"Soneva Fushi is quite simply the closest thing to Paradise I have been lucky enough to visit. At 100 acres, the island was much larger than I expected – a tropical rainforest fringed by powder white sands and impossibly blue waters. I find it difficult to keep still for very long, but fortunately there is so much to do on Soneva Fushi. I had a great time exploring the lost world of the island’s jungle interior on foot and bicycle which was teeming with wildlife from hermit crabs to flying foxes. I snorkelled amongst parrot fish, rays and turtles, and windsurfed across the lagoon under a hot Maldivian sun.
Soneva Fushi has a very strong sustainability ethic and it was fascinating to visit some of their pioneering environmental projects such as their solar farm (the Maldives’ largest), the desalination plant and their recycling and composting centre. My evenings began with a leisurely 45-minute stroll around the island’s perimeter, the soft sand squeezing between my toes as I watched the baby reef sharks dancing in and out of the surf. I’ll never forget the sight of a pair of dolphins silhouetted against the setting sun as I sipped an ice-cold mohito from the Me Dhuniye bar. Life doesn’t get much better than this I thought to myself. I have never eaten as well as I did on Soneva Fushi and much of the food is grown on the island or fished from the waters surrounding Soneva Fushi. The service was out of this world, the staff so welcoming, friendly and eager to please. The culinary highlight was dinner on a sandbank, some half a mile out into the lagoon. The other dinner guests were whisked over by the resort boat, but I was determined to get there under my own power so paddled my way across in a kayak. Thankfully the tides didn’t carry me away and 14 minutes’ hard toil later I was greeted by Abhuli, my Friday, with a towel and a fresh king coconut with a straw – surely the most thirst-quenching drink in the tropics.
That evening I gave a talk to my fellow dinner guests about my adventures in the polar regions and how these wildernesses are being transformed by global warning. It was particularly poignant to have been speaking on a sandbank in the Maldives, because even though the Arctic Ice Cap is thousands of miles away, the melting ice caps are going to have a direct impact on low-lying nations like the Maldives as global sea levels continue to rise. My attitude to climate change is one of hope, but we need to act now. And Soneva Fushi is setting the world an example about how we can all live sustainably without having a negative impact on our daily lives. It is a very special place and I feel very privileged to have stayed there."