12 April 2012, Gail’s trip log

Had a wonderful day in the Maldives. It has been a dream of Dan’s to go to the Maldives and swim (well, paddle around) in the beautiful warm waters. He just posted pictures of our visit here and the first one is of him doing just that. As we approached Male – the capital – we watched planes – some pretty big – land on an adjacent island. The main island is very flat and nothing but city – no beaches. This country of over 17,000 islands is over 95 percent Sunni Muslim. Huge golden dome of mosque very visible. At 600 pm we were back on board and Dan was taking sunset pictures from our balcony and we could suddenly hear a broadcast that we decided must be a call to prayer, just as the sun dipped into the water. A few minutes later that was verified when we could hear loud prayers coming from the mosque and other speakers. Kind of really brought home where we were and how immersed in the culture. [At the first the call to prayer seemed strange, but then realized that it is no different than our church bells on Sunday mornings – Dan]

Anyway, in the morning we went ashore on one of the first tenders and immediately boarded a smaller boat that took our tour group of about 75 out to the uninhabited island of Kudo Bandos – the trip took about 45 minutes. We had about 2 ½ hours on the island to do whatever we wanted. The water was the most incredible shades of blue and turquoise. As our “port specialist” Petra had said – like a Tiffany box. I’m not that familiar with a Tiffany box, but the blues, greens and turquoises were truly spectacular. I decided not to rent snorkel equipment – I didn’t feel I could swim out to the reef and back for sure. Anyway, I’ve done snorkeling in many beautiful areas. We just played in the water and then sat in the shade and visited. Petra, the port guide, Father Bill, the Catholic priest, and the Captain’s beautiful wife and little boy were all on our tour. We could see lightning in the distance as we were coming back, but it did not rain on us. I went right back to the ship on the tender and Dan stayed for a while on Male to buy a shirt, hat, and some postcards. When Dan came back, we discussed adding a 2nd tour in Dubai since we will be there overnight. He went down to the tour desk to make the reservations. When he came back an hour later he had also gone to the ship’s doctor to have his persistent cough checked out. They gave him five days of prednisone to help open him up and kick the cough. But his blood pressure, O2sat, and everything else is fine. Just a tight chest, no infection. I’m really glad he went since he has been really dragging and has had trouble sleeping because of the cough. So, all is well. Went to the buffet for quick dinner and I will crash soon. It is 900 and we were supposed to sail at 600. I assume we will soon.

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