It was our 30th wedding anniversary and Mrs DB and I, having had such a wonderful holiday in Kuramathi wanted to celebrate it, by returning to the Maldives but to a different Island. Scanning the brochures we picked Lilley Beach which seemed to fulfil all our expectations but just as Mrs DB was about to leave to book it, I spotted an ad in the Sunday paper by the Travel Collection, who are a subsidiary of Kuoni , advertising another Island resort called the Hakuraa Club as a first time holiday resort. The Hakuraa Club was much cheaper than Lilley Beach, so we booked it over the phone but two weeks before we were due to go, I injured my shoulder, which eventually resulted in me being unable to do any swimming.
The Island of Hakuraa was in the southern atoll, so the seaplane was the only option to get to the Island from the Capital of Male.
All the accommodation on the Island were water bungalows, built in a sort of modern design, which IMO, was not in keeping with the Island
but once inside the bungalows one could not fault them.
Each bungalow had an outside patio and walkways, which crossed a river created by the flow of the tide.
The Island itself was only a quarter of the size of Kuramathi and its sand was a more coarse grit coral.
Although the Island was said to have a house reef, it was too far out to reach unless one had a boat trip. Mrs DB went out with others in a boat but on the trip the boat drifted too far, causing one of the holiday makers to panic but it all ended well but as a result they all came back early
The Island itself, lay in shallow water and as a result it had a very long pier built for the boats to come in and tie up.
The coral within this shallow water was bleached by the sun and was mostly dead but this did not stop a lot of beautiful
fish coming in and they would swim around the bungalows.
Although we went at the same time of the year we caught the end of the monsoon season which was running late and it rained heavily for a week. In our bathroom a waterpipe came detached and explaining to the staff we were under flood in a monsoon took some doing but they did come out to fix it for us.
On our first night we sat down in the restaurant and a couple came over and having seated themselves at our table said, “What’s the wine like?” I replied, “it’s OK”. “Four more glasses of the wine please”, she said to the waiter and I knew from that instant we were going to have a good time. I think most, were British holidaymaker and being all together in an AI bar it became a great atmosphere.
The manager organised crab racing once a week and the next morning you could often see a crab with number ten or so, on its back, racing down the beach at top speed but all mine the night before, seemed to have a limp when I back them.
Now one of the young lads on holiday with his girl friend had just taken up diving with his local diving school back home and was taken out for the first time, with a party of divers. The others went over the side first and he and the instructor waited till his tanks were properly fitted. When he went over with the instructor they encounter a whale shark as big as a London bus and a video film was take for all to see, that evening, the that lad was so ecstatic to have seen such a rare creature whilst the other divers missed it.
One day I was at the end of the pier, when divers came up and told me there was an enormous Mantar Ray down below but unfortunately I could not see it.
Mrs DB did take some pictures of the smaller fish while snorkelling in the shallows with a throw away camera in a plastic box.
Also we all saw an octopus in the river below the bungalows. In the second week the sun came out and we could sunbathe but although were had a water bungalow, we found we preferred to sit on the Island rather than on a balcony.
The food was similar to Kuramathi, what I would call OK but wouldn’t go into raptures about however, the companionship at the restaurant and bar we had with the other holiday makers was wonderful.
If we had not been to Kuramathi we would have given it 10 out of 10 but to rate it against Kuramathi we would only give it 5, mainly because of the quality sand, lack of a real house reef and the Island itself being rather small. There were no organised fishing trips but the manager did offer to let me go out fishing with the staff using ropes which I declined lol.
One of the lads who looked after our room was taken sick after a week and another was allocated, we got together with the others and had a collection for him as he would miss out on a tip.
When we gave it to him he broke down and cried, as they are so poor and monies they earn are sent home to their families but nice people.
In the 2004 Tsunami , the Island’s bungalows were destroyed and have now been rebuilt to a higher standard and the cost has more than doubled but IMO, it will never be the best resort to pick.
I must add a sad note to this, as some time after, I watched a news programme on the BBC, after the 2004 Tsunami where a family had gone to the Maldives and experienced the effects of the Tsunami and there in the background was a picture of our bungalow at Hukuraa. The Husband and his wife had scrambled on the roof of the restaurant with others, to escape the waves and could not reach their bungalow, where their two daughters were trapped. The water smashed the bungalows and they hung on to a fire hose outside. All were rescued but the manager saw someone else in trouble and swam out to help them and was drowned.
I can remember him he was a jolly man who enjoyed entertaining us.
Just bringing back some memories with a few pictures taken out of my attic, as it was before the Tsunami.