Together with our two sons we flew with the A320 of Edelweiss Air from Zurich to Male. The plane was not fully booked because there was no holiday season and we got a row of four people for us, although the little ones fly for free. You can reserve seats for CHF 50 in advance, which we did, but didn't need to do in the end. For the little ones there was a special meal plus 10kg additional luggage allowance.
The plane itself cannot compete with Sri Lankan or of course Emirates. There is no on-board entertainment system (apart from the radio) and on small LCD screens on the ceiling two films in the category "Understanding Women" were shown. But we didn't care, because we had our own entertainment in the form of the two boys with us. The outward flight was at night and so we could sleep a little bit, well at least the little ones. The return flight was then during the day and we had to play with the little ones all the time, but we knew that in advance.
Arrived in Hulhule our two little ones proved their worth, we could pass all of them and first through the passport control; -)
Embudu is only a few kilometres away from the airport and so we only had to take a short boat transfer on Noor X. It was organized by the hotel and everything worked perfectly - as always. After three quarters of an hour we were on the island and were received at the provisional reception. This is the advantage of Embudu, 2 hours after landing you are already on the beach.
To make it short, the Superior Bungalows are simply underground in terms of quality and comfort. In Europe, one would call such a thing "a flophouse" with a lot of goodwill. My brother-in-law was in a renovated standard bungalow, which was better by far - and cheaper. Superior bungalows are not worth their money effectively. The water bungalows have also been renovated and look good from the outside.
The food got much better! The buffet presented itself to us varied and versatile. The Embudu crew was even named the best of the Maldives. Not bad for a three-star island! In the morning continental and also english/american breakfast.
At lunchtime, a light selection of dishes with rice, vegetables, meat and fish is more likely to be served. In the evening the whole thing in a similar style but more luxuriant and there were several theme evenings, such as e. g. "Italian" or "Sri Lankan" night.
As always, something is being rebuilt somewhere, but that's the way it is in the Maldives. Apart from that, the island is in a very good condition and the beach is still there - despite Embudu's lack of breakwaters.
Ten years after the Coral Bleeching, you don't see much of the "catastrophe" anymore. The reefs have recovered very well and only the human being stands in the way of a complete recovery.
The base is still operated by Diverland Embudu and the dive sites, which are approached have not changed much. If I write nothing has changed at the dive center, but that's not quite true. Something has changed a lot, namely prices. Since the last visit to Embudu, diving has become more than 50% more expensive. The staff is now very careful to keep the dives as short as possible, i. e. you go diving as much as possible in the Embudu channel, that's only 15 minutes away. However, you can still ask for the full price. The tolerance of the guides also leaves a lot to be desired. The sixty minutes are pushed through in the name of security. It doesn't help much to shoot up the decorative buoy at T+59 minutes and then make a comfortable safety stop. We were actually asked to believe that we wanted to start a big search at 62 minutes (although the buoy is well visible). Other dives, such as the Embudu Express, are limited to 35 minutes in advance and no diver is allowed a blue water ascent, no matter how many hundreds of dives have already been made.
On the bill, after all, I did more than 150 dives on Embudu altogether, there was a ten percent discount.
The Manta Point in the south near Ghuli is no longer used as there are no more manta rays. Sharks have become once again rarer, but this is not surprising. Fishing and finning is now practised everywhere in the Maldives, even in front of the tourist islands and not even hidden. Obviously, this is now allowed or at least tolerated everywhere.
Of course, neither the island nor the dive center nor the airline can be held responsible for the weather. What a pity, that would have been a bonus! Although June is the main rainy season, we had exceptionally good weather with a bit of showers, but this may have taken half a day out of the three weeks.
We're through with Embudu. It smells a little bit of rip-off. On the website, for example, it says that children under two years of age are free of charge and then you realize that you have to pay for a bungalow with three beds, which is highly dubious.
There are other beautiful destinations in the world. As long as the underwater world is destroyed by local fishermen, we will not be seen there. I don't need a dead sea, I can go diving in a local lake.