Sunday 5th April
Set off at 15:10 as excited as anyone can be. Lisa & Liam walked with us to the train station. Took the Island line train to Ryde Pier head & jumped on the fast cat to Portsmouth. The USS Theodore Roosevelt was moored just outside the harbour entrance. It’s so big it won’t fit in the harbour.
Halfway across the Solent, the fastcat had to slow to a crawl as the fog dropped suddenly. The captain kept sounding the horn every couple of minutes and the 'cat' creeked earily through the mist, rocking from side to side as it went. It was weird.
The taxi journey to the airport was uneventful and we arrived on time. We sailed through the check in desk & security. We have never had it so easy. Had enough time for a meal & to stock up on drinks. Bought some perfume for the girls & checked the departures board. The flight had been delayed due to a technical fault so they had to organise another plane.
We had another walk around the shops and shock horror, Elena spent some money! She treated herself to some Animal board shorts & some flip flops.
10 hours later ... I think I managed to doze off a couple of times so didn’t feel too bad when we landed apart from swollen ankles & feet. The Maldives are 4 hours in front of us so when we arrived at 08:05 it was lunchtime. We queued up in passport control and went to get our luggage. Within 10 minutes we were out of the airport (the quickest we’ve ever been), and taken by bus to the Maldavian Air Taxi lounge. From the bus window we could see Male, the capital of the Maldives on the neighbouring island. Male airport is an island on it's own.
It was steaming hot and raining hard and we could hear the thunder boomimg around us. I'm so glad we didn't go by boat to the island. We bordered the sea plane and what can I say, the flight over the atolls was awesome. When we set off it took a while for the plane to part company with the sea, but when we did the pilot flew very low so we could see everything. The colours were stunning, every shade of blue/green you could imagine. We were flying so low over the Indian Ocean you could actually see the reefs and some of the larger fish. I hadn’t realised how close the islands were to each other. About 20 minutes later we arrived at Summer Island.
It was still raining when we landed but it was still lovely and warm. We stopped at the end of the jetty and were greeted by Mr Waheed the manager. We were taken along the path through the middle of the island to reception where were given our keys (to bungalow 7), a cold flannel smelling of aloe vera and a fruit punch. Our cases were taken to the bungalow and we sauntered behind, taking in our new surroundings. We changed into our swimming gear at the first opportunity and went to explore the island. The sand is pure white just like the pictures in the brochure. It took just 30 mins, if that, to walk around it! It’s basically a piece of land covered in sand, with a jungle of lush tropical plants and palms, covering it.
Just behind the tree line are the bungalows. The shade the greenery gives is very welcome in the middle of the day and also acts as a screen so the rooms are hidden from view. There are enough gaps between the palms to see the beach & the sea, it’s absolute paradise. At teatime we sat at our allocated table with some brown onion soup & bread. Poor Andrew was so tired he picked up a pot from the table & started shaking it into his soup. Me & Elena were laughing so much because he had picked up a shaker of cocktail sticks thinking it was pepper lol.