Going to Male’ is second nature to me. But when I was requested to plan a mission for a high powered delegation to Maafushi, an island one and a half hours away from Male’ by ferry, with no known contact to rely on, it was kind of a challenge. But hey, I thrive on challenges. So this one was a welcome change to my rather uneventful working life!
My mind had to be put on over drive to plan this adventure out..
I remembered ‘Ali Nishan’, an artist I thought was from Maafushi, (sadly was not!) who I had met in Male. My first caller was him who introduced me to ‘a Mohamed’ who sounded eager to help!
From there on, I was on a zillion mails to Mohamed, asking basic, stupid questions, since I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. His responses were always prompt, professional and to the point. I was happy.
Mohamed was my point man, my savior in planning ‘Misson Maafushi.’
I was happy with the ground plans he was confirming based on my brief. The consultations, meetings, visits to the many facilities in the island and checking out the guest houses were all planned to a tee on mail and on the phone. I kind of trusted this guy instinctively. Not sure why. He was also doing this as a favour to an unknown woman who just kept piling more and more requests! Amazing, I thought.
When I thought that everything was going on smoothly and had to simply get to Male’ and jump a boat to Maafushi, the first blow struck me. I asked Mohamed for instructions on how to get to Maafushi once I got to Male’. His casual response was ‘give me a call’ and we will see. Unexpectedly I stumbled upon a piece of information which confirmed that there was only one boat to Maafushi, leaving at 3pm daily. The hitch though was my flight was landing only at 2.35 pm. When I called him for confirmation of this, he was even more casual in stating that there were no ferries operating the next day if I missed the 3 pm ferry as Friday was their holiday where every thing came to a standstill. How helpful I thought! Needless to say I panicked. All this was said so casually, I was beginning to question my faith on this unknown ‘Mohamed from Maafushi!’
My husband kept asking me, “Do you know where you are going?” And I obviously said “not quite!” The only thing I was certain was that ‘Mission Maafushi’ was going to be a new adventure for me. I promised to text him when I arrived in Maafushi, whenever, however! He was obviously not amused.
Eight o’clock at night before my planned departure, I changed the flight having begged the travel agent to put me on an earlier flight which he thankfully did. I got to the airport at 6.30am on the 22nd of May to get to Male’ in order to catch the 3 o’clock ferry, with no idea what so ever on how to pass the day from morning until 3 pm. When I desperately wanted to get to Male’ as late as possible, the airline decided to send me on an earlier flight! More time to waste in Male’ with nowhere to go. Brilliant I thought! I quickly sent some fb messages to a few Maldivian friends asking if they were free for many cups of coffee.
After landing in Male’ around 8.30 am, just out of curiosity, I decided to go to the information desk at the airport to check if there were any ferries to Maafushi. Surprise! Surprise! The counter girl says there was one at 10 am and I could catch it from the Willingili Ferry Terminal if I rushed. That’s what I did in joy. No more street walking in Male’ was necessary. Then the taxi driver bursts my bubble by saying that it must be a mistake as there are no ferries to Maafushi until 3pm. Amidst all this misinformation, I managed to board the 10 am ferry to Maafushi that no one else seemed to know about.
Once in the ferry I called Mohamed. No answer! I called Naseer, another Maafushian Mohamed had given the number of. I say to him “I am in the ferry, what do I do next”. He says “don’t worry; someone will meet you at the jetty”. So far so very good.
I loved the one and a half hour ferry ride in the middle of the endless ocean, with varied hues of blue, interspersed with resort islands an occasional passing of boats and ferries. With half the commuters asleep, I was looking forward to my next leg of Mission Maafushi with bated breath, hoping like hell that Mohamed from Maafushi is real!!!
Exactly after one and a half hours of an extremely pleasant ferry ride, I landed in Maafushi.
I am greeted by ‘a Shaneez’ with a broad smile who says, “Don’t worry, everything will be sorted”. I had no option but to believe in him.
Three days of adventure awaits..