The Maldives are one of the most isolated groups of islands in the world. It’s actually much easier and less expensive to get to the Maldives than even just 10 years ago. Direct flights from Europe are available to Malé, the capital of the Maldives, and once landing at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the journey to your resort island is completed with either a boat or seaplane transfer. When I learned that we’d be flying in a seaplane over the Maldives to complete our transfer to Anantara Kihavah Villas, I was met with a mix of excitement and nerves.
I didn’t know what to expect with the seaplane and I was nervous the experience was going to be like the one time I flew in a Cessna. Let’s just say that flying in a Cessna in June in Arizona was the most miserable flying experience of my life. I feared a repeat of needing an air sickness bag. It turns out my fears were completely unfounded and flying in a seaplane over the Maldives turned out to be an extra treat as we got a bird’s eye view of the islands, sandbars, and lagoons.
A representative from Anantara Kihavah Villas met us as soon as we cleared customs and escorted us to the seaplane terminal. We enjoyed the Anantara Resorts lounge as we waited for for our bags to be transferred and the seaplane to be readied. After flying all night, relaxing in the lounge with juice and tea, freshening up, and recharging our iPhones at the docking station was a welcome way to kill the time.
I had to giggle as the pilots stepped out onto the floating platform…barefoot! Our media group all climbed aboard and I’m surprised we didn’t exceed the weight limit with our loads of camera equipment. The pilots fired up the engine, the twin propellers hummed to life, and the pilots worked the pedals with their barefoot feet. Take off was smoother than any other I experienced and we were soaring like a bird above turquoise lagoons sparkling in the sun in no time.
Flying low over the islands, we could see the shapes of the reefs and colors of the shallow water around the islands. Round circles of pristine white sand with centers of thick mangroves dotted the horizon for as far as we could see. Sand bars and brilliant streaks of turquoise were stark contrasts to the deep blue of the Indian Ocean. We flew over resorts and uninhabited islands, getting more and more excited for our first glimpse of Kihavah Huravalhi Island.
A buzz rose as we all checked our watches and iPhones, seeing that Anantara Kihavah Villas would be coming into view at any moment. We started flying just a bit lower and suddenly there it was! The picture Tim and I had ogled online for four months was before us, the thatched roof of the Samurai Edo helmet standing tall at one end of the island and the rows of over water villas stretching out like legs from the other. We descended and I braced myself for the landing; the bracing was for nothing though because it was so smooth I had to ask if we had even landed.
We cruised by the pool and white sand beach skirting the island. And then there were the over water villas! “Welcome to Anantara Kihavah International Airport!”, the pilots said as we pulled up to a tiny square floating platform. A boat waited to take us the last couple of hundred yards to the island.
As we bounced over the water to the island, we turned to wave goodbye to the pilots just in time for a dolphin to jump out of the water and chase our boat. Welcome to paradise!