Travel day. The day unfolds smoothly. Missed a bit of sleep, sacking out at 11:30 pm and waking 10 mins before our alarm at 6:00 but we have been getting a mandatory 8 hours and are well rested. The hotel shuttle leaves on time, we manage to check-in quickly, find breakfast and still have 45 minutes before we board.
It has become apparent that even though I think the front line staff at Air Canada has improved greatly over the years, they still have a long way to go to match the pleasantness and efficiency of other airlines. We arrive at the gate and our boarding passes and passports are scanned prior to taking a seat at the gate. The seating area is secure, allowing this to happen but the Edmonton Airport has just built a huge addition and could have used this model, but didn’t. This makes for a much quicker more orderly plane loading with absolutely no annoying lineups because the people arrive at the gate randomly.
Today we are flying aboard a Bangkok Air plane and the flight attendants are fast, efficient and visible at all times. I don’t know where the AC attendants hide buy sometimes to search one out is a herculean task. On board the plane, I have been offered nuts, then a Coke, lunch, then another Coke, tea or coffee, yet another Coke and two rounds of water. The flight is only 3 ½ hours.
Meeting the MV Orion person outside Immigration at the Male airport goes smoothly. Katie is waiting there with a sign and a smile. We are first to arrive so we are directed to the coffee shop to wait. More divers arrive on the flights following ours. We load onto a dhoni (tender skiff), it is brand new and what a boat! There is a dance floor for a staging area and a huge deck on the back. Everyone is giddy with anticipation.
First order of business is lunch and it is the third meal for us today. An omen of things to come. Boat briefing, unpacking and exploring are followed by supper and a general dive briefing.
We have arrived in the Maldives.