Each evening we have been attending happy hour at the bar area, where I test the drink of the day and Steve usually orders a beer. As with most upscale bars, they serve snacks to go with your drinks, but this is not your normal run-of-the-mill snack! They serve bowls of black and green olives, and also jumbo roasted cashews that have been salted and seasoned with hot pepper and curry! YUM! We usually go through about 3 bowls of cashews before we permit ourselves to leave … One night, while sitting at the edge of the bar area (it’s an open-air bar that continues out to the edge of the pool area), Steve commented on a huge bird flying over us. He declared that it was the largest bat he had ever seen. Thinking that he must have seen one of the blackbirds that are constantly around, we both began watching for the “bird” to come back … and it did! Wow! That was a huge bat! He later discovered that fruit bats are common to this area, and I guess that’s what we saw. Another of our favorite evening past times is viewing the fish at night around the bridge between the two islands. At night, the bridge is illuminated, not only along the foot path, but also at certain intervals on the water. Many fish come to the lights at night and make fools of themselves! We love watching them swim around and even jump up out of the water. It’s like sitting on top of a large aquarium! There are a few activities around the resort, for those of us that tire of snorkeling, eating, and “hanging out” on the beach (but those that get bored of these activities don’t include the two of us!). There is an exercise gym (yeah right, like I’m going to get into this on vacation), a tennis court, and Steve’s favorite, the badminton court. He actually saw some people having a heated game of badminton the other evening … One of Steve’s favorite activities is walking along the beach, chasing the tiny crabs that hang out in the sand. Some of them are really tiny! They are kinda like sand spiders. The crab holes in the sand range from a very small size to a very large hole, but we’ve yet to find any of the really large crabs out during the day.
The night fishing trip turned out to be not as much fun as we had anticipated. First, they had us load the boat at 5:30 PM (and that’s a boat without any potties). There were probably about 15 adults, and two small children. Once we got to the designated fishing area (about 5:45 PM), they gave us our “poles,” which were heavy fishing lines with a weight and a large hook, all wound up on a hand-held device similar to a large flat spool. After loading the hook with a chunk of fish, we were instructed to let the line down into the water (it was about 120 feet), and hold the line, waiting for a “bite.” Once we felt the nibble, you pull hard on the line, just like you would a regular fishing pole. Not long after we got started, Steve caught the first fish … a small (3-foot) reef shark! (That was the second one I had seen that day, after spotting another one snorkeling.) He pulled the line in, and we quickly shot a picture of it, before freeing the shark back into the water. For the first two hours, this was the only fish caught. Then, the little kids got bored, and had to pee. (WHO in their right minds would bring little children, like 3 and 5, on a trip like this?) The parents were instructed to hang the kids over the side of the boat to “take care of business,” and I’m sure that really helped the fishing situation. About the last hour, the fish finally started to bite, but neither of us ever caught another fish. I had several nibbles, but when I retrieved my hook to re-bait it, the guide took my line and said that it was time to go. Seriously, I think they could rethink the logic on this excursion, and take people out a little later in order to catch more fish, since the fish don’t start really biting until after dark.
We reluctantly left Rangali Island on Friday afternoon, taking the seaplane back to Male. Once back in Male, we took the water ferry back over to the main island and did a little sight-seeing around town. Everything there was also escalated in price, we really didn’t buy that much, but had a pretty good Thai food dinner (since it was Friday evening, which is their holy day, we didn’t find any “traditional” Maldivian food restaurants open). The really strange thing to me about this trip was the air schedule. After getting into Male (via Singapore Airlines) at 12 Midnight, our return flight was just as strange. We left Male at 0:55 AM, which would be almost 1 AM (4 AM to us, still on China time). We had a 4.5 hour flight to Singapore, which put us there at 8:30 Saturday morning. Needless to say, we checked into the hotel and went straight to bed! After about a four-hour sleep, we got up and began exploring Singapore … but I’ll leave that for my next note!