The Maldives II – Welcome to Dhiffushi

08.02. – 09.02.2019

After getting shocked that that we once again got cancelled we both ended up in a private speed boat from Humhumale to Dhiffushi. With all the bad luck we had so far I was just happy to be on a boat and getting to an island so our holiday could really start.

It was actually nice to sit back and enjoy the fresh air on the ocean while we rode through the smaller waves – at least one of us enjoyed it. The other person tried not to pay too much attention to the waves. It was a 45 minutes ride and we passed couple of private islands – and I must admit seeing the water bungalows with direct access to the sea looked very tempting. Maybe something for a return trip. You can dream I guess!!!

Just before 5pm we finally made it – we arrived at the island. And I liked what I saw. We passed a beautiful beach on the northern side – opposite the private Meruu island Resort. And the brilliant blue water was just stunning. Oh, I got happier by the minute.

Arriving in the little bay where the harbour is located Melisa from Ohana Guesthouse was already waiting for us with the electronic buggy to bring us to our home for the next 5 nights. I must admit I was happy that I did not had to roll our suitcase and hand luggage to the guesthouse. But then it turned out that it the guesthouse was only 2 minutes away from the boat. I think even I would still have managed that.

I spoke to Melisa a bit before booking our room at Ohana Maldives earlier that day, without checking reviews. I kind of relied on the information the receptionist at Osmium Hotel received from his friend at the island (he actually worked there before moving to Humhumale). So I was not sure what to expect. But the first impression was good. And it was not just the first impression – it was a nice place to stay for the following 5 nights. Here is my full review of Ohana.

During check-in we got all the relevant information about the island, the activities offered and where to eat. All you need to know for this stay. And we booked a trip to the sandbank for the next morning. Why not starting with the excursions here. Then it was time for checking the room and freshen up before going out to enjoy a bit of the sunset.

Well – Dhiffushi is actually not a very large island. Using the word large in any way might be an overstatement. It is actually only 200m wide (and nearly 1km long), so while it was only a few minutes to the hotel from the east side of the island, it was less than a minute to the west side of the guesthouse. The beach there is rather narrow with only s small section of sand and a bit of garbage. But the water there was still very blue, and with the palm trees along the beach it was a rather peaceful place to watch the sunset.

It was also a good spot to take a few photos of us – and only when checking the photos I noticed something on the palm tree behind us. Looking up and we saw a beautiful heron, probably watching us and thinking what these crazy two legged people were doing. After a few minutes we all watching each other it had enough and flew away into the sunset – but not before catching a fish in front of us. Now that was a nice way to start the evening.

Being such a small island there are not too many food places and restaurants. Melisa suggested either a small café next to the pier or heading to Cafe 420 at the northern beach. We headed first to the local café but we were not sure if they still served food so we walked the path up to the north, getting the first impression of the island. I spotted one or two nice looking hotels as well, but I was nit sure if they serve food for outside guests. Besides, soon enough we arrived at Cafe 420. It is bar / restaurant next to the beach offering seats inside or on the beach. Well, if you have the choice getting a table on the beach next to the ocean is always the preferred option. There was some gas lanterns to provide some lights, which added to the relaxed atmosphere with our feet resting in the soft sand and hearing the waves of the ocean next to us. For me it was love at first sight….

To my surprise the menu did not include any seafood or fresh fish. Maybe I am spoiled from Vietnam where you get these items everywhere near the coast line. But apparently not here. So we just got fried rice and I chosen one of the more local dishes containing rice, roshi  (local chapati) and chicken. I really enjoyed my dish – it clearly had an Indian touch to it which i like. The rice was good – but maybe nothing special. While the food was good, the overall setting here was amazing. We spent quite some time at this place….

As we did not know any other way on this huge island we headed back the same way we arrived – and saw a few tourists standing next to the water next to Ranauraa Inn. A bit curious we joined them and realised why they stood there. Some lamp posts provided lights at the shallow water and attracted some fish to the shore. Including a stingray. My GF has never seen a stingray before so obviously she was rather excited to see one straight at our first night here. I was very happy as well I must admit. We waited here for a while and saw more fish – and I am pretty sure we saw a small shark at the edge of the light – it was certainly a rather big fish. But I cannot be sure. So our first full day on the Maldives finished on a high.

The next day started around 8am. Departure for the trip to the sandbank was around 9am and 9:30. So our bags needed to be packed and of course we enjoyed our first breakfast. The guesthouse offered two types of breakfast. Unfortunately you cannot choose in the morning and we both got the continental breakfast with chicken sausage, eggs, bread and jam and Nutella served. I would have preferred getting at least one Maldives breakfast, but this is not how it worked there. If it is not stated the day before the breakfast for the room gets changed every day. So I had to wait for the Maldives breakfast…

And then it was time to go to the boat – joined by a family from the guesthouse. I was actually looking forward to our first trip here. A sandbank sounds exciting – or maybe it is just me. It took around 20 minutes or so to get there – but the journey was nice enough. The water was so clear, so blue – just stunning. The downside – there was no clear sky. So with a cloudy sky the impact of the water was not as great as it could have been. The upside was – it was not as hot as it could have been.

The sandbank we arrived at was rather small. A small sandbank in the ocean. I loved it. The guesthouse provided one parasol for everyone – but that’s it. Other tours got some cold water etc., but it seems we did not receive such luxury.

We explored the whole area straight away – which did not take long. Though we enjoyed the soft, white sand under our feet – and the contrast between the beach and the blue sea. Obviously, it is a great place to take some photos. While we did this we saw one of the other guides suddenly carrying something out of the water. He caught an octopus with his hand. Now that is impressive. It was rather interesting to see a living octopus so close – and even able to catch it. Nice one!

If you do not want to get a tan the best activity to do is snorkelling. The sandbank has a rather nice reef to explore – with plenty of fish even close to the shore. So even for an inexperienced person it was possible to see lots of colourful fish or large sea cucumber. The corals itself were OK, though it looks not in as good condition like in the red sea (certainly not that colourful). The reef, however, was rather large and you could follow it in a circle to the separate section of the sandbank, that disappears during high tide. While the two of us enjoyed the swim near the beach for the longer route I was on my own. And boy – I did not get disappointed. With the high temperature and the clear see, offering a great visibility, it was so lovely to be in the water. I had to be careful not too damage any corals as the depth was rather low, but I was awarded with a sight of a large school of fish eating – while some parrot fish trying to push them away. One other highlight was a larger fish which turned out to be a a Titan Triggerfish. Unfortunately I did not fully understood some setting of my brand new GoPro 7 I bought before the trip, so there was a 3 second delay – and unfortunately a fish does not wait for so long. But I got some shots of it…

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Thinking that this was the highlight I went back to the shore and to be a good BF I stayed at some of the more shallow section so we could snorkel together for a bit longer. And here we noticed a few tourists kneeing in the water with their heads under water. What did they spot. We joined them and only after a while I could see it as well. Only a few metres off the shore, next to some rocks, was a stone fish. I know how poisonous it can be, so I was a bit surprised when some tourists tried to move it with sticks or stones. Thankfully they got bored after a while, so we could enjoy watching this interesting fish without any risks. Now that is a highlight (and my non-diving GF saw a stingray, stonefish and big sea cucumber within 24 hours on the island – we seemed ton be lucky now!!!).

After just over 2 hours it was time to head back to the boat for our return to the island. I must admit, I could have stayed a bit longer. It felt a bit short, and I thought providing water would have been nice. But overall it was a very nice trip.

Back on Dhiffushi we decided to heat to the northern beach to have lunch. We returned to Café 420 and this time we got a seat on the roof top with a decent view (and some shade away from the strong sun who decided to appear). The simple salad and the the roshi dish again as the night before – just with a some seafood instead of chicken. Both were rather nice and perfect for a hot summer day.

One activity that was on my list was scuba diving. Next to the café is the Annesso Dive centre. One of the dive guides were there so I had a quick chat about the dives offered, their equipment and prices. Everything sounded very good, and I got a good vibe from him. Relaxed and very friendly. I did not even need to check the other dive centres on the island. As it was my luck there was a dive trip the next day. Unfortunately they only do one dive per trip – which was a bit of a shame. But better than nothing. So my first dive trip was booked.

Getting that part out of our way the two of us headed to the beach. There is a section next of the café which looks nice, but is a bit windy. The main stretch is more towards the right side – on the very top of the island. Every hotels have their own sun loungers there (which got a bit complicated as we found out) – and we just occupied two empty loungers. At the time I did not even know from which hotel – nor did I care. I only cared about lying on the beach, with a great view of the blue sea, a blue sky and the private island of Meeru opposite of us. Now that was paradise. I loved the different colour of the sea, showing how the depth of the water changed. And when we were bored from sitting or lying – just jump into the wonderful water. And drink were served from the cafe 420 again – they even brought the fruit juice to our loungers (it seems they knew us already!!!). It was nice. I just loved it.

As the dolphin tour was fully booked for the day (we should have booked it straight in arrival) we just stayed on the beach until the sunset. While the one during our first evening was nice – it was nothing in comparison to this one. This was just spectacular. The colour of the sky was just out of this world. It is one of the most beautiful ones I have seen so far. To our surprise we once again saw an Heron on the beach – looking for dinner there. Still not sure if it was the same of the day before – but it was a lovely sight again.

We realised that the way along the west side of the island was actually shorter to the guesthouse – so this was now our standard way home. The western side is actually nicer – as it is full of local life with a kind of café where the locals were sitting around drinking tea or coffee, hanging chairs welcoming you to rest, kids playing, riding bicycle. It was lovely. And there was also a shop to buy some waters and other drinks as well as sweets.

We were advised that there was some live music at Café 420. So after resting for a bit in our room we returned there to get a table at the back with great view of the stage. Third meal on the island (excluding breakfast) – third time Café 420. Some people might find us boring. We were on an island and I wanted fish – so I ordered the local version of Fish & Chips. I had better, but it was nice. Their version of Russian salad was also good. But I must admit – I really wanted some fresh fish or seafood.

But the highlight of the evening was not the food – it was the live music. The band arrived from another island – and they were good. Two guys with guitars and a little “drum” set up. They played some famous songs, but also some local songs. They were good. We enjoyed it so much we stayed until they finished. This is kind of entertainment I could easily enjoy every single night. Unfortunately it was a one-off during our stay. But a great one-off.

One our way home we took a detour to see if we would see more sea life next to the Ranauraa Inn – but this time no luck. I was just hoping it was not a sign for my dive trip the next day.

After the bad start of the trip – it certainly got better and we really enjoyed the first full day on Dhiffushi…

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