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Skinwalker story 1





About 18 years ago, my buddy Kyle and I went canoeing down in south Georgia during the summer. The first part of the trip took us down the Satilla, a beautiful black water river with white sandy beaches. That part of the vacation was uneventful. The trip through the Okefenokee Swamp was not, however.

Even at the age of 17 we were fairly experienced campers. Every weekend we would hike or float down a river. We never left without first plotting a detailed map and we had the best equipment a couple of teenagers could afford. We always planned for the unexpected and made sure to take an extra couple of days worth of supplies. The trip into the swamp was only going to be a short day trip, leaving early in the morning and returning before dusk. We were totally unprepared for what happened.

We set off into the swamp early Saturday morning, leisurely paddling along the well marked canoe trail. We took in the sights of the gorgeous landscape, the beautiful plants and of course we marveled at the alligators. The two of us were loving every minute of our trek. Nearing midday, we became hungry so we paddled away from the trail a short distance, tied up to a tree, and made lunch.

After eating our ramen noodles and jerky we relaxed in the canoe, and soon both of us fell asleep. We woke up a couple of hours later and started paddling back to the main path. We thought so, anyway.

It didn't take us long to realize that we were lost. Neither of us felt any panic or distress. We had been in worse situtations and never failed to get through them. We were both confident we would soon find our way out of the maze in which we found ourselves.

The hours passed and the sun was getting lower in the sky. Still far from panicking, we were growing a bit anxious. We were just chalking it up to another 'Scott and Kyle Adventure'.

The sky continued to darken. At this point, we realized that we were going to have to spend the night in the swamp. Again, it was nothing we were really all that concerned about. We knew that the park rangers would be out looking for us the next day since our return time had come and gone. Kyle's family was staying in a nearby lodge, and even though we knew they naturally worried about us, we also knew that they were confident in our abilities and outdoor skills.

In the Okefenokee, camping is allowed only on platforms built above the water. That way the gators can't get ya. Obviously, we didn't have the luxury of a platform, so we tied up to another tree and just made ourselves as comfortable as possible in the boat.

We passed the time by eating, fishing, and watching the gators. Soon the sun had completely decended and it was night. It was eerily beautiful, and it seemed that Mother Nature had cranked up the volume to 11. The birds, frogs, insects and other swamp creatures became louder and louder. We talked about the sort of things that teenage boys talk about. We laughed and just enjoyed the moments.

THUMP. Something hit the bottom of our boat. THUMP THUMP. Again, something hit our boat. Kyle raised our small lantern and we saw what had to have been the largest alligator in the whole freaking swamp swim past. If it was less than 15 feet long I would be surprised. It turned around and came straight at us, hitting the boat again. Kyle grabbed his oar and smacked the water, hoping to scare the damn thing away. The gator seemed to grow even more brazen and aggressive and once again made a pass at our boat, really hitting it hard and rocking it a good bit. I felt like I was in an alligator version of 'Jaws'. We needed a bigger boat, indeed! I too grabbed an oar and we both began beating the hell out of the water. The gator went under us, REALLY knocked the shit out of the boat, and swam away. We thought it had left for good, but it returned after about 5 minutes. We repeated this entire cycle about 4 times. We were really getting scared that this fucker wanted to kill us. It swam away again, and we waited for it to make another strike.

Then everything went silent. Instantly. And by silent, I mean there was NOTHING making a sound. Not a fucking peep. Even the mosquitos that had been pestering us by buzzing around our faces had suddenly disappeared. We both looked at each other; our puzzled faces were illuminated by the dim lantern. Neither of us wanted to say anything to break the silence. I don't really think either of us could have said anything, anyway.

SPLASH. SPLISH SPLASH. The sound was off to our right, probably 20-30 yards away. That damn gator again, I thought. Thankfully the eerie silence was giving way to some sort of activity. Nope, nothing else made a sound. SPLAAASH. This one sounded heavier; more violent. I told myself it was still just the gator.

Kyle whispered. "Why is it so quiet?"
I didn't have an answer. Surely, no animal in the swamp was so threatening that even the damn crickets and skeeters shut up. Not even our gator menace had quieted the sounds of the Okefenokee.

Of course, as in all movie thrillers, the lantern went out and we couldn't reignite it. And of course, as in all situations like this, the clouds parted and the moon revealed itself.

And of course, the two teenage boys who up to this point were relatively unrattled nearly pissed themselves.

SPLASH! Something darted through the trees to our right. It was not an animal. Well, if it was an animal it was walking on its hind legs. A bear maybe?

"Christ. What in the fuck was that?!" I said, but not too loudly. Didn't want it to hear me.

"SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS". Something made a sound like air escaping from a tire. The same figure we saw earlier moved through the trees again.

CRACK! THUMP. CRAAACK! The cracks were sharp and violent. The thump was dull and had a hollow tone to it. Still no other sounds in the whole freaking area.

"SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS". There it was again, only a little louder.


Several minutes passed with nothing happening. Our little part of the world was still deathly silent.


PLOP.

Something landed in the water right next to our canoe. PLOP. PLOP PLOP PLOP. It became apparent that the thing was throwing pebbles or something at us.
Okay, now this is getting fucking ridiculous, I thought. Bears don't fucking throw things. Both Kyle and I simultaneously drew our hunting knives from their sheaths, as if that was going to do anything whatsoever.

What happened next was something I will never forget. It is something that both of us wish we had dreamed. It is something that we don't even speak about when we see each other almost 20 years later. Jesus, I'm getting goosebumps and quite nervous even typing this.

CLINK. Something landed in our canoe. CLINK CLINK. Two more somethings landed in our canoe. CLINK CLINK CLINK. Ok, enough with fucking THROWING SHIT INTO OUR CANOE!

It was then we realized that whatever the objects were had come from above, NOT from either side. We looked at each other, our faces so white they rivaled the moon. At the same time, our gazes drew upward.

There it was. Sitting in the tree. OUR TREE. The tree to which we were tied. You know that goat in Jurassic Park that was tied up for the T-Rex to eat? Yeah, we were that goat.

I swear to christ that this thing must have been a child of the moon. The moon seemed to cast down its light on our friend in particular, illuminating it much more clearly than anything else in the area. It was as if the moon wanted us to see this thing in all its glory.

It was humanoid- it had the body of a man with the head of the skull of some kind of animal. It looked kind of like a wolf or coyote or something similar. The eyes glowed yellow, and there was fur covering the shoulders and upper body. This thing was built like a tank, too. Its muscles rippled under its pale skin. It breathed deeply and slowly. In one hand it held some sort of staff that was maybe 3 feet long with a huge knot at one end. Around its neck there was a pouch made from leather.

Oh, one thing I should mention is that this tree had no branches on the lower half of the tree where the creature was. It was grasping the tree with one arm, the staff clutched tightly in that hand. Its feet seemed to be dug into the tree trunk.
With its free hand, he pointed at us. Keep in mind that Kyle and I were in opposite ends of the boat, but each of us swore that it was looking straight into the eyes of each of us. Strangely, our sense of fear went away once it gazed into us. A sense of calm and 'This is gonna be ok' came over us. Slowly, it withdrew its outstretched hand, opened the pouch around its neck, reached two long fingers inside and took something out. It slowly extended its arm again, and dropped the objects into our boat.

"GWAHHHHHHHHHHHHH SSSSSSSSSSSSSKKKKKKKKKKKKKHHHHHH" is the best approximation of the sound it made. It pointed at us again, then pointed off into the distance, to our right.

It leapt from the tree, landed with a very quiet splash, and darted off. The clouds gathered around the moon, and all the swamp's inhabitants began making their music once again.

Of course, we didn't sleep a wink. We sat in silence for the rest of the night, too awed and scared to speak.

The direction it pointed to turned out to be the way back to the trail.

The objects in our boat? Alligator teeth. Freshly dug out from a recently dead gator.

It was clear that this thing had been watching over us.

Once we got back to the canoe center, we told the story of being lost and the gator to the park rangers and Kyle's family. We left the part about our friend out. After we all settled down a bit, we talked to the rangers about the history of the swamp, hoping to gain some insight into what had happened. They mentioned nothing about ghosts, and scoffed at us when we brought it up. They did say that many indian burial mounds have been found, though... some 4000 years old.

Anyway, Kyle and I talked it about once and only once after it happened. It was so amazing, unbelievable, and awe inspiring that we have no need to discuss it I guess. As for telling the story, no one would believe us anyway.


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The Skinwalker

In some Native American legends, a skin-walker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists.

Navajo skinwalker: the Yenaldlooshii

Possibly the best documented skinwalker beliefs are those relating to the Navajo Yeenaaldlooshii (literally "with it, he goes on all fours" in the Navajo language). A Yeenaaldlooshii is one of several varieties of Navajo witch (specifically an ’ánt’įįhnii or practitioner of the Witchery Way, as opposed to a user of curse-objects (’adagąsh) or a practitioner of Frenzy Way (’azhįtee)). Technically, the term refers to an ’ánt’įįhnii who is using his (rarely her) powers to travel in animal form. In some versions men or women who have attained the highest level of priesthood then commit the act of killing an immediate member of their family, and then have thus gained the evil powers that are associated with skinwalkers.

The ’ánt’įįhnii are human beings who have gained supernatural power by breaking a cultural taboo. Specifically, a person is said to gain the power to become a Yeenaaldlooshii upon initiation into the Witchery Way. Both men and women can become ’ánt’įįhnii and therefore possibly skinwalkers, but men are far more numerous. It is generally thought that only childless women can become witches.

Although it is most frequently seen as a coyote, wolf, owl, fox, or crow, the Yeenaaldlooshii is said to have the power to assume the form of any animal they choose, depending on what kind of abilities they need. Witches use the form for expedient travel, especially to the Navajo equivalent of the 'Black Mass', a perverted song (and the central rite of the Witchery Way) used to curse instead of to heal. They also may transform to escape from pursuers.

Some Navajo also believe that skinwalkers have the ability to steal the "skin" or body of a person. The Navajo believe that if you lock eyes with a skinwalker they can absorb themselves into your body. It is also said that skinwalkers avoid the light and that their eyes glow like an animal's when in human form and when in animal form their eyes do not glow as an animal's would.

A skinwalker is usually described as naked, except for a coyote skin, or wolf skin. Some Navajos describe them as a mutated version of the animal in question. The skin may just be a mask, like those which are the only garment worn in the witches' sing.

Because animal skins are used primarily by skinwalkers, the pelt of animals such as bears, coyotes, wolves, and cougars are strictly tabooed. Sheepskin and buckskin are probably two of the few hides used by Navajos; the latter is used only for ceremonial purposes.

Often, Navajos will tell of their encounter with a skinwalker, though there is a lot of hesitancy to reveal the story to non-Navajos, or (understandably) to talk of such frightening things at night. Sometimes the skinwalker will try to break into the house and attack the people inside, and will often bang on the walls of the house, knock on the windows, and climb onto the roofs. Sometimes, a strange, animal-like figure is seen standing outside the window, peering in. Other times, a skinwalker may attack a vehicle and cause a car accident. The skinwalkers are described as being fast, agile, and impossible to catch. Though some attempts have been made to shoot or kill one, they are not usually successful. Sometimes a skinwalker will be tracked down, only to lead to the house of someone known to the tracker. As in European werewolf lore, sometimes a wounded skinwalker will escape, only to have someone turn up later with a similar wound which reveals them to be the witch. It is said that if a Navajo was to know the person behind the skinwalker they had to pronounce the full name, and about three days later that person would either get sick or die for the wrong that they have committed.

According to Navajo legend, skinwalkers can have the power to read human thoughts. They also possess the ability to make any human or animal noise they choose. A skinwalker may use the voice of a relative or the cry of an infant to lure victims out of the safety of their homes.

The legend of the skinwalkers tells of God giving the people a gift of transformation that was used only against their enemies. Over time, the people began to abuse this power, thus bringing God to earth to reclaim it. Some gave the power up and others hid with it and passed the knowledge to others.

Some tribes believe that skinwalkers can use the spit, hair, or shoes and old clothing of a person to make curses that will attack that specific person. For this reason many Navajo will never spit or leave shoes outside. They also take great care to see that any hair or nail clippings are burned. Children are advised that if they urinate outside to kick dirt over the spot so that a skinwalker cannot use it to make a curse against them.

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World's Scariest Bridges (part 3)

From sky-high suspension bridges to dilapidated rope bridges, these crossings aren’t for the meek.

20. Millau Viaduct, France

Looking down on clouds is to be expected from an airplane, but it’s a bit more unsettling in a car. Yet that’s often the sight when driving across this bridge, which is taller than the Eiffel Tower at its highest point. In fact, when it opened in 2004, it claimed the title of the world’s tallest vehicular bridge.
Where: Crossing the Tarn Valley, near Millau in southern France.
Stats: Less than 2 miles long; 1,125 feet from the valley floor to the peak of its tallest mast.


21. Musou Tsuribashi, Japan

Bring a balancing pole—the only railings you’ll find on this 50-year-old bridge are two thin barely-there ropes. That’s a bit disconcerting considering the dizzying heights reached by this bridge, especially when the winds begin to howl over the forest below.
Where: In the remote wilderness of the Southern Japanese Alps (also known as the Akaishi Mountains).
Stats: The bridge is so remote that not much is known about its length and height.

22. Vitim River Bridge, Russia

Surviving this bridge crossing is considered such an accomplishment that the 34 people who have done it created their own Facebook page. The old railway bridge is only 50 feet above the water, so what makes it scary? Well, it’s barely wide enough for one car, and it’s iced over for much of the year—oh, and did we mention that there are no railings to catch your fall?
Where: Crossing over the Vitim River, a tributary of the Lena River, in eastern Siberia.
Stats: 1,870 feet long and 50 feet above the water.

23. Road Between Tierradentro to La Plata, Colombia

This mountain road is littered with simple bamboo bridges that wobble violently as you cross, with water rushing mere inches below you. The slickness caused by frequent torrential rainfall increases the danger quotient even more. Daredevils brave this road to see the massive underground tombs in the National Archeological Park of Tierradentro. A better option, perhaps? Taking the bus.
Where: On the road between Tierradentro to La Plata in southern Colombia.
Stats: Because it’s so remote, there are no official stats.


24. Volgograd Bridge, Russia

This bridge is practically brand new, but it’s amazing it hasn’t been shut down. During a violent storm in May 2010, the roadway began to shake and oscillate, in a similar manner to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge before it collapsed in 1940. The rippling roadway caused cars to be thrown into the air and careen into the opposite lane. Authorities blamed it on an earthquake, but seismologists disagreed. The safety investigation is ongoing, even as cars still drive across.
Where: In the southern Russian city of Volgograd, crossing the Volga River.
Stats: 4.5 miles long



25. Quepos Bridge, Costa Rica

Known as the “Oh My God” bridge, this crossing is so narrow that cars can travel only in one direction. After waiting your turn, you pile onto the bridge with many other cars (including heavy trucks). The loose slats of the roadway clank loudly while the bridge shakes under the weight of all the vehicles.
Where: On the road from Jaco to Quepos on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.
Stats: No official stats.


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Unicorn caught on camera?

On Oct. 5, a video was posted to YouTube: A white horse skitters through the bushes in a sun-dappled forest. The camera zooms in. The white horse has what looks to be a horn on its head.



A unicorn? In Ontario? Hogwash!
Not so fast, doubting Thomas. The video was followed up by a rather official-sounding backer: the Ontario Science Center, an agency of the Canadian government. A news release was issued:
"Amateur video depicting what could be one of the most elusive legendary creatures, the unicorn, has been captured on film by a Toronto resident. ... The Science Centre is reviewing the footage frame-by-frame to determine whether Hickey-Jones' claim is legitimate."
The center set up an emergency unicorn hotline for more information and sightings.
Could it be true? Could a unicorn exist?...
In a phone call yesterday to the center's media office, the spokeswoman predicted a new unicorn would be sighted sometime in November. Oh really? They're predicting their sightings now?The group just happens to have an new exhibition to promote "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids" and, well, the unicorn sighting may have something to do with that, the spokeswoman conceded.
Way to ruin a dream, Ontario Science Center.
Amateur video depicting what could be one of the most elusive legendary creatures, the unicorn, has been captured on film by a Toronto resident. The video in question, shot by a local birdwatcher, Peter Hickey-Jones, shows what appears to be a white horse with a single horn on its head emerging from the trees in the Don Valley wetland.
"I was trying to film a pileated woodpecker when I saw what looked like a bright white horse in the distance. When I got a little closer, I noticed the horn on its head. I'm not one to jump to conclusions but I'm certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that what I saw was a unicorn. I'm just glad I got it on film."
Hickey-Jones brought the footage to the Ontario Science Centre to be analyzed by experts. The Science Centre is reviewing the footage frame-by-frame to determine whether Hickey-Jones' claim is legitimate. With closer examination, Science Centre staff is hoping to establish whether or not a genuine unicorn sighting has occurred.
In the meantime, the Science Centre is asking the public to use caution if they think they see a unicorn. Do not make any sudden movements or attempt to use flash photography. Although legends of unicorns state that they are peaceful creatures, scientists worry that they may harm themselves or others if they end up on a road or highway. The Ontario Science Centre has set up an emergency unicorn hotline for the public for further information on unicorns or to report any unusual or questionable sightings.

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Rangali Island, The Maldives

















A perfect vision of paradise, where the tropical splendour of the Maldives combines with world-class hospitality. This is a sybaritic combination of three distinct resort experiences on two islands, surrounded by a coral reef and lagoon. Winner of 'Best Hotel in the World' at the 2005 Sunday Times Travel Awards, the resort is renowned for its attentive service and fine cuisine, along with an abundance of leisure facilities. Beaches of soft white sand fringed by palms lead to the Indian Ocean. Outstanding diving in the world's most remarkable waters is on offer, as well as a wealth of other sports.
Indulge yourself in the two spas, fine food and water sports. Gourmets will love discovering the fine cuisine, which ranges from seafood specialties, Japanese, international and spa cuisine as well as memorable gourmet food and wine dinners in the resort’s extensive wine cellar. Remember to take time out to explore some of the resort’s 5000 bottles of wine, which are lovingly selected by the resident Sommelier.
source


Conrad

Discover barefoot luxury at the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, set on two private islands among miles of idyllic white-sand beach and unspoilt reef. Arrive at our Maldives hotel in style in a seaplane over the lagoon, dine in the world's first all-glass, undersea restaurant and indulge in luxurious spa therapies.
Sited in a picturesque corner of the Maldives, our luxury Maldives resort is spread across two islands, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and lagoon. Twice voted 'Best Hotel in the World' and several times 'Best Resort', our Maldives hotel boasts 50 luxurious water villas, 79 exotic beach villas and 21 fabulous spa water villas with private treatment rooms. Scattered in the tropical gardens on Rangalifinolhu Island, the elegant beach villas at our hotel in Maldives are just steps away from the beach. Stunning living areas are arranged around courtyards with a fountain, while huge outdoor garden-bathrooms offer a taste of the tropics, enormous glass doors substitute for walls and ingenious landscaping ensures total seclusion. Deluxe Beach Villas also have a private plunge pool and garden.
Rangali Island is home to 50 water villas of ever increasing degrees of luxury. The elegant villas set on stilts over the ocean offer sweeping views of turquoise surrounds complemented by iridescent sunsets. With ocean view baths, Philippe Starck fittings, private sun decks, espresso machines and Bulgari bathroom goodies, it is almost impossible to imagine anything more beautiful. Guests staying in our Maldives hotel's Superior and Deluxe Water Villas will love the Jacuzzi pool on the sun deck, while Premier Water Villas have an additional jacuzzi in the bathroom with in-built satellite TV. Two Sunset Water Villas stand in a secluded part of the lagoon and offer a private butler, glass-floored living room, rotating bed and ocean pool.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island can only be reached via seaplane from Male. Our reservations team will be in touch upon receiving a reservation to discuss and organise seaplane transfers and overnight accommodation options in Male if required.
A breathtaking 30-minute seaplane flight over the islands brings you from Male International Airport to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The resort will automatically arrange seaplane transfers on receipt of your flight details. Transfers do not operate at night, so resort staff will arrange an overnight stay in Male (at an extra charge) for guests with early departures or late arrivals. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort team collects guests at the airport and accompanies them by shuttle bus to the separate Seaplane Terminal where there is an exclusive Conrad lounge for guests.
Note: Seaplane transfer and Male accommodation are chargeable. The seaplane transfer is charged at US$420 per person return. Children aged between 2 and 12 receive a 50% discount.

Directions from Male International Airport

Distance from resort: 96 km. Flying time: 30 min. Directions: All guests are met by our representative at Male International Airport and transferred to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island on Hulhule Island by a 30-minute seaplane ride.

Transportation to and from the airport

The resort automatically arranges seaplane transfers on receipt of your flight details. These do not operate at night so resort staff will arrange an overnight stay in Male (at an extra charge) for guests with early departures or late arrivals. The resorts staff collects guests at the airport and accompanies them by shuttle bus to the separate Seaplane Terminal where there is a private Conrad lounge for guests.

What to do:

Discover Snorkeling
Anyone who has yet to experience snorkelling and does not want to pass up a great opportunity to discover the underwater world should not miss this excursion.

Snorkeling Hopping
A trip on the resort speedboat to the best snorkelling sites on the nearby coral reefs.

Snorkeling Safari
A tour of some of our favourite snorkelling sites to see turtles, sharks and possibly even a manta ray.

Sunrise Snorkeling Hopping
A very special trip. Head off by speedboat in the early morning and visit the open-water reefs of South Ari Atoll before experiencing the three best snorkelling venues, each with its own special characteristics: turtles, manta rays, coral and schools of colourful tropical fish.

Sunrise Snorkeling
The perfect trip for all snorkelling fanatics which uncovers the other side of life on the reef. The excursion departs Rangali on a dhoni when the first rays of light are touching the crystal clear water of the lagoon.

Dream Island Trip
This excursion follows in the footsteps of Robinson Crusoe with a visit to a nearby deserted island to enjoy a stroll along pristine white beaches or a snorkel among the myriad of fish on the reef, surfacing only for the specially prepared picnic lunch.

Picnic on Deserted Island
Spend half a day on our private island, relax on the beach, swim and work up an appetite for a picnic lunch served in the shade of a palm tree.

Island Hopping
This full-day trip is perfect for anyone wishing to discover the Maldives as it hops from one island to another by speedboat. The first stop is on a local village island for sightseeing, the second on a stunning deserted island where we will set up a picnic lunch, and then on the third island, a nearby resort, a choice of more snorkelling or just relaxation awaits.

Fishing Village
Visit a local fishing village for a glimpse of the Maldivian way of life. See the Mosque, the open-air children's primary school and the boat yard with fishing dhonies (local boats).

Mandhoo trip
Mandhoo is a local island close to the resort. Tour the village and then explore the resort's gardens, where trees, plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown, before trying fruit and coconut milk from the island's orchards, fresh from the trees.

Lucky Dolphin Trip
An excursion to spot the most amazing animals in the sea: the playful Spinner Dolphins who call the Indian Ocean their home.

Luxury Lucky Dolphin Cruise
A 90-minute sunset trip on board the resort's luxury cruiser, Rehendi, to discover the dolphin, the most amazing aquatic mammal.

Dhoni Sunset Cruise
The ultimate romantic cruise aboard the dhoni, leaving the island at sunset. Lay back and relax on the cushions spread out on the sundeck of the boat while sipping fresh coconut milk.

Luxury Sunset Cruise
Hop on the luxury cruiser Rehendi, leave the island late in the afternoon and enjoy the sunset while sipping champagne and nibbling canapés.

Fishing (Sunrise, Sunset or Night Fishing)
At sunset or at night, take a dhoni boat to nearby reefs and go fishing in true Maldivian style using a hand-reel line.

Big Game Fishing
The fishing trip of a lifetime aboard our deep-sea fishing boat and fish for marlin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo and many others.

Private Luxury Cruises by Rehendi
The resort's luxury cruiser offers an exquisite blend of comfort, elegance and special features, including comfortable cabins and a large living area. The boat can be booked for trips, excursions, dolphin cruises, private diving, or simply a pleasant afternoon under the Maldivian sun or romantic sunset cruise.

Private Cruises by Yacht
Explore the Indian Ocean on the Rangali Rani, our traditional Turkish yacht with carved wooden interiors and three air-conditioned cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. The crew navigates shimmering turquoise seas stopping only to discover deserted islands, coral reefs and dolphins. Treasure the memories of fine dining on the deck with a backdrop of iridescent sunsets and a blanket of stars.

Glass-bottomed boat trip
Take a trip to our fabulous reefs and watch the underwater wildlife without getting your feet wet with this memorable trip on our glass-bottomed boat.

Casino Night
Try your hand a blackjack, poker and the roulette table – strictly for fun, of course.

Bodu Beru Demonstration
'Bodu Beru' means 'big drums' in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi. Come and see the powerful drumming, singing and dancing performance by our team members.

Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island, 2034, Maldives
Tel: 960-668-0629
Guest Fax: 960-668-0619




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Oldest galaxy?

Astronomers believe they've found the oldest thing they've ever seen in the universe: It's a galaxy far, far away from a time long, long ago.
Hidden in a Hubble Space Telescope photo released earlier this year is a small smudge of light that European astronomers now calculate is a galaxy from 13.1 billion years ago. That's a time when the universe was very young, just shy of 600 million years old. That would make it the earliest and most distant galaxy seen so far.
By now the galaxy is so ancient it probably doesn't exist in its earlier form and has already merged into bigger neighbors, said Matthew Lehnert of the Paris Observatory, lead author of the study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Remove Formatting from selection"We're looking at the universe when it was a 20th of its current age," said California Institute of Technology astronomy professor Richard Ellis, who wasn't part of the discovery team. "In human terms, we're looking at a 4-year-old boy in the life span of an adult."
While Ellis finds the basis for the study "pretty good," there have been other claims about the age of distant space objects that have not held up to scrutiny. And some experts have questions about this one. But even the skeptics praised the study as important and interesting.
The European astronomers calculated the age after 16 hours of observations from a telescope in Chile that looked at light signatures of cooling hydrogen gas.
Earlier this year, astronomers had made a general estimate of 600 to 800 million years after the Big Bang for the most distant fuzzy points of light in the Hubble photograph, which was presented at an astronomy meeting back in January.
In the new study, researchers focused on a single galaxy in their analysis of hydrogen's light signature, further pinpointing the age. Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was the scientist behind the Hubble image, said it provides confirmation for the age using a different method, something he called amazing "for such faint objects."
The new galaxy doesn't have a name — just a series of letters and numbers. So Lehnert said he and colleagues have called it "the high red-shift blob. "Because it takes so long for the light to travel such a vast time and distance, astronomers are seeing what the galaxy looked like 13.1 billion years ago at a time when it was quite young — maybe even as young as 100 million years old — Lehnert said. It has very little of the carbon or metal that we see in more mature stars and is full of young, blue massive stars, he said.
What's most interesting to astronomers is that this finding fits with theories about when the first stars and galaxies were born. This galaxy would have formed not too soon after them.
"We're looking almost to the edge, almost within 100 million years of seeing the very first objects," Ellis said. "One hundred million years to a human seems an awful long time, but in astronomical time periods, that's nothing compared to the life of the stars."

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