Stuck on an island in the Maldives during Covid-19
A holiday extension in the Maldives due to circumstances out of your control sounds like everyone’s dream. Some guests and staff were in fact really stuck on an island in the Maldives during Covid-19. Here is our story:
By the end of March most guests had left. In the beginning of April the arrival of 11 Russian guests surprised us. Their resort had closed its doors before the guests international departure flight. Later on a Russian family of 5 came to stay for a week. With special permission from the government some tourists could still change resorts.
Today we still have 4 guests from Algeria, Jordania and Russia who have been with us since March. It looks like they are not suffering at all. The Bodu Beru evening on Friday nights is cancelled but the beach party every Sunday is still going ahead! The kids club is closed but spa treatments are available, the bar is open and the guests are being served the meals in their rooms.
- Oleg was the first of us to leave the 27th of March 2020 on a flight with a 16 hour waiting period in the cozy transit area of Moscow airport. Once in Belarus he had to self-isolate at home for 2 weeks.
- Ariana’s departed for New Zealand on 21st of April 2020 was on a flight 3 times the price then her arrival flight. For her 18 hour layover in Sydney she luckily could get a hotel room. The following 2 week quarantine in an Auckland was sponsored by the New Zealand government.
- Bonnie, after buying her 3rd ticket, left on 15th of May 2020. In conjunction the Malaysian and Taiwanese governments organized this repatriation flight. About 30 Taiwanese and 70 Malaysian passengers were on this Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur. The Taiwanese government sponsored her 2 week quarantine in Taipei.
- Gianluca is from a region in Italy which was worst hit by the outbreak. He is waiting until it will be easier to travel from the airport to his hometown.
- Jörg, Marcela, Marc and Petra are also waiting for travel restrictions to be relaxed. As it stands now they would have to split up and each would have to travel to their home country separately.
We would love to take our 4 guests diving but they are not divers and are conscious about spending extra money.
- Renovation – some features about the dive centre building have always bothered us and now we have the time to fix it. For weeks we have been busy renovating. At the end we should be awarded carpentry diplomas. We are stripping paint, sanding and varnishing wooden furniture, windows and doors. The reception area needed a new coat of paint and in the equipment room we are removing the wood skirting board, replacing it with tiels. Once completed, we will take another look at the dive centre to see what else needs renovation. A big thank you to the professional carpenters of the island who made a new entrance door with windows and a new louvered door for our equipment room.
- Rising Water Temperatures – every Sunday we dive the house reef to record the water temperature. We check if and how the predicted bleaching event is affecting our reef. We will update you on our findings in a separate blog.
- Power Point Marine Life Presentation – we have split our educational Coral Reef Life and Manta Ray presentations in several shorter sections. We recorded them and are posting them weekly on our Facebook page and as well as on our YouTube channel.
- Sport – Top of the list are swimming, snorkelling, diving, running, yoga, play tennis, squash, kite surfing and the guys from Bangladesh and India play cricket.
- Photography – We get up at night to take pictures of the milky way or we take time-lapse shots of hermit crabs, beetles and sunsets. For the perfect picture we stalk herons, bats and baby sharks in the lagoon. On calm days we take split pictures half below and half above water. This breath-hold diving underwater photo shoot in the pool is our latest idea, we are sure you will be keen to try it. Check out the sample picture in this blog and tell us if you like it.
- And More – Listening to pod casts, reading, calling friends and family, using language learning apps and beach clean ups are also on our agenda. For a while we had the dream of going surfing or diving in another Atoll but then Covid-19 cases in Male increased and a lock-down was imposed. There are no more flights, no more transfers and no more dive boats around. It is eerily quiet here.
Every morning from 9:00 – 12:00 the power in the staff area is turned off to save generator fuel. As everyone is busy working outside the staff area anyway this suits us just fine. About 200 staff from countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are still on the island. We are eating all together in the staff cantine.
On 23rd of April the fasting month of Ramadan started. Many employees are Muslims who only eat after the sun has set. As the only 5 Europeans from the dive centre, the food is quite a change for our European palate. We supplement our diet with snacks from the staff shop who has now run out of Magnum Almond and Classic ice crème. Who knows when it will be restocked.
NO COVID-19 UNDER WATER
Kihaa Maldives and Brennia Kottefaru are both Covid-19 free resorts. Our hope was to welcome you back in July when our manta season is in full swing. With each passing day it seems more likely that we have to wait for you a bit longer. It is now mid-May and we will be here for a while longer. We will be happy to update you with another ‘Stuck on an island in the Maldives during Covid-19’ blog in the coming weeks.
Stay safe and see you soon!