The Republic of the Maldives is an intoxicating tropical country located in the Indian Ocean southwest of India and Sri Lanka. This remote paradise is comprised of approximately 1,190 pearl string-like islands and sandbanks grouped together in 26 ring-shaped atolls (live coral reefs and sandbars) that are surrounded by crystal clear lagoons. The Maldives is known for its exotic beaches, breathtaking blue lagoons, and spectacular coral reefs.
Due to the isolation of the individual islands, you only have two modes of transportation to reach them from the airport: a speedboat or a seaplane. I opted for a seaplane because I had never ridden in one before, and love to experience new things. However, I immediately started to question that decision while waiting for the seaplane to depart. I had a great seat in the waiting area that showed the seaplanes flying through the air, gliding on the water, sea landing, plummeting into the ocean… ok, see where my mind was wandering! Good grief, is it too late to change my mind?! My spirit of adventure soon vanished and was instantly replaced with fear as I thought ‘I wonder if the speedboats leave from here as well?’ I decided to just sit tight and live in a petrified state while waiting for my adventure (death trap) to take off. Once my flight number was called for departure, my heart really began to race. I’m surprised that my shaky legs actually allowed me to walk to the plane due to the paralyzing fear that seemed to be running through every inch of my veins, but a part of me was kind of anxious to get this potential ride from hell over and done with. As I gingerly made it to the gate without fainting – I’m pretty sure my heart rate was abnormally elevated because I could hear it in my ears – I handed the agent my ticket to fate only to be told to take a seat in the boarding area. Take a seat? Boarding area?? Isn’t that what I was doing in the other waiting area – which I affectionately named “The Room of Fear”?! So, now I have even more time to sit and contemplate which of the three planes docked at this gate will carry me and my fears to the depths of this beautiful blue ocean?! A short time later, they said we could board the plane and my first impression was, ‘Geez, these things are really small!’ Seaplanes seat about 15 passengers not including the pilots. Our luggage was stacked in the back on the right hand side of the plane, so I immediately started evaluating my odds: ‘Do they have to balance this thing? Should I move to the other side to shift some of the weight?’ Apparently, they knew what they were doing because in no time we were about to leave.
The engines started to roar and the propellers began to spin. Here we go. Suddenly, all I could think about was why we weren’t required to wear life vests!? (stop laughing at me) We started picking up speed, the engine got louder, and water started splashing the window. We have lift off.
After a couple of minutes in the air, I was fully relaxed and able to enjoy the gorgeous view of the various islands that are part of the Maldives. The colorful hues of blue in the water were mesmerizing and gave off a much needed feeling of tranquility after the psych-out I had given myself back in the Room of Fear. Well, that soothing feeling was short lived because the pilot announced we were getting ready for the landing (cut to my eyes popping out of my head again). Luckily, I didn’t have time to stress myself as we quickly started to descend, and much like an airplane there was only a slight bump as the seaplane first hit the water. It actually wasn’t bad at all. As a matter of fact, I had no fear boarding one again when the time came to reluctantly leave this tropical Eden. I was so much at ease that I was able to effectively record our take off and landing… Enjoy!