Bodufinolhu, or Fun Island, is the most idyllic island I have ever stayed on. I will always remember my trip there because I went on my honeymoon many years ago.
Located on the South Male Atoll, Fun Island is 37 km from Male International Airport. You can chose a 45 minute ride by speed boat, or an hour and a half by the local dhoni boat, if you prefer a more leisurely way to travel. We chose the slower route, so we could really appreciate just how beautiful this part of the world is.
Our room came with its own private beach area, with our own little piece of the Indian Ocean lapping peacefully onto the pristine white sand. It really felt like there was no one else there, which makes it perfect for honeymooners and romantic getaways.
Even though the island is just 700m long and 168m wide, there was loads of stuff to do like diving, beach volleyball and canoeing. For the less active, there was fishing, sunset cruising, or dolphin safaris, or simply relaxing on the beach or swimming in the warm, crystal clear water. My husband and I went on the dolphin safari which was fabulous, made even more so when a pod of around thirty dolphins showed up and surfed in the bow of the boat for a while. It was so tempting to jump in with them and join in their fun, although they might have had other ideas.
We spent a lot of our time in the water snorkeling. The water was so clear and very shallow, but as we swam further out we approached the drop off which is where shallow turns to very deep, very blue water. We went snorkeling along the drop off a few times and, I have to admit, it was a little nerve racking because we didn’t know what was going to come out of the abyss. In fact, one day a huge manta ray appeared from the depths below and silently swam right by us. Another time, we saw a shark in the distance, but we soon realised that it was circling us. I screamed “shark!” into my snorkel and decided that would be a good time to get out of the water for a while. I am sure the shark was just being nosy and it wouldn’t have bothered us, but we were in its territory, so we weren’t taking any chances! Back on the beach, we were so excited and a little terrified at what had just happened.
Near to Fun Island was a much smaller, uninhabited atoll, so one day we decided to wade our way across to investigate. The two islands didn’t seem that far apart, so we thought it would be a piece of cake. Luckily, it was fairly shallow which gave us the confidence to continue. As we splished and splashed our way across, we realised that this was not going to be as easy as we had first thought because the current between the two islands was very, very strong. We kept getting knocked off our feet and, to add to that, rays and sharks were swimming swiftly passed us, inches away from our ankles. Our splashing must have been attracting them! We didn’t make it to the atoll the first day, we thought it best to give up. It was exhausting! We weren’t giving up though, we tried again the next day and we finally made it. We were the only two people stupid enough to try, but we were rewarded for our efforts and we spent a glorious hour or so on the little atoll with no one else around.
The dining facilities were excellent and there was a great range of delicious local and international food on offer. The one thing that put me off was the fact that we had to share tables with complete strangers, but they weren’t strangers for long I am happy to say. It was actually a good way to meet other people there, and we spent the evenings with our new found friends in the bar enjoying the nightly entertainment with the usual drinks and cocktails.
During the evenings, we walked to the end of the jetty with bread, leftover from dinner, to feed the fish. I think they had cottoned on to the fact that this was where they got extra food, because no sooner as we had thrown the first piece in, hundreds of beautiful fish congregated until the bread had all gone. Then they buggered off when they knew there was no more. Actually, I don’t think fish are capable of thinking such things, but it was still a sight to see. I realised then, that it’s the simple things that can give you the most enjoyment. We walked to the end of the jetty most days as well and one day we saw bubbles breaking the surface of the water. At first, we thought it was a group of divers, but it was a small pod of dolphins coming up for air. It was so thrilling! The best part was, they graced us with their presence every single day. It was such a pleasure watching them when they were so close to us.
The summer season in the Maldives is from December to April during the dry season, which means that during this time it’s also high season, so things may get packed out quickly. We visited the Maldives in November when there can be rainfall due to the northeast monsoons. But, apart from a few cloudy days we still enjoyed ourselves there and it was still hot. So never let the rainy season put you off and if you’re a diver, it’s the perfect time because the water is clearer and there is better visibility.
I said at the start, I visited the Maldives many years ago, a time before smartphones and Facebook. I don’t have any photographs of my time there, but it’s stuck in my head forever. I’d love to go back one day, it’s on my list of places to go. It’s a stunning destination, a romantic getaway, a place to gather your thoughts. The Maldives could be anything you want it to be. It really is the stuff of dreams.