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Browser Compatibility Test Page.  Contains code I've used up to 2020 that may cause browser compatibility problems.

Test 1

Test for "wrap-round" image shapes:

Taken from Maldives 2020.  The new "Chromium" Edge at last renders this properly (Jun 2020), but "old" Edge still doesn't.

There's a single-tank dive in the morning at 0930, and another in the afternoon at 1500.  Boat rides to the dive sites vary from 10 to 60 minutes.  Tomorrow's dives are posted on the notice-board outside the centre - all you have to do is add your name to the Whitespotted or Guineafowl Puffer list underneath, and your crate with all your kit will appear on the boat before the dive.  Then just turn up at the dive centre at 0915 (plenty of time for breakfast!) for an 0930 start.  Nitrox is free for qualified divers.  Underwater scooters (DPVs) are available for hire at US$50 a dive.

They have a new dive boat which is even bigger and slightly faster than the one last year, with plenty of room to spread out.  There's a fresh-water shower, cold drinks, a sundeck, a WC, and all the required safety features (first aid kit, oxygen etc).  The boat crew are very attentive and do everything for you.  They will even strip your tank after the dive and put all your kit into your crate for you - they will take it all ashore, rinse it off and hang it up to dry.  After the dive the crew bring you towels, tea or coffee, and slices of coconut to nibble on the way back.  Luxury.

I did the ten-dive package (everything included) which, with 2% service charge, costs US$979.20, which converted at US$1.3061 per £ to £749.72.  Expensive, but reflecting the superb service from the IDive team.

Test 2

Test for YouTube videos (scroll down).  Taken from Maldives 2020.

This video is hosted on YouTube - it needs JavaScript enabled, can be viewed in full screen, and you can change it to 720p HD quality if your bandwidth can stand it.

 

Ah - Looks like you don't have Javascript turned on.  Unfortunately, Google has made it impossible to play YouTube videos without Javascript or Flash. 

If you want to see this video, you'll need to turn Javascript back on.

The Panettone Manta Point dive site lives up to its name.  This was the the site of my first ever Open-Water dive that I made in 1996 - and I saw a Manta then, too!

Test 3

Test for Google Maps inserts, Method 1:

Taken from Canaries 2011.  NB: Needs a special script in the "head" section. Use the second method below - it's easier.

The buildings were erected in the early 1990s, and planning permission for these hotels would never be given nowadays.  We were told that the local government want them demolished.   However, because they provide masses of jobs for the islanders, a typical politician’s compromise has been reached: the hotels have to be demolished - but not until 2030...!

There’s a road running the length of the dunes area which is basically a long car park.  Visitors park their hire cars here and walk the kilometre or so down to the water’s edge.

On the north-east coast of Fuerteventura, Corralejo is a small town with a ferry port, surrounded by sandy beaches.  On the southern side of the town is a simply sensational area of sand dunes, stretching for 8km along the seashore, and 2km inland.  It’s a little bit of the Sahara dropped onto this bleak, arid, rocky volcanic island, just 100km from the Moroccan coast (you can even go for camel rides over the dunes).  It’s a National Park and a nature reserve – but with a couple of huge high-rise hotels, totalling 1100 rooms, plonked down right in the middle of the dunes.  The map below is centred on the Hotel Oliva Beach buildings - just zoom in and out to see the location amongst the dunes.

Test for Google Maps inserts, Method 2:

NB: The second method does not need Javascript:

Start Google Maps, search for the location you want, click on the 'Hamburger' menu at top left, and choose 'Share or embed map', and 'Embed a map', then copy the iframe HTML supplied, stick it in your page, and tweak the parameters: delete the illegal 'allowfullscreen' and 'aria-hidden' parameters, add a 'style=' parameter and alter size and border style (remove 'width' and height' parameters, and move them to the 'style=' parameter), add a 'float' and a 'margin-left or right' if needed.

There’s a road running the length of the dunes area which is basically a long car park.  Visitors park their hire cars here and walk the kilometre or so down to the water’s edge.

On the north-east coast of Fuerteventura, Corralejo is a small town with a ferry port, surrounded by sandy beaches.  On the southern side of the town is a simply sensational area of sand dunes, stretching for 8km along the seashore, and 2km inland.  It’s a little bit of the Sahara dropped onto this bleak, arid, rocky volcanic island, just 100km from the Moroccan coast (you can even go for camel rides over the dunes).  It’s a National Park and a nature reserve – but with a couple of huge high-rise hotels, totalling 1100 rooms, plonked down right in the middle of the dunes.  The map below is centred on the Hotel Oliva Beach buildings - just zoom in and out to see the location amongst the dunes.

There’s a road running the length of the dunes area which is basically a long car park.  Visitors park their hire cars here and walk the kilometre or so down to the water’s edge.

On the north-east coast of Fuerteventura, Corralejo is a small town with a ferry port, surrounded by sandy beaches.  On the southern side of the town is a simply sensational area of sand dunes, stretching for 8km along the seashore, and 2km inland.  It’s a little bit of the Sahara dropped onto this bleak, arid, rocky volcanic island, just 100km from the Moroccan coast (you can even go for camel rides over the dunes).  It’s a National Park and a nature reserve – but with a couple of huge high-rise hotels, totalling 1100 rooms, plonked down right in the middle of the dunes.  The map below is centred on the Hotel Oliva Beach buildings - just zoom in and out to see the location amongst the dunes.

Test 4

Test for Scrollable images.  Taken from St Lucia 2018:

Panoramic view from Signal Peak on Pigeon Island - Cap Estate to the left, the red roofs of Sandals in the middle on the causeway, and Rodney Bay on the right.
  Use the scroll bar (or swipe) to pan the view horizontally.

Panoramic view from Signal Peak on Pigeon Island - Cap Estate to the left, the red roofs of Sandals in the middle on the causeway,
            and Rodney Bay on the right.

Did it work?

Test 5

Test for Columns.  Taken from St Maldives 2015:

Snorkelling

The water-sports centre will loan you snorkelling kit, and advise how to snorkel safely on the fantastic house reef.  They run free guided snorkelling trips on the house reef every morning and afternoon, although you can always head out by yourself, if you're careful (the currents can be quite strong past the island – always check that you can get back to the beach).

There are also windsurfers, Hobie cats, canoes and a sailing dinghy which you can borrow, and you can pay for water-skiing as well.

They also run (at extra cost) snorkelling trips to nearby reefs – while we were there they went to Maavaru lagoon not far away and saw 15 manta rays and two leopard sharks! 

Twice a week there's an expensive whale shark trip by speedboat to the southern end of Ari Atoll, where these huge vegetarian fish are to be found – you can slip into the water and snorkel beside them.  Of course a whale shark sighting isn't guaranteed, though they do seem to find one or more nearly every trip, and there may be several other boatloads of snorkelers in the water with you if you do find one.

Diving

The service from the IDive dive centre (they're on Facebook, too) just keeps getting better.  This time the two boat boys wouldn't let me strip my BCD and tank after the dive – they insisted on doing it for me.  And they've provided a fresh rinse tank on the boat for cameras, computers etc after the dive.  The boat boys are extremely experienced, often telling the boat captain where and how to steer.

Parrotfish

As usual, the following day's dives are written up on the noticeboard outside the dive centre, and if you're interested, you simply add your name to the boat list.  That's it.  Just turn up at 0915 for the morning dive and all your kit will be on board in your crate.  Nitrox is free for qualified divers.  The boys will help you on and off with your kit, and put it all back in your crate after the dive – they'll take it ashore, rinse it and hang it up to dry ready for the next trip.  The boat has a cool-box with a variety of soft drinks, there are towels, fresh-water showers, a WC, and all the usual safety gear.  After the dive, the boat boys make you a cup of tea or coffee, and bring round a tray with slices of coconut.  Fantastic service.

The dive leaders are usually either Italian or German, and all speak excellent English.  There's a comprehensive briefing in different languages if necessary before each dive to present the dive plan and tell you what to watch out for.  Underwater they seem to have sensational eyesight, pointing out stuff you've missed.  There are usually at least two leaders, and they divide up the group between them based on experience.  They'll often swap divers between them in mid-dive, to keep the heavy breathers and the light breathers separate.  This year there were inexplicably very few people diving – usually just four or five out of the nearly 150 guests on the island.  On one trip I was on the boat by myself, with dive leader Roberto, two boat boys and the boat captain!

The equipment for rental is all good-quality ScubaPro stuff, and while I was there, they had a representative from ScubaPro staying there to show the dive staff how to service their latest kit (I was told he comes for a week or so every two years to re-certify the dive centre).

Highlights this holiday were (check out the "Photos" section below for pictures and video):

Oriental Sweetlips
  • A huge group of several dozen grey reef sharks at recently-discovered dive site Maavaru Corner
  • A mad scramble of activity right at the start of two separate dives I did at Thudufushi Thila – I didn't know which way to look, as we saw a group of 10 eagle rays, a stingray, turtles, huge tuna, grey and white-tip reef sharks, and a wall of hundreds of barracuda, all in the first few minutes of the dive
  • A pod of about 50 spinner dolphins all around the boat as we motored past nearby Innafushi island
  • A school of 20 or 30 Pilot whales basking calmly on the surface around the boat near Panettone as we returned from a dive
  • An incredibly-well camouflaged scorpionfish, almost impossible to see at Kalu Giri
  • A beautiful, tiny Lionfish at Kuda Miaru Thila.

My 11 dives this year cost US$1077, which converted into £709, or £64 per dive.  Expensive, but reflecting the first-class service and the sensational underwater sights.  Thanks to Luca, Roberto, Govinda and Federico.

Bootnotes

  1. The 2015 El Niño is being described as potentially as strong as the 1998 one, which led to disastrous coral-bleaching in the Maldives.  The NOAA has already declared a global bleaching event, and is predicting severe bleaching in the Indian Ocean for early 2016.  This is really bad news for Maldives fans.  I hope that the coral I saw this year will still be healthy next year.
  2. Luca tells me that there are no longer any sharks at Warren Thila.  This is a shock, as for several years this dive site has always been an event, with almost-guaranteed close-up grey reef sharks.  I've also seen mantas, stingrays and eagle rays there - here's some photos from a trip in 2013, and some video from 2012 (the Warren Thila sequence starts at just over a minute in).  This is disappointing news, but the discovery of Maavaru Corner kind of makes up for this.

 

Test 6

Test for ?:

Taken from ...

Awaiting code...

Photos

Each page contains about ten to fifteen pictures, totalling approx five to eight MB per page. 

Conclusions

On the good side: Service is great, the staff are friendly and helpful, the food and drinks are marvellous, and the dive centre and the diving are fantastic.  But Thudufushi is suffering from beach erosion - nearly half of the Beach Villas have no beach.  We did not enjoy sharing the dining room with the exuberance of the block-booked club outing of 70 Italians.  It would be great if the Beach Bungalows had a full renovation to more modern styles.  We were also disappointed by the exceptionally windy weather during our stay - obviously not Planhotel's fault, but nevertheless it took the shine off our stay. 

Will we go again?  Probably, but we'd need to think about the right month to visit.

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