We passed a few resort islands on the way, with rooms built over the azure waters but our island looked just as good. From the quay the hotel picked us up and drove us 5 minutes to the hotel, the Venturo Lodge ($70 per night plus 22% taxes). All the roads in the island are covered in sand, and even the open atrium in the hotel.
We rested a bit before venturing out to find some lunch. We ate in a hotel restaurant. Mark had a vanilla milkshake and a tasty chicken kurma while I had cuttlefish and vegetables (£19 in total). We then continued to the tourist beach, surrounded by a dried palm leaf fence. There women could wear bikinis and we could enjoy the glorious, yet small beach with its shell-like sand. We waded out into the shallow crystal-clear water enjoying the views over the turquoise sea towards another resort island. The beaches were idyllic, like the paradise you see in the travel brochures. We watched a little boy in an orange Nemo outfit playing with a hermit crab on the beach before going for a stroll to explore the island. It was narrower than we expected and you could see the shore on both sides from the middle. We then stop to get some snacks for dinner and Mark found a Lineker chocolate bar. Across the other side of the island we saw a local beach with children swimming, while others played football. The girls were wearing black hijabs in the water, which was unusual. Back on our side of Maafushi we found a great spot to watch the sunset, sitting on a huge log and even saw a couple of herons. After heading back to the room we watched Minority Report and The Chronicles of Narnia: 1 before drifting off. What a pleasant day!
Next day saw us getting up to have breakfast in the hotel, which comprised of tea, coffee, cornflakes, toast, fried eggs, beef sausages and pineapple jam. There was a fruit plate too; We explained that i was following a medical diet and they were kind enough to give me a plate of watermelon and papaya, which was nice. We took the gadgets and went back to the beach to enjoy the sun before it got too hot. We went for a swim and then found a place for lunch before heading back to the room to avoid the worst of the sun. We rested for a bit but the noise from the building site next door was incredibly loud so we complained and the staff went round to argue with them. The restbite was only temporary however. We borrowed snorkels from the hotel, picked up my swim cap and went back to the beach to go looking for fish. We saw a few nice ones including angel fish and sea anenimies. It was better than we expected. We then ate dinner at the hotel which consisted of grilled tuna, different rices, noodles and various fruits ($6 per person). As promised the hotel drove us round to take a look at their quieter sister hotel but we decided against it because we would have to came back to have breakfast and dinner at the place we were.
On our third day we had breakfast then joined the others for our snorkeling day trip across 5 reefs ($40 each including lunch). We boarded the small yacht with a Kazakh man, a couple of Russians and many people from Turin. Half the hotel staff came too including a Bulgarian woman who I got chatting to. The first reef was nice. We saw lots of very colourful fish. The Banana Reef was even better and we got to hold two types of starfish and sea cucumbers, which was amazing. We missed our chances of seeing mantras there though. We visited one more reef, which was just as nice, before heading back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we stopped at a couple more reefs before we found ourselves chasing a couple of sting rays as they swept along the sand in the shallows. We then saw another type and one of the crew jumped in and tried to pick it up! Next we shot off at full speed to the deep waters where a school of dolphins swan alongside the boat and then performed tricks such as jumping out of the water and spinning. It was a lovely surprise and there were more dolphins than you could imagine and they hung around a good while, which was nice. Back at the hotel we showered, rested and Mark treated his sunburn. He was red on the back of his calves, arms and lower back, despite snorkelling with his t-shirt on half the time. We slept soundly.
Our last full day saw us rest in the room after breakfast, to nurse our sunburn before venturing out for lunch which we had at a nice hotel by the tourist beach. I had tuna fried rice and Mark had a tomato and basil soup with toast and a Caesar salad. We then bought a few snacks from the shops and sat around on the sofas in the hotel until 4ish when we went to the tourist beach for a swim and watched a lad scale a palm tree with no ropes to hack off the coconuts. We arrived back at the hotel for dinner, which was the usual tasty fare, and Mark went to the Aacha shop to buy the ferry tickets for the next day. Sadly, they had sold out so we had to pay $20 each for the speedboat. We caught a comedy on TV about French Gangsters in Chicago, tidied our things, booked the Sri Lanka hotel and fell asleep.