spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Maldives – Seeing the Milky Way

Milky Way in Maldives

Welcome to nature’s IMax Theatre….sit back, relax and be treated to the most wondrous galaxy of stars

Maldives is an amazing place to see marine life, but something lesser-known and just as magical to see there is the Milky Way. The Milky Way is best seen in a place with as little light pollution as possible (think pitch-dark sky, no moonlight, no clouds with clear sky). In a place as laid-back as Maldives, it’s the best time to kick off your sandals, lie back and take in one of Nature’s most wondrous scene.

It was my first time seeing the Milky Way, and only two words could sum up the experience – Walt-Disney MAGICAL. I found myself talking to the stars, attempting to find out each of their names like a lover’s first meet. As the sea breeze caressed my face, I felt loved by Mother Nature and the joy of being in the Maldives. Life is good :)

Photography – Master of Disguise

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Orange Oakleaf / Dead Leaf (Kallima inachus)

Dead Leaf/Orange Oakleaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus)
Butterflies use many means to hide themselves from predators. The Dead Leaf Butterfly is quite awesome in this aspect – it’s wings are vibrant with hues of blue, dark brown, white and orange when open, while it highly resembles a brown dead leaf when its wings are closed. The butterfly also takes on a richer brown color during the rainy season.The Dead Leaf is usually found within forested, tropical regions of New Guinea, southern Asia, Madagascar, India and Japan, near the forest floor where there are loads of dead leaves to hide amongst. While most butterflies feast on fresh flowers, the Dead Leaf has a peculiar diet of rotting fruits and sticky sap leaking from trees. So next time when you are in the rainforest, watch where you are stepping – there may just be a beautiful Deaf Leaf Butterfly lurking around :)

Maldives – Coming face-to-face with the Whale Shark

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“Let’s go see the whale shark!” said Darren. “Okay sure!” I happily chirped, not even knowing what it looked like. I was expecting dolphins. So you can imagine my utter shock when I jumped into the water, and there it was, the Goliath of fishes I have ever seen swimming right towards me (then again, most of the fishes I see fit on my dining table). Glurp, keep still, pretend that I am a coral…until I remembered that they only feed on plankton, phew (and I look more like roasted pork after 2 days in the Maldives). It was then I began to admire this graceful giant…

Whale Shark in Maldives

Whale sharks are the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate in the world with the average whale shark measuring about 9.7 metres (as long as a bus) and weighing about 18.7 tonnes (comparable to the largest dinosaurs). They feed mainly on plankton by sucking in water which contains the plankton and filtering out the excess water through their gills. It has five large pairs of gills and with a mouth measuring up to 1.5 metres wide containing 300-350 rows of tiny teeth. They are grey in colour with pale yellow spots & stripes all over – and these are unique to a whale shark, like fingerprints! The whale shark lives about 70 to 100 years old.Places where you can swim with the whale sharks include Isla Holbox (Mexico), Utila (Honduras), Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia), Gladden Spit (Belize), Donsol Bay (Philippines), Tofo Beach (Mozambique), South Mahé (Seychelles), Koh Tao (Thailand) and South Ari Atoll (Maldives).

Whale Shark in Maldives

What a magical momentDespite its size, the whale shark does not pose any significant danger to humans. They are gentle by nature, and even curious about nosy divers and snorkellers. The Maldives is a great location for whale shark sightings all-year round. Conversely, the human poses more danger to the whale shark – they are hunted for their meat, fins and oil in parts of Asia. It is on the verge of extinction and listed as a ‘Vulnerable’ species by The World Conservation Union.

Remember to keep a respectful distance from the whale shark, and NEVER try to touch them or use flash photography (how would you like to be fondled and flashed at by strangers all-day long?). Everyone should do this at least once; it’s an experience never to be forgotten. I want to see it again.

Here’s one off my bucket list! :)