Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maldives Honeymoon: Sea-plane Adventure


We woke up at 4 am and hopped over to the ferry point which was a 5 minute walk from the hotel to catch the boat back to the airport.  The ferry itself runs 24 hours with limited service during the night.  It costs only 1 USD each way and they accept USD so there is no need to change into local currency.  The ferry itself was some what packed even at this hour with several tourists like ourselves and locals who I think were going to work.   The boat that took us to the airport:

When we got the airport at 5 am, the check-in counters for the sea-plane was not even opened up.  There was not much to see or do while waiting for the counters to open. We did notice several tourists who decided to spend the night at the airport itself instead of getting a hotel room.  If I had knew that our sea-plane transfer was this early, we might have considered doing the same since the hotels at Male aren't cheap.  They costs $100 USD and up for a pretty basic room! Would rather spend that money on something else...

After completing check-in and dumping our luggage, we hopped on a van transfer provided by the sea-plane company to the actual sea-plane terminal itself.  There was still about 30 minutes before we departed which was good as we could take some pictures of the terminal and the sea-planes itself.  I notice that several high-end resorts like the W have their own dedicated lounges. Too bad we couldn't use them :(

After the sun was up, it was time to get on the sea-plane! We were getting excited.  The sea-plane is a Twin Otter aircraft "modified" to take off and land in water.  It's a pretty small aircraft and seats only 18 people.  An interesting thing about the sea-plane are the pilots are mostly expats and they fly the plane in shorts and barefoot! Imagine a SQ pilot flying a 777 like that :

The sea-plane also flies lower than most jet aircraft so the views from the plane was amazing! We saw some other resorts on the way to Dhiggiri:

Our flight on the sea-plane took only 30 minutes.  We were the first stop of this trip with the sea-plane continuing to drop the other passengers of at the resorts.  When the plane headed down, we could see our home for the next 5 days from the cock-pit window:
Here's the part that gets interesting. We landed about 300 meters from the island and the sea-plane comes to a stop. Hmm... why doesn't the plane head for the jetty at the island?  One of the flight attendants opens the door of the plane and there's a 20x20meter platform next to the plane.  The takes our bags and tells us that it's our time to get off.
We get off the plane and think to ourselves if we were going to swim to the island.  This can't be true?!? A boat eventually comes from the island and later we were told by our host that the plane drops off passengers on the platform so that it does not destroy any of the corals and disturb the other tourist on the island due to the noise.  It will only come into the jetty the sea gets too choppy. We were finally on our way to our Maldives honeymoon.

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