deep into another book by Anne McCaffrey, one of my favourite sci-fi/fantasy writers.


Saturday 24th October
=====================
The Doc's remedy starting to cut in today so ventured out to watch the Hagern come in to dock at the main jetty (the sea having risen enough to allow her to do that safely).


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I also watched the next 11 couples board and saw them sail off to their own special adventures. Incidentally we noticed offers for cruises were on for the Kamana (see below) too. A very good alternative to the Hagern; each boat is superlative in their own ways.


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You may or may not know that Saturday is "ice cream night" in the main restaurants and somehow ice cream + the tropics makes for an exquisite eating experience. I've noticed that chocolate and often strawberry sauces are available most evenings too. It may be Hershey's as we met that brand on the Hagern.

The Chief Chef person behind the catering you'll encounter all over Meeru is Ronaldo (from Scotland), and I was pleased to be able to meet and chat with him.


Sunday 25th October
===================

Hearing's come fully back to my ear. Hooray!

Pam had Reflexology at the Spa today. An interesting episode unfolded almost as soon as she headed off there. I got a phone call to the room from a Meeru staff member asking if they could show round some potential clients (from the travel industry) and would it be OK to do that now. Ours was currently the only room available they could do this with. So as fast as lightning I turned our...ahem... "homely arrangement of our stuff around in the room" into something as close as I could contrive as a rudimentary "show home".

Everyone seemed pleased with what they saw and heard.

Asian Wok night. An oh-so-special-special one too, a deferred celebration meal for my Pam's 60th. Top, top nosh as ever, Pam treated herself to a beautiful lobster meal and I had Tandoori Chiken Tikka as main.

Now the Weather became pretty violent as the dinner progressed; in fact I've never seen the sea rage as much before from the Wok viewpoint. Had a thought that guests on the Hagern out there in the North Male Atoll somewhere would be experiencing some interesting motions. But it was also possible that the Captain would have simply have moved away from the storm (an option not available to a fixed island!).

In addition to our foody fun we had the pleasure of encountering Deb and Mark and family at the Wok too. We had no room for dessert ourselves but on leaving the restaurant I think I heard that their children had deep fried ice cream...(note to self to check that out at some future point!).


Monday 26th October
===================

Chilled out at the west side pool in the morning and went about taking some photos. Pretty overcast for most of the day but the sea that was initially racing still from the previous evening had died down some. But the wind was still a challenge even for the most athletic bat...



Though still cloudy by the end of the afternoon, we didn't cancel the Sunset Punch Cruise we were booked on even though the option was offered. So glad we didn't call off as we were rewarded with multiple displays of playful dolphins.


Tuesday 27th October
====================

Good clear start to the day and, as so often happens, no evidence at all of the previous days' poor weather around. Made us very optimistic that the Full Moon Dinner would go off tonight, which it did to great effect as it turned out. Some cloud cover built up over the day but fell away with the fading of light.

In the morning I noticed a good sharkey display around the struts of the main jetty. It's interesting how they do this "herding" of their prey these reef sharks. Their big cousins, Great Whites, do exactly the same with enormous shoals of sardines off South Africa (i.e. both hunters and prey behaviour all the same but scaled up in size).


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Rest of Restful Days
====================

The remaining part of the holiday was taken at a very leisurely place. After my ear issue it was recommended I didn't sea-swim on this particular trip anymore so we both swam and lounged around in both pools and generally completely chilled out. We also invited Simon and Sharon to our room for a glass of sparkly and look-see about the new Water Villa shortly before they headed to home. They had something of an adventure getting back to the airport when they left the island...but I'll let them tell you about that!

To finish, here's a random collection of photos taken around the island starting off in the immediate vicinity of my favourite tipple in the tropics...a ginger ale and ice!




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To all those friends who've we've come to know at Meeru, both those who live in the Maldives or who are based in the UK, thank you for making our holiday so very special.

And see you soon...Cool

HJ and Pam


[Edited to correct some grammar and small typos]


Last edited by Humble Jim on Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:02 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:54 am Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 547
Location: stafford
Hi HJ
Thanks for posting. Sounds like you had a fab time. Sorry to read about the ear infection. I too obsess about cleaning my ears out. So far I've been lucky but you do overhear many conversations about ear infections. Doesn't sound like it dampened your experience too much
Regards
Jo

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:03 am Reply with quote
Ian & Jo
Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 343
Thanks for posting, a great read on a cold Sunday morning.

Ian

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:10 pm Reply with quote
Jen
Joined: 01 Nov 2005
Posts: 365
Location: N.E.Lincs
Ooh yes this is what I have been waiting for, thank you. I'll get a coffee and read it now !

Jen
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:24 pm Reply with quote
SUEC
Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 100
Location: Chester
Many thanks for your lovely trip report, I have been waiting for this as I knew you would have some great photos and you haven't disappointed me. It was especially poignant as my husband and I were due to there the same time as you but 3 days before we were due to fly he was taken ill and we had to cancel. He's ok now and we have had the cheque off the insurance company - yippee, so looking to book again soon.

Just reading your report was like we had been there - thank you

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:44 pm Reply with quote
Shanksy
Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 1503
Location: GLASGOW
Thanks again so much for taking the time and effort to post, you took us all back there for a few minutes Cool

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Jen
Joined: 01 Nov 2005
Posts: 365
Location: N.E.Lincs
Great report as usual...upped the excitement a few knotches. Thank you.

Jen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:15 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1499
Location: Cumbria
Top report HJ thumright
Regarding the upper level on the Emirates A380...a 2 class configuration will start from Jan 2016 from Manchester on EK19 / 20 (until end of March 2016 at present) so this means a number of economy seats will be up the stairs to the front with business at the rear with the bar area. No first class.

Quality pics as usual and well documented Very Happy

Casey Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:20 pm Reply with quote
sams
Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1635
Location: Scotland
As always a very interesting and informative report, with great photos.

Thanks HJ sunny

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:43 pm Reply with quote
rickc
Joined: 12 Jan 2010
Posts: 338
Well worth waiting for HJ, as usual. Thanks for taking the trouble. This forum was well represented during your stay !
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:44 pm Reply with quote
Ann & Forbes
Joined: 01 Jan 2010
Posts: 272
Location: Jersey
Really enjoyed your report H J and as always some brilliant pics. Sounds as if you had another fantastic holiday.
Thanks for sharing.
Ann Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:19 pm Reply with quote
Ian&Deb
Joined: 04 Nov 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Rotherham
Great report, hope we have as good and relaxing time as yourself when we get there this weekend.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:23 am Reply with quote
camwil
Joined: 02 Apr 2012
Posts: 153
HI Glad you had a great time ear apart but photos especially the feeding sharks were superb as usual.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:59 pm Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6240
Location: Leeds, UK
Hi camwil, I recall you asking about the new diving regime at Meeru (Ocean Pro no longer being present).

Although I couldn't find anyone to directly compare between Ocean Pro and Euro Divers the new operation resembles closely the old, with the excursions / courses all looking familiar along with the hiring facilities too. I'm not a diver but I did do some Ocean Pro trips in the past on the snorkelling front. I spotted that Euro Divers run a two reef snorkelling trip as Ocean Pro did for example.

Didn't partake in any Euro Divers hosted activity this time so can't really comment much more on it or the personnel involved in the operation. Perhaps someone else on the forum can discuss their experience with Euro Divers.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:12 pm Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
Hi Jim/Pam. I always pop in here from time to time as Meeru was my first experience of the Maldives & it was also where I met you for the first time.

A great read & brilliant Photo's as always.

Hope you & Pam are both well. Best wishes (and hugs & kisses) to Pam & hope you both have a wonderful Xmas & HNY.

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