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Islene Pinheiro Façanha is a Brazilian economist who specialises in international relations and a master in development and international cooperation. She currently studies climate change and sustainable development policies in Lisbon, Portugal.

Andy Probert is a freelance writer with interests in travel, entertainment and people. His recent works are as diverse as writing for a global hotel chain, a Singapore media company and about the inexorable rise of the Turkish property sector.

Anne-Marie Kitchener-Wheeler is the project manager and photographer for the “Manta Ecology Project”. She has dedicated her life to the study of manta rays and to the project.

Ruwan Roux is a South African-born writer, travel enthusiast and eco-friendly adventurer. Having travelled extensively, his interests include local cultures, conservation and exploring the oceans.

Michele Wright is a freelance South African writer who has a deeply entrenched love and respect for our world and its inhabitants.

Published For Villa Air Pvt. Ltd. Villa House, 5th Floor No.7, Kandidhonmanik Goalhi Male’ 20181, Republic of Maldives www.flyme.mv

Published By Squid Media Pvt Ltd. M.Ziyaaraiydhoshuge. Izzudeen Magu, studio@squidmedia.net, www.squidmedia.net

Cover Art by Zummi


Ibrahim Iujaz Hafiz Mohamed Shafraz Naeem Ali Nishan (Millzero)

Flyme editorial manager Iselle McCalman

Inflight Magazine of FlyMe is designed and published by Squid Media, a comprehensive one-stop, digital media solutions for all organizational communication needs.


THISISSUE 10 Beauty and


climate change: The Maldives

Welcome to the World of the Whale Shark

15 The ‘migration’ of


the Flying Whale Shark

Dhigurah: The Island where time sets its own pace



One by One: Tradition Dolphin Friendly Pole & Line Fishing in the Maldives

23 Ssshh! The stars

Visit to the Museum

Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa


Rays of sunshine

are coming out to play

40 05

EDITOR’S NOTE Assalaamu Alakum, and welcome to the 5th issue of FIYA, the inflight travel magazine of Flyme. We have some very exciting articles and news to share with you in this issue. A holiday in the Maldives is one to be remembered, as you can see from the many star-studded guests who come to the islands to enjoy some much needed relaxation and play in our resorts. Find out why so many people come back again and again to our fabulous resorts, like Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa, which is complete with everything you need to enjoy a pleasurable holiday that includes plenty of pampering and countless adventures. You’ll also enjoy a peek into the unique culture of the Maldives and its sustainability in a snapshot of the country’s dolphin-friendly pole and line fishing techniques, which has helped to sustain the economy and has even become an inseparable part of the country’s identity. Also, discover one of the huge attractions to the islands, especially for scuba divers: the abundance of rays. From manta rays to pink whiprays to feathertail rays, the Maldives offers a prime location for encountering these beautiful and fascinating creatures. A special piece on the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme will bring your attention to the SEEPLANE that finally made its migration flight to the islands and will soon be offering whale shark viewing trips, as well as other excursions, to travelers. I hope you have a wonderful stay in the Maldives and look forward to seeing you here again.

Mohamed Shafraz Hafiz @ShafrazHafiz shafraz@squidmedia.net





The Season Is upon Us! In the three months since our previous issue of FIYA, a lot has happened. Tourist arrivals to the Maldives continue to flourish, reaching half a million at the end of the period of January to May 2014, registering a strong growth of 11.9% over the same the period of 2013. Many resorts have scheduled their annual ‘low season’ upgrades, maintenance projects and refurbishments in preparation for the high season normally starting around November/December. However, this year was a bit different as many resorts reported sustained high occupancy rates to such an extent that some could not even do the planned maintenance as they were simply too busy. The overall bed nights of these establishments saw an average increase of 5.9% during this period, while the occupancy rate recorded an increase of 2.3% to attain an average of 80.2% for the period. The average duration of stay for the period was 6.3 days. This is, of course, good news for the local industry, but it also indicates a gradual shift in the market dynamics with Asia and the Pacific region showing outstanding results throughout the first five months of 2014. The region overtook Europe to be the leading market generator during the month of May 2014, taking hold of 55% of total arrivals to the Maldives during the month. There has also been an upsurge in good quality guest houses on various local islands, some of whom are linked to safari operators. This, of course, will in time change the perception that the Maldives is an expensive destination for the selected few and opens the market to the more adventurous. ‘Island-hopping’ is taking on a new meaning! Flyme has taken note of these developments and is preparing for the increased traffic by adding capacity and frequencies to the major markets. The 4th batch of cabin crews started training and will be ready to serve our passengers from September 2014, while the customer service department has moved into their new offices at the domestic airport terminal. And lastly, but certainly not least - our brand new website went live in August! For the first time, local passengers can now search and book flights online and will be able to pay online in the near future as well. With the new reservation system, Flyme is now entering an exciting phase in its operation and is making good on its promise to be the Premier Airline of the Maldives Thank you for choosing Flyme. Flyme Marketing


draree ams.




Villa Hotels & Resorts, Villa Building, Ibrahim Hassandidi Magu, Male’, Maldives. +960 331 6161

+960 331 4565




Photo: Equator Village


The Maldives is an exotic place with a unique beauty, and the Islands are one of the most vulnerable countries in the climate change context.

By Islene Pinheiro Faรงanha


The Maldives is a country close to nature, far from the busy life in the cities, and it is a tropical paradise. The islands are surrounded by shallow crystal clear lagoons enclosed by coral reefs, making the Maldives one of the world’s most upmarket tourist destinations. The Maldives has a colourful reef ecosystem with its coral gardens, starfish, moray eels, yellow butterflyfish and hermit crabs. To complete the magical experience, visitors can find migrant wading birds such as the plover, terns and sandpipers, in addition to indigenous vegetation in lush surroundings. This wonderful place with rich nature and marine life is located on the Indian Ocean, 750 kilometers south of India and Sri Lanka. It is an archipelago formed by 1,190 small tropical islands, but only 358 islands are being used for human activities. The capital, MalÊ, has close to 170,000 inhabitants from a total population of around 345,000 living in an area of


Photo: Embudu Village 6 km2. The population is an interesting mix, part Sri Lankan, part Indian and part Arabic with a dash of African and Indonesian. Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives. According the Republic of Maldives, this is responsible directly and indirectly for a high portion of government revenues. Fishing is the second leading sector, and 20% of the population depends on fisheries. Despite the beauty of the archipelago, this paradise is one of the countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.

The Maldives is very much at risk due to geological and economic factors. The geographical position with small portions of land make the country exposed to changes in sea level and other serious scenarios such as sea surface temperature variations, precipitation, storm activities, swell waves and ocean acidification2. Approximately half of human settlements in the country are within 100m of the shoreline, with almost three-quarters of critical infrastructure, such as airports, power plants, hospitals and landfills, taking up the rest of the space3. The popula-


tion has serious problems with food insecurity, with at least 16% of the total population living below the poverty line. Even with the economy of the Maldives depending strongly on tourism (which constitutes for 30% of the Gross National Product), unemployment remains at 20%4. Considering this, the Maldives is under a constant threat for survival. The socioeconomic issue is exacerbated by the crisis of climate change. This situation perpetuates environmental degradation. When the population depends on only one resource (or economic sector,

Photo: MillZero

long-term future of the Maldives islands, independent of the results on the consensus about the islands and any effects due to climate change, something has to be done, but the government cannot afford the hard-engineered solutions and the technologies currently available in the market. This unique place in the world needs more than attention to avoid the ultimate consequences of storm surges, flooding and climate refugees. Actions in mitigation and adaptation need to be taken while the opportunity is still there.

Photo: MillZero

in this case) as the basis of its livelihood, a great pressure is placed on this sector and the lack of an economic alternative can destroy that basis. Without another resource to live off, and with the risk of climate change, tourism could suffer consequences, which in turn would affect everything else - from the balance of payments and interest rates to the revenue available to the government for basic infrastructure, in areas like healthcare, for example.

Photo: MillZero

The Maldives has attracted international attention concerning the dangers of rising sea levels that threaten to make the country uninhabitable in a short time. As for the

Photo: MillZero


Photo: MillZero

In Association with

Beverage Partners

City Hotel Partner

Technology Partner

Media Partners


Associate Partners

Sound & Lights Partner

By Iselle McCalman

Towards the end of April our seaplane, now dubbed the Flyme ‘Flying Whale Shark’ SeePlane, was finally on the way from the US to the sunny shores of the Maldives … and the trip was as epic as the migration of whale sharks. The painting of this beautiful aircraft was described in an article in the FIYA issue 4. So, after two weeks in the Wipaire paint shop she was nearly ready for the long ‘migration’ flight. The planning for the ferry flight started many weeks before the estimated date of departure. Flying a single engine aircraft more than halfway around the world, in a very short period of time, takes some intense preparation. Weather and fuel are the two most important aspects to consider, so both the

aircraft preparations as well as the flight planning were the main activities in the preceding weeks. Initially the SEEPLANE left the Cessna factory in Wichita, where it was built, for the Wipaire factory in Minneapolis where the floats were fitted and the painting completed. The aircraft then had to return to Cessna, where it arrived on the 14th April, for the final preparation such as fitting of the long range fuel tanks, the mandatory paperwork and FAA inspection - as well as the farewell photo shoot - before she was ready for the long flight. After some delays she finally took off on 22nd April. Captain James Murphy (Jim) an experienced pilot from Globeflyers Inc., flew the Flyme SEEPLANE all the way from Wichita to the blue


skies and waters of the Maldives – in just 6 days! The SEEPLANE turned heads wherever she landed and we even received photo contributions from ‘planespotters’ at Malta Airport. By special request Globeflyers mounted GoPro cameras on the tail and wing, which provided some stunning footage and a glimpse into the life of a ferry pilot! The arrival at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport Malé on the evening of 28 April was a joyous occasion, with Villa Air Flyme Owner and Chairmain, Mr Qasim Ibrahim, being handed the keys. The ‘Flying Whale Shark’ had completed her migration!

FACTS AND STATS ABOUT THE FERRY FLIGHT: The distance from Wichita to Male is 8,405nm. An estimated 11,500 liters of fuel were used in the 70 hours of flying time. This is an average of 1,400nm per day! The last day had a flight time of approximately 11 hours over the Ocean – non-stop.



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GLOBEFLYERS, INC. DELIVERING AIRCRAFT AROUND THE WORLD. Globeflyers, established in 2004, provides cost-competitive, worldwide aircraft delivery and repositioning for leading commercial and private operators. Their core business focus is the acceptance and delivery of factory-new Cessna Aircrafts. Villa Air was very fortunate to have its unique Cessna SEEPLANE delivered by Globeflyers. The arrangements were done with professionalism and the ferry flight was well executed. Even the fitting of the GoPro cameras, as a special request, turned out to be a winner. It certainly made all the difference to know the aircraft was in safe hands.


By Ruwan Roux

For the beautiful island country of the Maldives, the everyday way of life has always revolved around one particular sustainable food and income source: fishing. Remaining unchanged for generations, native Maldivians still use the same traditional pole and line method of fishing - something which also happens to be one of the most environmentally-friendly means of catching fish. Visit any of the 26 atolls which comprise the island nation of the Maldives, and you will surely spot countless fishermen with their poles going to work in what has become the country’s second largest industry, after tourism. Although fishing is also favoured as a recreational activity amongst tourists, it is truly known as inextricable from the country’s national identity. Not only is it a part of life, but the fishing industry accounts for 6-8% of the country’s GDP, making it indispensable for sustaining the country’s economy. In fact, the fishing industry is indirectly responsible for employing half of the Maldivian workforce, and although tourism overtook fishing as the country’s dominant sector in 1985, the two industries often go handin-hand.

the locally harvested waters. Using the pole and line fishing method, each fish is caught individually one at a time. Mainly skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) will be caught by this method and accounts for 75-80% of the country’s annual catch. The practice is billed as highly selective and also as having a low impact on the environment – making it a method that has frequently been praised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Traditional pole and line fishing is renowned as the most eco-friendly fishing method that there is. This means that purse seiners (factory ships) are not employed, and consequently, there is no overfishing or damage done to the coral reefs. The lines are specifically designed for tuna, ensuring no sharks and dolphins are caught or injured during the process. There is a growing concern around the world for the overfishing crisis, and for this reason, Greenpeace International endorses the use of the pole and line fishing technique.

Most remarkable about the fishing industry in the Maldives is that the

Furthermore, many big retailers in the UK and European markets like to support Maldivian tuna because there is no bycatch, and it is often identified by the “dolphin-friendly” labels on the cans.

same fishing techniques have been used for generations - and this has proved to be the key to the sustainability of the tuna population within

With overfishing becoming such a global crisis, it is more important than ever to take steps to curb the damages we are causing to our


oceans. The Maldives in particular

is one country trying to protect its livelihood and has already instituted several measures to ensure its oceans remain sustainable. For instance, foreign fishing vessels are not allowed to fish in the Maldivian waters. Net fishing for tuna is banned, too. With fishery products totaling 99% of the country’s exports, it’s no wonder that the Maldives needs to protect not only its natural surroundings but also the country’s best sustainable source of income. In 2012, the Maldives’ commitment to sustainability in fishing saw the Maldives pole and line skipjack fishery being announced as the first Indian Ocean tuna fishery with an accredited certification according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards. Little by little, the island nation is making a difference - actions that resonate the world over. With this commitment the tuna fishing industry continues to support the livelihood of many native Maldivians without depleting their natural resources.


We are the leading sales agent in the Maldives for internationally renowned manufacturers of small equipment and supplies for the food service industry in Maldives.


Michael Schumacher, Christiano Ronaldo, Tom Cruise, Ronan Abrahamovich… The list reads like a famous club that only the supernovas of the entertainment and sports worlds can enter and play. But, in fact, the names are part of a growing queue of celebrities, TV stars and the crème de la crème of fashion who increasingly want the sun, the fun, the shade, the soothing sea and the verdant surroundings of an ultra-safe and sound holiday away from the star-obsessed masses in their home countries. So for a little R and R, they are increasingly turning towards the serenity and serendipity of the Maldives, where they can be carefree, relax without a paparazzi intruding their holiday and just chill out. And, it is the Maldives that quietly benefits from this with job creation, hotel patronisation and money to pump back into the economy. Quiet, so quiet, that even writing this article had to be backchecked a number of times as the atoll is the superstar’s quiet party time. But where the stars wander, their followers, fans and family are also wanting a piece of the paradise that they have experienced, and so, it is no wonder that the Maldives is increasingly being talked up as a special one-in-a-million holiday or honeymoon hotspot. So, you could soon be rubbing shoulders and your tan next to a holiday hideaway popstar like Paul McCartney, film star Katie Holmes and even the Italian football team when you relax around the pool bar for a day of people watching. But where are these superstars and entertainment divas heading to? Well, Christiano Ronaldo and his Russian girlfriend Irina Shaykhlislamova opted for the seclusion of the Private Residence. Back in 2010, they took a 30-minute seaplane to reach the island in Faafu Atoll.

By Andy Probert

Cost for hiring the island per week: $66,500. Meanwhile, David Beckham and his delightful wife Victoria spent their Christmas holiday with their four children at the exclusive One&Only Reethi Rah resort, which features 130 private villas, 12 beaches and 40 pools. The estimated cost of their holiday was put at a cool $333,000. However, the list is not exclusive to prime time football players. The stars of the entertainment and fashion worlds are also taking in the wonderful beaches and pristine dive spots around the islands. Madonna and Jennifer Lopez have holidayed here, while modern day popstar Beyoncé and her husband

Jay-Z sailed around the Maldives, too, with Beyonce declaring: “The Maldives are by far the most beautiful place in the world. I went to Reethi Rah, which is one of the tinier islands. It was the most idyllic place for diving, snorkeling and looking at turtles.” And even as diverse stars as fashion model Naomi Campbell and British TV presenter Davina McCall have experienced the best of the islands, along with billionaire businessman Sir Philip Green, singer Ricky Martin and Bollywood actor Saif. And the VIP list just keeps rolling. Dannii Minogue, fashionable X Factor judge, singer and sister to Kylie, lazed on the islands. Fergie, of the

Actor Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and baby Sur at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport


Black Eyed Peas, spent her honeymoon here with new husband Josh Duhamel, too, while model Katie Price and actress Elizabeth Hurley have also enjoyed the beaches and the fantastic service. Indeed Dannii, who stayed at One&Only Reethi Rah resort, gushed about her experiences and declared that she can’t get enough of it. She once said: “What attracted me to the Maldives were the pictures in brochures of the crystal clear blue waters lapping on powdery white sand. It’s that sublime image, portrayed in a thousand Bounty bar advert.”

Photo by: Evan Amir

Daniel Lloyd, former Miss England and Miss Great Britain

Photo by: Evan Amir

French & Arsenal Football Legend, Robert Pires

Now, such stars are being courted by the Tourism Ministry to act as celebrity ambassadors to promote the island further to very, very important people – essentially the rich list, business people and those who are in their stratosphere. Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb said: “We are formulating policies to encourage more VVIPs to the Maldives. They can add a lot of value to a destination solely on the grounds that so many people follow them. “We want to let the world know how unique a destination it is. How safe it is. We offer privacy, the islands are free of paparazzo, that’s how we have made the Maldives unique. It is a celebrity destination.

Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo spends his holiday with girlfriends Irena Sheik at The Rania Experience

Photo by: Mohamed Fayaz

“Maybe they could do well with first contacting Dannii Minogue. Her reaction to the Maldives can be summed up in one word – and probably the only one that many holidaymakers search for when describing their break in the Maldives: “Amazing!”

Juan Mata greeted by a group of loyal Manchester United fans at the airport.


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In this new series, we will look into our history and culture of the Maldives through the artifacts available for us at the National Museum of the Maldives

Toddy Collector

Special utensil made with coconut shells and rope used by Maldivian Toddy Collectors to collect Toddy.

Bull Horns Carved Table & Chair

This carved Table and chair were gifted by an English governer in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to a Sultan of the Maldives

These Powder Horns are carved out of bulls’ horns. They were used by the royal army to carry, store and load gunpowder into the vent of a cannon (19-20th Century)

Mas Dhoni

Fishing vessels prior to mechanization. Although similar in design to the mechanized Mas Dhoni, these vessels run on wind using lateen sails or by oars.


Circular metal disc and mallet

In earlier days, when the Maldives was a Sultanate, Gong ceremony was a very prestigious and important event conducted to make official announcements. The circular disc and mallet was used in Gong ceremonies to announce various ranks of honors. Once an honor is given, the Gong man walks around the capital “Male’”, stopping at set spots and announcing the honored persons name and the honor given. After the announcement he bangs the mallet on the circular disc.


This bottle was used to fetch water from the coral stone well in Friday Mosque. This was brought from the Sultans’s Palace.(Early 20th Century)

Lacquered Two-part Container This container is in two parts. This container was used to store some items of clothings belonging to Saahib Haazaa Latheef Aminath Binth Al Vazeeru Sagheeru Ali Naifaree




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By James Hancock: Operations Manager


The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme is currently based on the beautiful island of Dhigurah, South Ari Atoll, with Villa Airport Maamigili being the closest airport as well as the SEEPLANE base.

scientists of MWSRP excited. Well, that and the magnificent whale shark hand painted on the fuselage! Fast forward a few months and the MWSRP team are working to design search transects and data collection techniques for the crew who will guide whale shark viewing trips on this fantastic aircraft. How can aerial surveys help research?

Photo by: Gregor Kervina



When Villa Air announced the imminent arrival of their ‘Seeplane’ on Twitter, it caught the attention of the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP). It was the potential of this craft to be an aerial survey platform that really got the


Since inception, the MWSRP has relied on spotting whale sharks from their research vessel, diligently covering the MPA over the course of about 6 hours a day. Using this method, the researchers have built up detailed models of how many sharks are believed to be in the S.A.MPA at any one time and also an idea on whether this number is rising or falling year-by-year based on their search effort. However, a major problem of this is that they can only spot whale sharks less than 3 metres below the surface and within 200m of the shoreline. Further, whale sharks spend only a very limited time at the surface, so the chances of a whale shark being spotted from a slow moving vessel during that short period is actually quite low. It’s possible that there are a lot more sharks in this region than is currently thought. A few months of flights covering the whole MPA in just 20 minutes and spotting sharks up to 10m down and 500m out to sea will give the MWSRP some idea of how effective their previous research has been.

Photo by: Melody Skye

A PROFILE OF WHALE SHARKS IN SOUTH ARI ATOLL The MWSRP have now spent seven years studying the whale sharks which can be found in the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area (S.A.MPA). This MPA is the largest in the Maldives and can be seen from your Flyme plane as you approach Maamigili airport. So after more than 2000 encounters with whale sharks in this region, what interesting findings could the MWSRP share with you? Well...

o This is one of the few places in the world where whale sharks can be seen all year round

typically disappear from S.A.MPA for good. Where they go after that? No idea!

o The same individual whale sharks are seen here over and over again. Two sharks have now been seen over 100 times, including one first seen in 2006. There are relatively few new arrivals each season

o The smallest shark seen here was just 3.2 metres. It is likely to be just a few years old

o The average length of sharks in the S.A.MPA is 5.92 metres (approx. 20ft). Weirdly, when the sharks reach about 8 metres, they


o 96% of the whale sharks encountered in S.A.MPA area are male sharks! o Almost every single shark is adolescent (a ‘teenager’) – they do not mature until they reach over 8 metres in length

Photo by: MWSRP

Photo by: MWSRP

Photo by: Gregor Kervina

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MALDIVES WHALE SHARK RESEARCH PROGRAMME The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a duel UK & Maldivian registered charity that exists to conduct whale shark research and foster community conservation initiatives throughout the Maldives and the Indian Ocean. The MWSRP & Flyme partnership has the potential to produce some really exciting scientific findings. To keep an eye on how these develop, or if you would like to know more about the MWSRP, then please keep an eye on their website for updates ( www.mwsrp.org ) or follow them on Facebook; www.facebook.com/MWSRP and Twitter; www.twitter.com/mwsrp




Reading the article on the Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP), you might wonder why they chose Dhigurah as a base for their research. There are other inhabited islands in the area which could have done the job, but the programme directors assured me this was an island with a difference. And it truly is.

When I joined MWSRP on a day trip, it meant an overnight on the island, which gave me some time to experience the sights and sounds. Having seen a few inhabited islands in the Maldives, I had some idea of what to expect but Dhigurah turned out to be a beautiful, well-managed and well-maintained island. Dhigurah (meaning long island) is in Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, or otherwise known as South Ari Atoll, about 20 minutes by plane from the capital Malé to the airport in Maamigili and then a further 25 minutes by speedboat. The island is very narrow but 3 km in length - which is considered to be a reasonably long island in the Maldives – and which of course means more than 3 km of natural white sandy beach on both sides. With a population of about 600, Dhigurah has all the necessary facilities such as a school, medical centre and a generous harbour. In fact it must be the most colourful and productive school I have seen in a long time. The population is concentrated on a small area in the north of the island and the rest is mostly for fruit and vegetable gardening and natural vegetation.


The local community forms a key part of the research programme and the school children actively partake in the activities. The school has even donated a ‘lab room’ for research purposes, which MWSRP will be kitting out in return for the room use (they will use it in the evening and the students during the day). Once a year, MWSRP organises a ‘Whale Shark Festival’, drawing people from near and far. Last year it was held at Dhigurah, with hundreds of people joining in, and this year it will be held in Dhangethi. Butt all islands in the area contribute. One of the main benefits for the research team to live on a local island is that they are now able to do smaller, but much more regular, activities with the community. Apart from the fact that the area is famous for whale sharks, it also boasts some of the most famous dive spots in the country, such as Kuda Rah Thila, Manta Point and Reethi Thila. And, after a day’s activities, you can return to the peace and quiet of island life. There are only 3 cars on the island and very few scooters, so getting around

by foot or bicycle is the way to go. An easy stroll from the harbour through the village to your accommodation is the best time to see village life go by at its own pace.

WHERE TO WHERE TOSTAY STAY Since guest guest houses housesand andboutique boutique to to thethe Malhotels are arefairly fairlynew new Maldives, grading system dives, the the grading system for for these these hasbeen not been well-devel- So has not well-developed. oped. Sodifficult it’s quite to qualit’s quite todifficult judge the judge of the ity of the thequality accommodation before accommodation before arrive. you arrive. We all knowyou that webWe all know that website photos site photos don’t tell the whole don’t tell the whole story. story.

Original Coral Stone houses remain in good condition

Getting around by bike is great fun

Katie, the MWSRP co-ordinator, having fun with kids at the local school The dive centre is next to the harbour and caters for all the needs of a diver



But I was equally surprised by the quality of TME Retreats Dhigurah, But I was equally surprised by the as a fourofstar luxury and stylish quality TME Retreats Dhigurah, beach hotelstar withluxury all modern as a four and stylish conveniences. Designed for beach hotel with all modern conmaximum privacy thefor hotel is veniences. Designed maximum located on side the village, privacy thethe hotel is of located on the yet close walk and side of theenough village,to yet close enough enjoy theand island lifestyle. They have to walk enjoy the island lifea great restaurant beautiful style. They have a and great restaurant garden area for relaxing. and beautiful garden areaTME for relaxsister company, Island Divers, ing. Visit their website at www.tme. http://www.islanddivers.mv/ is mv or contact them at info@tme. PADITME registered and offer Island all the Dimv. sister company, facilities a diver could need. The vers, http://www.islanddivers.mv/ MWSRP team is based TME. is PADI registered and at offer all the Visit theirawebsite at www.tme.mv facilities diver could need. The or contact them at info@tmv.mv. MWSRP team is based at TME.



Dhigurah Inn is the other good option for a budget holiday. Dhigurah Inn is the other Located good opnear for TME, it’s greatholiday. for island-hoption a budget Located pers who the choice of selfnear TME,want it’s great for island-hopcatering. rooms air-condipers whoAll want theare choice of selftioned andAll well-appointed. Guests catering. rooms are air-condihave access to a shared kitchen tioned and well-appointed. Guests as wellaccess as an on-site restaurant. have to a shared kitchen Owned Heymalas well and as managed an on-sitebyrestaurant. dives, Dhigurah Inn will by make a real Owned and managed Heymaleffort in arranging excurdives, Dhigurah Innvarious will make a real sions or barbeque on the beach. effort ina arranging various excurBookings be done the sions or a can barbeque onthrough the beach. main booking portals. Bookings can be done through the main booking portals.

Walking down the main road the sea can be seen on both sides


By Michele Wright


As the sun beats down on the Maldives South Ari Atoll, there is no better way to catch a glimpse of paradise than to book in at the Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa. The resort will have you fully recharged and renewed in no time at all. The tropical island scents, sounds and heat are invigorating, and the clear waters, warm temperatures and bright days make this a superb holiday destination.

soaking up all that lovely vitamin D, while at the same time banishing any winter blues or work stresses. Just closing your eyes and listening to the waves, the gentle breeze and the buzz of tropical excitement will have you lazily drifting away in utter bliss.

On arrival at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, guests transfer either by seaplane or by Flyme for night arrival flights to reach the resort. The Vilamendhoo will meet you with a friendly greeting, welcoming you with a tropical drink, to match the laid-back island ambience. You will immediately get the sense that you probably haven’t booked a long enough vacation here.

steps descending to the sea. Get your own Jacuzzi, open-air bathroom and private enclosures - have a look at the various options and choose the one that best suits your requirements and budget.

The island feels completely removed from time - although there is no shortage of modern amenities and fun activities. For those who are looking for a relaxing, sundrenched getaway, you can laze on the beach or by the freshwater swimming pools and simply not move from that peaceful position. Everything can (and will) come to you - food, drinks and people to talk to. That’s one sure way of

The accommodation ranges from garden facing rooms to beach villas to over-the-water chalets with

Delicious buffet style food is served in the casual open-air restaurants and the wide selection will meet all personal taste preferences. In addition, there are plenty of other meal options, should you need a change - Ă la carte restaurants, room service or snack menus by the pool. The best, by far, is the romantic beach dinner, set out for you under the star-studded night sky. Of course, what is paradise without a spa? Pampering treatments in the over-the-water spa, is a must when you need a break from the sun. At Vilamendhoo Island Resort, kids are well-catered for, with their own


swimming pool, games room and play zone. At meal times, families can eat together at mostvenues, and the staff make a big fuss of all children. For the more energetic, you can literally leap from sports field to day trip to sunset cruise to dinner show (and so on) without ever slowing down. Guests can enjoy a game of tennis or practise their golfing at the Putting Green. You can even hire a kayak or take-up windsurfing while at Vilamendhoo - the water will be an inspiration as it beckons you in. Stroll along the gorgeous stretches of white, sandy beaches or go snorkeling in the House Reef, known to be one of the best in the country. Vilamendhoo Island Resort has a well-equipped dive centre, which caters to all levels from beginner to advanced. Resort guests can get diving lessons on-site, and the lagoon is an excellent training ground. Dives are undertaken in 50 sites in the area, and the coral reef and marine life make this a terrific experience. To fully enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Maldives, it is advisable to have a look at the group excursions on offer, including snorkeling trips, sunset or romantic cruises, island hopping and the very romantic Robinson Crusoe excursion. If you are an avid fisherman, or want to see for yourself what all the fuss is about, a 21-foot catamaran operates big game fishing expeditions, with all equipment provided for. Whatever your reason for visiting the Maldives, Vilamendhoo Island Resort’s sun, sea and relaxation, combined with great food, excellent service and a pleasant atmosphere make this a trip to remember.


By Anne-Marie Kitchen-Wheeler

A star attraction of the Maldives’ natural world is the huge manta rays (Manta alfredi), which attract many divers and snorkelers to the country, as the chance to scuba dive or swim with a manta is virtually guaranteed! Most resort-based visitors are probably in the position to see several other species of rays, too, as many of the resorts conduct evening feeds for the rays in the shallow lagoons, and I have been surprised at the variety of rays that show up. So, for divers and lagoon watchers, here is a list of the species of rays you are likely to encounter, so that you can identify what you see.

MANTA RAY (Manta alfredi) This is the most common species of ray in the Maldives, with adults growing to an enormous 4m across and commonly seen at feeding and cleaning station sites throughout the Maldives. Their dorsal (top) surface is mainly black, sometimes with what appears to be white collars and cuffs. The ventral (lower) surface is mainly white with patterns of spots and blotches which vary considerably between different mantas and can be used to identify individuals. They have a long whip-like tail but no stings or barbs and may be considered harmless. On their heads are the distinctive “cephalic” fins, which manta rays unfurl when feeding or being cleaned.

MOBULA RAY/SHORT-FIN DEVIL RAY (Mobula kuhli) The shortfin devilray is the species of mobula most commonly reported in the Maldives. It looks like a baby manta ray, and it is commonly misidentified as such (it grows to about 1.2m across). The shortfin devilray has a black/ brown dorsal surface but the pectoral fins (wings) are slightly curved, and the head is much narrower than a manta’s. The distinctive devil-ray horns are present but are shorter than in some other species. They are often seen in aggregations of 2 to 20+ rays creating flight formations in a similar manner to eagle rays.

SPOTTED EAGLE RAY (Aetobatus narinari) The common eagle ray is often seen soaring off ocean reefs and even gliding along the deeper drop-offs of lagoon reefs. It is easily identified from the white spots on the black background of the dorsal surface, and they are commonly seen with a wingspan of about 1m. “Squadrons” of 20 or more animals have been seen congregating at sites like Finger Point in North Malé atoll and Rasdhoo. There is usually a great variation of colouration between individuals, with some appearing very pale and spotty whilst others appear almost all black. They have a whiptail and spines but are considered harmless to humans.


PINK WHIP RAY (Himantura fai) This beautiful pink-brown bottom dwelling ray is commonly found in sandy areas, including lagoons, and is one of the common attendees at resort lagoon feeds, as well. Although similar to the feathertail ray in colour, they have a plain whip-like tail and are more gregarious when being fed.

FEATHER TAIL RAY (Pastinachus sephen) Uniform yellow-brown in colour, this is another bottomdwelling ray, but it has a distinctive dark brown feathershaped tail. This ray likes to bury itself in sand during the day and is easily disturbed by divers. They also attend lagoon feeds, so look for their tails!

ROUND RIBBONTAIL RAY (Taeniura meyeni) This is a large, common stingray in the Maldives. Their size (wingspans up to 1.8m) can be intimidating, and along with a sizeable spine, which can inflict severe damage (even death) to an enemy, they should be awarded respect. They have a distinctive blotched black-brown-grey dorsal surface and a substantial tail, which flattens towards the end. They are very gregarious and commonly visit lagoon feeds, but I would not advise hand-feeding them, and don’t get into competition with them for food. During the day, they are often found sleeping in sandy areas and are relatively easy to approach and photograph, but do not crowd them.


Flyme is a privately owned Maldivian Airline operated by Villa Air, which is part of the Villa Group. Our objective is to provide an exceptional service to all passengers on our airline and to sustainably contribute to the economic growth of the Maldives. The flexibility and reliability presented by the airline’s flight schedules affords passengers a unique and convenient service. Since air travel is a major means of getting around, you might as well do it in style! Launched in 2011, Flyme is now comfortably in

its 3rd year with a vision to become a worldclass regional airline through excellent service and innovation. Although the airline operates from Ibrahim Nazir International Airport in Male, Flyme can boast with its own airport, Villa InternationalAirport Maamigili, where passengers are received in style before being transported to the various resorts. All technical facilities are also located here. Our passengers can expect a safe, comfortable, quality air-travel experience, with the added benefit of frequency, including night flights, and reliability. Although not always possible due to the late arrival of international flights, our aim is to provide on-time departures. As of September 2014 Flyme is also offering excursions and sightseeing flights on the ‘Flying Whale Shark’ SEEPLANE.

PASSENGERS REQUIRING SPECIAL ATTENTION All passengers in wheelchairs or requiring assistance can be accommodated by forwarding a request to the Customer Service Department at least 3 days before the flight arrival.

BAGGAGE LIABILITY We take the utmost care with your baggage. To assist us, please remove all valuable/fragile items from the checked baggage. We will make every reasonable attempt to return mishandled baggage within 24 hours, compensate passengers for reasonable expenses associated with delayed delivery as required. Verified baggage claims are settled on the basis adopted by IATA (International Airlines Transport Association). Although there is no obligation to replace damaged bags, Flyme will evaluate such claims on a per-case basis. Refer to the Customer Information leaflet you received before boarding. If for some reason you did not receive it, please ask your cabin crew for a copy.

LIQUOR LAWS No alcohol is allowed outside the resorts in the Maldives. So, when departing your resort please ensure that you have no alcholic beverages in your bags, as these will be confiscated at the airport.

WATER All water in the Maldives are desalinated, so please use sparingly. Bottled water for drinking is available at all resorts.

For any information or queries, do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department at customer.services@flyme.mv


OUR FLEET Flyme uses a technologically advanced fleet of aircraft that are among the best for the short haul air travel. The ATR 42-500 and 72-600 turbo propelled aircraft is the latest evolution of the ATR family. This type of aircraft is ideal for the domestic air transport service in Maldives due to its excellent performance, optimum passenger comfort and outstanding reliability. It is also ideal for use in the Maldives because of its high manoeuvrability in shorter air strips such as those in some of the Maldives domestic airports.

air-conditioning system, soft cushion leather seats and the seat fitting, ensuring sufficient elbow room provides passengers with comfort levels equivalent to those of jet aircraft. All aircraft are fitted with night flying instruments which means your transfer can take place regardless of the time you arrive. Flyme SEEPLANE is a Cessna Caravan C208 amphibious aircraft. This type is extremely popular in American and Africa for various applications. Fitted with the latest technology avionics, air-conditioning and leather seats, it guarantees the best sightseeing experience.

The configuration and seat capacity planning in our fleet provides very comfortable legroom. Additionally, the high capacity











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MAIN ROADS Boduthakurufaanu Magu

Fareedhee Magu

Majeedhee Magu

Ameer Ahmed Magu

Orchid Magu

Medhuziyaaraiy Magu

Chaandhanee Magu





Fisherman from Fuvamulah on their way to their night fishing spot. Fuvamulah is the undiscovered gem of the Maldives - where life still happens at a slow pace. The only island in the Gnaviyani Atoll is also the largest island in the country.


Photo: Iselle McCalman

Capture amazing action with incredible movies. Sony’s Full HD Action Cams offer outstanding image quality, simultaneous multi-angle shooting, improved blur reduction, remote video recording and other features, ensuring you get great footage-while their compact and splashproof* design makes the mountable Action Cams ready for anything.

CONTROL UP TO 5 ACTION CAM PANELS SIMULTANEOUSLY. It’s easy to remotely capture scenes from multiple angles. Simply connect and control up to five HDR-AS100V units at the same time, using Live-View Remote RM-LVR1 worn on your wrist. You can monitor each remote camera at a glance, check shooting mode and cam status, start and stop all Action Cams at once, and even change basic setup with one command.

The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS100V is Sony’s latest answer to the GoPro. As you might expect, it’s a lightweight, rough-and-tumble, wearable camera for recording your various adventures. It can shoot video at up to 1080p at 60 frames per second (or 720p at 120fps), and at a bitrate of up to 50Mbps




Lightweight, streamlined design. Well-designed mobile app. Excellent video in bright environments. Image stabilization.

Video quality suffers in low-light situations, even on overcast days. Shallow water depth limit.

Sony’s Action Cam records excellent video in bright situations, has useful image stabilization, and works with a pair of well-specified apps, but the camera suffers a bit in low-light environments.



Profile for Mohamed Shafraz Hafiz

FIYA - September 2014 Edition  

Inflight Travel Magazine of Flyme - September 2014 Edition (5th issue)

FIYA - September 2014 Edition  

Inflight Travel Magazine of Flyme - September 2014 Edition (5th issue)