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Clearing into the Maldives at Male

By SV Rogue Brit — last modified Mar 31, 2015 08:16 AM

Published: 2015-03-11 00:00:00
Countries: Maldives

S/V ROGUE BRIT cleared into the Maldives at Male' on February 22nd, 2015.

Clearance

Our agent, Assad (Tel :(+ 960) 3300794 | Fax: (+ 960) 3300794 | Mobile (+960 ) 7934946 | Email:Assad@realseahawksmaldives.com | Address: G.Reynis/Rahdhebaimagu Male' ) told us via sailmail to meet the customs, immigration and port authority officials at the designated location of 4 degrees 10 minutes, 20 seconds north, 73 degrees 29 minutes 20 seconds east.

We arrived at 8:00 am, on Sunday morning (a week day in the Maldives) where we found that the water depth was 160 feet, a strong current was flowing and a 20 knot wind was blowing.  Also, high speed ferry boats kept passing creating huge wakes. We tried anchoring at a nearby spot where the depth was only 105 feet, but the anchor would not hold on the hard bottom.  We found that we could only remain in that area by slowly motoring into the current.  After seven long hours of motoring, the officials arrived.  Later, it became obvious that we could have simply anchored in Port HulHulle, about 2 miles away, and the officials would have found us there.

A Coast Guard speedboat dropped off four people and left.  The paperwork was routine, except that they wanted an exhaustive listing of medications on board complete with the quantities of pills remaining. Also they routinely impounded our passports.  When it was time to head for shore, they used a private boat.  Our agent later billed us $25.20 for the use of that boat.  At Port HulHulle, they'd have used the much cheaper ferry.

Anchoring

Throughout the Male' atoll, the water depth is consistently between 140 feet and 160 feet.  Our anchor chain is only 250 feet long and with the chain on a steep angle, we could not get our Delta anchor to bite.  Also, we were concerned that if it got stuck, we could never retrieve it.  A local anchor would work much better.  We had seen them offered for sale previously.  These are a rusty grappling hook made from rebar tied to 600 feet of tough thin nylon rope.  If that gets stuck, you've only lost $100.

Port HulHulle

The water depth of Port HulHulle is not marked on our Navionics charts.  We found that the entrance depth was about 21 feet minimum and that the water depth elsewhere was about 35 feet.

There is no dinghy dock.  There is a jetty made of sheet piling with a concrete cap. From this, project two docks with steps that are in constant use with passengers loading and unloading every few minutes.  All boats in the area have only one speed - flat out.  We found it hard to know how to leave the dinghy unattended.  If left against the sheet piling, the barnacles on the sheet piles could wear holes in the dinghy fabric.  There was no good solution. Each time, we tried something else.

Only a pleasant ten minutes' walk away, there are shops and restaurants, and we did see an office for the cell phone company Ooredoo, but we had already used the one in Male' so never visited it. Groceries were very reasonably priced.  We bought canned goods, eggs, vegetables and milk.  We used the nearest restaurant twice.  It was cheap, and good.  Kristy ordered a hamburger like no other.  The bun contained slivers of beef, cucumber, and fried egg served with thirteen French fries.

Snorkeling

We motored about an hour north from Port HulHulle to Himmafushi where we found a place to anchor in 55 feet of water.  The sea was a brilliant azure color, and the water was so clear that we could see the anchor resting on the sand below.  Using the dinghy, we found a reef with about 5 feet of water depth. The fish were very colorful, but the coral was drab.  While snorkeling, Kristy noticed a grey shadow about 18-inches away from her and found herself and a shark staring at each other.  Until now, my wife wasn't known for her Olympic swimming speed.  But she reached the dinghy in nothing flat and defied gravity to reach the safety of the boat.

Ferry System

The Maldive Republic is a group of 1,700 islands with no bridges, but an excellent ferry system.  For 11 rufiyas (about 80 cents) for the two of us one way, we used the ferry from Port HulHulle to Male' every day.

Male'

Shops are remarkably well stocked. Kristy says that this place reminds her of Tehran.  Streets are crowded and narrow. Roads and sidewalks are all finished with brick pavers.  One time, we ordered lunch from a door front and ate under a tree.  We blindly ordered different things, but they looked remarkably similar.  Fried rice mixed with onions and spiced potatoes, topped with a dollop of shredded beets and a piece of purple colored chicken.  No utensils, so we ate with our fingers until Trev's chicken revealed a concave bone which we then used to scoop up the remainder of the rice.  Delicious, but an hour later, Trev had the squits.

Trev & Kristy
SY Rogue Brit

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svEquanimity
svEquanimity says:
Mar 31, 2015 07:54 AM

We found clearing into Uligan is a much better proposition if you are coming from Sri Lanka or India. The people extremely welcoming and all formalities easy. The northern islands/atolls are lovely and it took us 4 day-hoops of travel to reach Male. Around Male, the only reasonable place to anchor and access shore is Hulhumale inside a reef-fringed basin (04 13.3N, 073 32.1E) just north of the airport. When going ashore, bow and stern tie your dingy in the corner of the piers/seawall so they don't scrap along the seawall or pier pilings. All the ferries coming and going will stay clear and no one will bother your dingy. Most ferries bow-in to the seawall with egress ramps on their bows anyway, so don't use the piers. These piers are just north of the ferry terminal which makes getting to Male very easy, convenient and inexpensive.

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