The North Huvadhoo Atoll (Maldives) Swimaround

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The Girl and I have been taking a long awaited vacation to a place far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life (and our respective jobs).  For that, we burned a bunch of points and flew to the middle of the Indian Ocean to the North Huvadhoo (Gaafu Alifut) Atoll, within the Republic of Maldives.

Aside from a lot of relaxing, we have done some exercise.  Yesterday I swam around the island.  The whole thing isn’t terribly big, approximately 450 meters in length for the land portion.

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Though, the water is only chest deep around most of it. So you’ve gotta swim at the reef’s edge, out a few hundred yards from the beach at the point the coral reef drops off (the transition from turqois to dark blue above).

So I swam a short distance from the dock out to the reef edge, which you can see in the below photo as the seafloor drops away.

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From there I headed south, down-current along the edge of the reef. It’s the place you’re bound to see the most sea life.  The day prior I saw a turtle here.

On the swim, I’d see plenty of fish, and four sharks.  Including this guy:

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He was probably the biggest of the four I saw.  In this photo he’s quite some distance away, but still no more than 4-5ft in length.  As a reef shark he’s completely harmless.  Still, I would watch over my shoulder to ensure he kept on going in the right direction.  Or rather, ensure nobody else bigger came along.

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While not watching the sharks and fish swim by, I was watching the island slowly rotate around like a turn-table.

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Or, I was overseeing what appeared to be first-time scuba divers down below.

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Eventually, I made my way back to my starting point – a little under an hour later.  Going up-current for half the island slowed things down quite a bit.

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Still, quite happy with the GPS track I made (Fenix3 on my wrist), right along the edge of the coral quite nicely.

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And, even happier that I’m still here to enjoy relaxing on the island with The Girl just a little bit longer.

Thanks for reading!

(For those curious, all photos in this post were taken with a GoPro Hero4 Silver)

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35 Comments

  1. David

    Re:For those curious, all photos in this post were taken with a GoPro Hero4 Silver

    I didn’t know GoPro comes with such a long pole. The Island shots look incredible :-)

    Enjoy the holidays.

  2. Sagar

    Nice! Enjoy you break

  3. Rob

    Wow, flashback to what I did many years ago (before the tech was available to record it like this.) Where did you store the gopro while swimming? Down the swim trunks?

  4. Fredrik Båving

    Ray, is that some kind of HUD I see on your goggles?

  5. Lutfi

    Looks amazing – have fun!

  6. Alkin Tezuysal

    You still worked! This is a workation I’ve been talking about.

  7. Ian

    That looks amazing, except for the whole shark thing. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Laszlo

    I’m amazed that track came out with the Fenix 3 _on your wrist._ Great! I thought as I saw the track that you must’ve worn the swim bag and kept the watch in there. Thought wrong; I’ve been contemplating getting a F3 for some time and this may be the push to get it. Looks like good tracking with just worn on the wrist.

    Enjoy the vacation.

    • Jason Raath

      The Garmin units tend to track GPS pretty well in swim mode, I had a 910XT some time ago and it tracked a weekend of 8 x 1 mile swims with ease. All the time, on my wrist. My fēnix 2 is also pretty good. I imagine the fēnix 3 is better still.

  9. Luc

    Waow nice! Lucky you still being there. I was in Maldives a week ago but did not have the courage to do a swim around our island… But I did a few dives with sharks ;)

  10. Jean-Christophe

    Since last year, Maldives are not anymore an option for me.
    link to edition.cnn.com
    Child can be sentenced to death in that country :(

  11. Stephen Murphy

    i was lucky enough to get a free trip to the Maldives a couple years ago. The swimming was fantastic due to the buoyancy as a result of the salt content. I wouldn’t be a super strong swimmer but safely enjoyed hours of swimming around the island, taking a break and floating standing up whenever I needed to. Diving/snorkelling was incredible too

  12. John B

    Did you encounter any Stingrays?

  13. Mark

    Did you see any stingrays? I’m about to leave Kanifushi (Maldives) on Wednesday. Got some great footage on the GoPro 4 too – turtles, stingrays etc etc. The sun is brutal though. Have you tried running on the beach?

  14. Caferey

    Fantastic! Went their on honeymoon. Lovely part of the world.

  15. Erik

    Enjoy your stay at the island.

  16. Don

    Great track, i assume Glonass is on?

  17. What’s the longest run you can do?

    • We measured out about 1.25mi on a loop that goes out/back all the jetty’s, as well as the path inside the island. It’s the jetty’s that help quite a bit on the distance front.

  18. Jason Raath

    So Ray, based on your start stop points, you stayed on or around #6 on the line of rooms? I believe that particular resort is amazing.

  19. Ricardo

    Hi Ray

    I have done my first Thriatlon this weekend in San Andres Island, Colombia. It was an Olympic Distance and I used my Fenix 3.

    I had an issue with the open water swimming distance, the watch recorded just 347 meters, it should be around 1700 m instead. The only thing that I remember during the swimming is that I swan a mix between Free Style and Breaststroke Style. Also, it stops measuring after the first autolap but the time was accurate.

    Sorry if this is not the right place for this post.

    Regards

  20. Jon Briafield

    Loved the Maldives when my wife and I visited. Awesome to snorkel around the islands with the black tip reef sharks – the stingrays I found way more scary!

  21. Frank D

    Not knowing much about sharks anymore that would scare the jeepers out of me! Anyway. Looks like a great place. I think that place (or one of those) is on my bucket list …

  22. Ben O

    Hey Ray, lovely photos! I’m new to using the gopro, could I know how you bring your gopro along for your swim? (or bike and run for that matter as well haha!) And also, what sort of settings do you use, say leave it turned on and in video mode, or time lapse/single photo with a remote?

    Thanks a lot Ray! Love your blog :)

    • Hi Ben, thanks!

      In this case, I actually just brought only the GoPro itself in the waterproof case on the swim. For the photos I put it into Photo Timelapse mode at .5s intervals. That way I can just leave it there for a few seconds and hope to get the shot.

      Enjoy!

  23. Kevin

    The Fiance and I are looking to go to the Maldives for a Honeymoon. How does this trip compare to the other times you have been to the Maldives?

    • We went to the Conrad previously, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d say the main differences are that you’ll spend a bit more time getting from Male to the Hyatt, but in return, it’s far more isolated and quiet.

      The Conrad (and we had stayed on the water villa island) is very nice. But you’ll also get quite a bit more kids/families. And we found the food of higher quality at the Hyatt. Same rough prices (all very high).

      The house reef on both islands are regarded as the best ones in the Maldives (for a house reef), so you can’t go wrong there, though the snorkeling off the Hyatt villas was better, versus with the Conrad you’ll have to walk a little bit to the right spot. On the flip side, the Conrad has more aquatic life it felt like (bigger schools of fish for example), and endlessly looping Manta Rays at night under the docks, which is great.

      I think if we were to return, we’d go back to the Hyatt again without a second thought – even despite the longer journey.

    • Kevin

      Thank you for quick reply! Incredibly appreciative of your input and value your opinion. As a younger couple with no kids, we value the quietness. Im aiming to find a balnace of romantic/fun/secluded at a good value. Although Maldives and inexpensive do not go in the same sentence, there can still be good value for the location…I hope.

    • Outside of some safari locations in Africa, I’ve never been to a quieter location than the Maldives Hyatt.

      Check out the blogs ViewFromTheWing and OneMileAtATime, travel blogs who both just went to the Hyatt as well earlier this month and have posted trip reports. I didn’t disagree with much that either noted. Note that neither though tends to be very pro-Hilton, so you won’t necessarily get a good idea of their thoughts on the Conrad. For that, I’d probably head over to the FlyerTalk forums as the best place there.

    • Josh

      Somewhat along these lines (redeeming points/miles for travel), are yours primarily accrued via flights and that airlines mileage program (your United, iirc)? Or do you use the Amex/Chase/Euro-equivalent method of transferrable points?

    • For the points, it’s basically all just via flight programs. I split my load half and half between United (Star Alliance) and British Airways (Oneworld). So I’m pretty flexible on redeeming. With butt-in-seat mileage between 250-300K a year, I get more points than I know what to do with (that’s redeemable bonuses).

      On hotels, I’m a bit more scattered due to lack of hotels in all the cities I travel. So I just sorta pick based on what’s nearby the office in that locale. Thus I supplement with Chase points (via Sapphire card). I’m lucky in that I can book all my travel expenses on that and then get reimbursed, so it really adds up by the end of the year.