The Maldives are a string of tiny coral islands about 800 miles left of Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean. Flying from Heathrow airport in England is fairly straightforward, landing at the airport - an island in its own right - just a short hop from the capital atoll, Male.
The sea is deep, blue, clear, full of exotic fish and just right for snorkelling or scuba diving. The sky is bright blue and a gentle breeze takes some of the ferocity from the sun. The people are welcoming, the news is two days old, and the food is excellent, although it's a bit expensive in the resorts.
'No worries, no news, nothing but relax and relax and relax.'
There are special islands for visitors, but you can visit the inhabited islands and experience the local cuisine, although be warned - you'll have to really love fish.
The Maldivian language has no special word for goodbye... and you'll never want to say goodbye to these islands - you'll definitely want to return again and again!
Kuredu Resort is the northernmost resort island in the Maldives.
Reaching Kuredu from the airport means enduring a five-hour boat trip, or a much more civilised seaplane flight. For a little over £120 per head, it reduces the travel time to half an hour and gives you a great view of the islands, including Kuredu itself. The pilots usually fly in close formation for the first part of the trip, providing great photo opportunities, before separating for different destinations. They will fly by the resort island a few times to allow you to take pictures of that, too.
Arriving on Kuredu, you'll be met with a semi-traditional greeting and lots of enthusiasm from the staff, reps and 'seasoned' guests.
The whole island is just one hotel resort. There are 300 bungalows with twin or double beds. Rooms with air-conditioning, a hot water shower and a refrigerator are classed as 'superior' - but are well worth the extra cost.
All the rooms have outside bathrooms. While this may seem crude, they are all of modern western specification, situated in a small walled courtyard at the back of the bungalow. They're roofed, but open to the fresh air. After a day or so, this seems quite natural.
Food and drink are well provided on Kuredu - there are four bars, six restaurants - four are 'à la carte' and are not part of an all-inclusive package - and a café.
Because of its distance from anywhere else (this is definitely a get-away-from-it-all resort), food and drink, especially the latter, can be quite expensive - so make sure you book an all-inclusive deal with your tour operator. You'll end up only paying for extras like watersports and scuba diving, so you won't have a shockingly large bill waiting for you at the end of the holiday.
The two beach bars at the east and west ends of the island are the quietest - you can spend all day at the east bar and barely see anyone other than the bar-tender. The west bar is the place to go at the end of the day to enjoy the fabulous sunsets.
Kuredu Bar Survival
Spirits served in the bars on Kuredu are served in 60ml shots (in the UK each shot is 25ml). An all-inclusive deal on the island represents an excellent opportunity to raise your alcohol tolerance to competition level.
Alli, head barman in the Akirri bar (smaller of the two main bars) has an uncanny knack of remembering what you are drinking and ensuring that another of the same is in your hand before you have the chance to leave the bar. Those wishing to leave the bar before losing consciousness (the only real excuse for this is diving early the next day) stand the best chance if they do a runner whilst pretending to go to the toilet.
Insects aren't a problem during the heat of the day, but they do come out at night. A dose of a good brand of insect repellent is a must every evening before going out to the bars. They will inevitably get into the bungalow too, so ankle and wrist bands dosed with repellent can make your stay more comfortable.
Even so, there's no malaria risk on the island, and medical advice seems to be that there is no need to take a course of anti-malaria drugs.
Water - the Stuff of Life
Water on the island is from Kuredu's own desalination plant. It's chilled and it tastes good. Just as well, as you need to drink a good three litres or more a day to prevent dehydration (on top of any beer of course!). There are drinking water taps available for you to refill your water bottles. If you've not got a water bottle, then expect to pay a premium for imported spring water.
Things To Do
If you find you've had enough relaxation, and have already spent far too much time in the bars, you won't find yourself at a loose end. There is a watersports school, a gym, and a superb diving centre, along with organised activities and evening entertainments. There always seems to be something new to try or do.
Diving is Kuredu's big draw. The island has its own PADI1 5-Star dive centre that can cater for divers of every level of experience, from novices learning from scratch, right up to master divers.
Dives are graded by colour - white, yellow, red and black in increasing difficulty due to location, depth, or current. None are as strenuous as many UK dives, and all are more comfortable due to the warmth of the water - wetsuits are required only on the deepest and longest dives, and only then for just a little extra comfort.
Dives are mostly boat-dives, from Kuredu's fleet of dive boats. Boats go out generally twice a day, morning and afternoon, although all-day trips and lunchtime trips are also catered for. For multiple daily dives, the dive centre can hire you a dive computer for the duration of your stay.
Two dives not to be missed for any diver with a little experience under their belts are the Wreck and Kuredu Express dives.
The Wreck dive is actually a dive on two small freighters, deliberately scuttled off an island about 40 minutes by boat from Kuredu. The smaller site sits upright on the sea floor at about 25 - 35 metres. The larger is more interesting as it was scuttled after being run onto the reef, and lies at about a 60° angle with its prow clear of the water and its stern at about 30 metres.
The Kuredu Express is a fast drift dive in the channel at the eastern end of the island. With the tide running fast, don't expect to stay in one place, but let the current take you. It's an exhilarating ride with plenty of fish and even sharks to look at.
Kuredu is an idyllic island made into a superb but understated resort, with great diving. If you would like a holiday where you can just get away from it all, Kuredu is for you!
Visit DhivehiNet, the Maldives Internet service, for more information.