A very happy Wedding Wednesday to you all, on what is the very last in our series of wedding posts.
If you have missed the rest - or any at all - of our past posts, you can catch up here:
The Venue, Attire, Beauty, Flowers & Decor, Cake & Favours, Our Big Day.
Meeru Island, Maldives
It was day 3 of being a married couple, and we were all set to jet away to our dream location for honeymoon - the Maldives. I had fantasised for as long as I can remember, about visiting the islands.
My Grampy had told a me all about the time that he had spent there while at war, when I was just a child, and since we lost Grampy soon after, it had always felt like a place that I was destined to go. So, you can imagine my elation when we found a package within budget - utter surprise and delight!
We flew with Emirates, and our flight was over two legs - the first from Birmingham to Dubai, and the second from Dubai to Male. The Emirates planes were the biggest that we had been on - or even seen, and we were unsure of exactly how we were going to take off! Once in Male, we set aboard a speed boat, for an hours journey to our island of Meeru - that was great for getting to see the other islands dotted around the ocean, as we sped by.
After a welcome cocktail, we checked in to our jacuzzi beach villa, and it was just fantastic. As you can see from the pictures, the room was very modern, and our favourite bit - the bathroom - was out of this world. It was half covered, half uncovered to the outdoors, so you could shower under the stars. Our garden came complete with sun-beds in both the shade and full sun, and of course, a jacuzzi.
Despite being extremely jet-lagged, we were up at the crack of dawn on our very first day, to explore the island at sunrise, and we were certainly very glad we did!
It took us a total of 35 minutes to walk all the way around the island, which was uncanny. We breathed in the fresh, tropical air; we lay and took stock, in awe of the beauty and of just how lucky we were; and we interacted, transfixed, with the wildlife that we had only ever seen on television before.
The sea was teaming with wildlife in the shallows at that time of day. As you can see above, there were manta rays, sharks, sting rays and random purple jellyfish (which we later found out were very poisonous), all floating around, just waiting to be seen. We were stood ankle deep when we took these shots, so you can see just how shallow they came.
The little crab that I am holding was one of millions that littered the beach. There were also transparent crabs, which were really hard to see, until they began sprinting from under your feet, so you had to be so careful not to tread on them. We loved the crabs, they were so funny, and so sweet.
The last photo shows the local workers that cleared the beach of washed up seaweed an coral every morning, and every evening. Their dedication to keeping the island looking at its best was really inspiring. They didn't just do it because it was part of their job, but because they loved their island, and cared about it deeply. This is something that we noticed about every single worker on the island.
Most days were spent enjoying the array of delicious foods and drinks, getting lost in book after book, bathing in the gentle rays of the afternoon sun, and exploring the island. Late afternoon usually called for a cocktail in the jacuzzi, while watching the fruit bats fly over head and settle in the palm tree that hung over our garden. We were mesmerised by the bats.
We had a few days of rain, but since we love any kind of extreme weather, we were happy to enjoy the experience - any rain in the Maldives is torrential, and therefore exciting!
In the evenings, we enjoyed interesting drinks at the many different bars dotted around the island - each of them very intimately lit. To give you some perspective, we were given a torch to help us to get about at night.
Half way through the holiday, we opted to go on a 2 day cruise around the ocean, to a couple of fellow islands. The first was a tiny, deserted island, which took about 2 minutes to walk across (first photo, second row). From here, we were kitted up with snorkelling gear, and were taken out along the reefs with our instructor. What we saw was out of this world. It was so deep that it felt as close to flying that we could ever imagine. We saw the most magical reefs, of the most vibrant colours imaginable. We have all seen it on the television, but honestly, being there is entirely different. The fish - the species that we saw - were magnificent, and it was an experience that we will never forget.
That evening, after what was a surprisingly exhausting day of snorkelling, we headed back to the boat
for a sunset party. The crew popped open the champagne, and set everyone up to fish off the side of the boat. As anyone who knows me would expect, I was sat high up on deck, with my hands over my eyes, politely declining to get involved. I'm not too sure that the crew ever did understand what I meant when
I said that I felt unable to kill a fish. It is what they do in order to eat, on a daily basis. Luckily my lovely husband was feeling much the same, so we sat back and enjoyed the sunset with our champagne.
Our cabin on the boat was amazing - complete with en-suite bathroom, and an amazing window out to sea. It was so great to stay in - such an experience - but on the last night, our nerves were tested as we set anchor amidst a storm. It seemed to be passing at first, and the crew were so upset at the prospect of us not enjoying the boat, that they took us to visit another local island, which tourists rarely got to see. It was a working island, so it was very run down, and the people who lived on there were only the workers themselves. That evening, the locals got together and played for us at their local community centre. When their not working, they enjoy playing a variety of instruments together, and so they just started jamming for us. They were really very good, and took it ever so seriously. When we got up to dance,
it encouraged them to relax and they began to lose themselves in the music. It was a great experience. Unfortunately for us, the storm returned with a vengeance later that night, and we genuinely feared for
our lives! I remember lying there, white knuckled, next to Jay, as we slid up and down the bed with the motion of the boat, as it violently swayed, and got lifted feet off the surface and dropped again by the monstrous waves, and thinking, 'if we survive, this is going to be a great story'.
Needless to say, when we woke the next morning, we felt both relieved and liberated by our experience. To top off what was an unexpected and extraordinary trip, we were joined on our journey home by the biggest group of wild dolphins I could have ever hoped for. There was around 50 of them, surrounding
the boat - some flinging themselves out of the water, putting on quite a display, and some swimming
right alongside us, in reach. I was so elated that I had an almighty urge to fling myself over board. Dolphins have always been my very favourite of animals, for as long as I can remember, and although I
have seen wild ones before, it was always the odd one at a fair distance, and nothing like this. Among all of the amazing and magical things that we had seen and experienced on that trip, it was the dolphins that brought me to my knees.
Back to Meeru, and after the whirlwind adventures of the cruise, we were in need of a little comfort.
There were two spas on the island, but the over-water-spa, was the superior, and where we were lucky enough to indulge. We had already had a free welcome massage on arrival, but being a massive spa fan, I wanted more that those 15 minutes.
So, during our final week at Meeru, I indulged in an aloe body cocoon treatment. This began with a foot treatment, on the private deck of my treatment hut, where I could see nothing but endless ocean ahead of me. I was then led to lay on a traditional spa bed, which had a floor window directly below where my face poked through, so I could watch the sea life as the mighty strong therapist did her magic. My entire body was massaged with the most beautiful oil, smothered in cool aloe vera, and wrapped up tight in blankets. I then enjoyed a warm oil head massage, and a luxury shower, before being finished off with
a layer of tropical lotion. The aim of the treatment was to nurture the skin after sun exposure, so this felt like a perfect way to end the holiday.
Before the treatment began, I was given a gorgeous lemon water, which tasted like the best lemonade I had ever had, and to end was a spicy ginger tea, which we both fell in love with.
As we left the spa that evening, we were surprised by an army of crabs, that were gathered, bathing in the warm evening shallows. It was an amazing sight!
Sunset on Meeru island was perhaps the most breath taking part of our days. The pastel colours that it began to cast; finishing with the sky ablaze with fiery vibrancy. It was hard to believe that what we were seeing was real, as we strolled along the beach and bathed in the glory.
Among the beauty that filled my head on our honeymoon, Leaff wasn't far behind. I allowed myself to reflect on our achievements so far, and to dream about my aspirations for the future. I must say, as I looked out, humbled by the enormity of the beauty and wonder, I felt certain that they were all accomplishable.
I hope you have enjoyed my wedding posts over the last 7 weeks, and I hope you feel inspired by what
I have ended them with.
Our honeymoon package was booked through Thomas Cook Signature. You can read more about Meeru Island here.