Club Med Kani offers a peaceful paradise in the Maldives

Friday, 21 November 2008 20:45

As reported on: news.com.au

Breathe in the fresh air, a mix of humid equatorial heat and salty sea spray, and look across the shallow blue water of the lagoon to the deep indigo of the Indian Ocean stretching to the horizon.

Walk down the timber steps to a private swimming platform, then down the short ladder and slip into the still water of the lagoon.

Tropical fish of all shapes and sizes swim around, not at all disturbed when you slide below the surface, and the temperature of the water is perfect.

This is the morning routine that awaits you in the Maldives at one of Club Med Kani's luxurious bungalows.

Club Med Kani is a 40-minute boat ride from the Maldives' capital of Male and a 30-minute hop from the airport island of Hulhumale where one of the resort's super-fast vessels will meet you at the door of the terminal.

From dawn to dusk you can enjoy the dozens of activities that are run by the resort's friendly team of GOs – general organisers – from stretching at sunrise and yoga at sunset to water aerobics, beach volleyball, kayaking, sailing, snorkelling, scuba-diving and deep-sea fishing.

While it would be easy to spend all your time on Kanifinholu Island, there are lots of options to get out and see more of this Indian Ocean destination that's made up of 1190 islands and 26 atolls.

The Maldives are famous as a dive location but if you don't want to scuba, and are keen to get your head under the water to look at life beneath the waves, you can join one of the half-day snorkelling cruises.

Club Med Kani has access to a couple of dozen snorkelling locations and the experienced staff will pick a few sites to visit depending on the weather and the currents.

This is the home of the Male Express, a powerful ocean current, and surfers are told not to paddle between islands because they could end up a couple of kilometres from their intended destination if they're swept up.

It's a surprise, when you're cruising along in a speedboat, to stop in what appears to be the middle of nowhere, but your guide knows that this seemingly random patch of blue is right beside a deep ocean ditch where tropical fish graze on a coral reef.

Jump off the boat, adjust your goggles and slip into the silence below the surface. Schools of tropical fish as colourful as neon signs are comfortable with their human companions.

Another excursion is a visit to the Blue Lagoon – a patch of white sand that rises out of the ocean just enough to walk on and is surrounded by a calm stretch of azure water that's protected by a distant reef.

The boat backs right up to the island and it's only a couple of steps in the shallows until you're on a feature that isn't much more than a sandbank and there's nothing to do but float in the quiet water or sit in the lapping waves near the beach.

Another outing gives you the chance to visit Male and see a slice of life in this Muslim country which survives on fishing and tourism.

The capital city looks like a movie set, with highrise buildings coming right to the edge of the island, and the city feels like it's about to burst at the seams with more than 80,000 people living on a pint-sized patch of land.

An afternoon is more than enough time to visit the attractions, have a meal, and do some tourist shopping.

Make sure you visit the Grand Friday Mosque – with its walls built from carved coral blocks – the busy fish and produce markets, the always hectic fishing harbour and the National Museum in the Sultan's Gardens.

Essentials
The Maldives is in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka. Singapore Air (www.singapore air.com) flies between Brisbane and Male, with a stop in Singapore, every day of the week.

Vlub Med Kani (www.clubmed.com.au) is on the island of Kanifinholu, which is 20km from Male, and a speedboat will meet your flight and finish the journey to the resort.

The writer was a guest of Club Med.

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