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Two Months plus in the Maldives

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 12, 2012 02:24 PM

Published: 2012-04-12 14:24:12
Countries: Maldives

This is my report from the Maldives islands, where we spent 2 months and a half between January and April 2012.

Formalities

We strongly advise to choose a good agent. Some yachties have had bad experiences during our stay. ANTRAC with Asad in Uligamu and Whadhood (cellular phone 777 55 91) in Male have been efficient, clear and helpful.

Regulations

In the cruising permit, you are not allowed to stop at the villages, to have local people on board, you cannot..., you cannot...But local people are welcoming and friendly and appreciate your visit and your purchases. And resorts are costly and not every time welcome. So, it's your choice to follow the rules.....

Telecommunications

There are two networks about everywhere, and for a very reasonable price, it is possible to phone or to get Internet with a 3G USB key.

Cruising guides and charts

It is difficult to get good guides about cruising in the Maldives. We have to mention internet sites www.sailadventures.eu and www.sea-seek.com. But they are too old and have to be updated as recently, a lot of resorts and island harbors have been constructed.

It is said that there are guides avalable in Phuket..... The charts are themselves old and only renewed with satellite pictures. And they are not very precise. Nevertheless, we didn't detect big errors, and they are enough to cruise with, even inside of the atolls. But a good watcher is necessary on the bow. Google Earth is sometimes a good option.

Our best stops from North to South:

Uligamu
Port of entry, some supplies including Diesel and gasoline, beach, small harbor. Good anchorage:7?59'702N/72?13'051E

Hide Away Resort
Luxurious resort, good welcome but prices for Cresus. Ask for a mooring, or anchor with tide currents: 6?50'1N/73?02'9E

Dholivadhoo
Resort in construction. Management very welcome. Beach, snorkeling, very good anchorage: 5?59'702N/73?13'051E

Kurenidhoo
Resort welcome, but to land, 25US$/person. But a lot of activities are possible (not free..), and you can have for 15 US$ a very good meal. Beach, snorkeling. Around the anchorage, there is alot of traffic: boats and seaplanes. Sand and patches of coral 5?32'57N/73?27'74E

Gaafaru North
Isolated spot for Robinson people, nothing except sea and reef. Good shelter in good weather. Enter by the North pass with good visibility because the chart is not right. Anchorage: 4?46'63N/73?26'13E, sand, but lines of coral patches.

Tulusdhoo (alias Coca Cola island)
Quite nice village with Coca Cola plant and tin fish plants. Shops, fish available in the morning close from the local fish boats, surf spots in the ocean side of the island. Shuttles for Male. Good snorkeling outside on the NW patch. Enter by the marked pass (4 marks) and anchor on your left in 10m, sand, good holding.(4?22'60N/73?38'90E). To avoid boat traffic, it is possible to anchor on the other side in the lagoon, 10/15m, sand, but avoid some coral patches after the last green mark.

North of Tulusdhoo
You can enter in the North lagoon by a very small entry along the south side of a very small flat sand island (not in the chart). Entry: 4?23'045N/73?39'154E. Good visibility is better for your first entry. After you can anchor everywhere in the large lagoon, 10m sand, but some patches of coral.

Center of Male North atoll
A Liliput island of sand with an umbrella in its center, on the W side of a lagoon. Beach, snorkeling. Enter by the North, on 4?22'315N/73?25'088E and anchor in sand 10m, 4?22'21N/73?24'88E

Hulumale
Port of entry. Good and large anchorage in 10/15 m sand, good holding. But open to swell from W. In this case, the landing by dinghy is difficult. Shops, diesel and gasoline available from small tankers, shuttles every time for Male. Very busy and sometimes noisy.

South lagoon of Velassaru
Enter by the North pass of South Male Atoll, follow the reef side and enter close from the red mark (4?06'707N/73?26'202E). You can anchor about everywhere in the lagoon, but not too close to the resort which doesn't accept yachties. 10/15m, sand, good holding.

Rihineli North
A big area between Olhuveli resort and Rihineli resort. 25/30m sand. Very calm, nobody, snorkeling, anchorage for example at 3?50'089N/73?26'291E.

Rihineli resort
A French, Italian and English speaking resort with a lot of activities. Welcome yachties, but you have to deal with the management. Anchorage in sand and coral: 3?48'94N/73?24'35E. Enter by the South pass of the atoll and sail Eastwards. There are some marks.

Fulhidhoo
Island with a village on the North of the next atoll in the South. Enter by the North pass, there is a mark on your starboard. Quite deep and large. After, turn carefully E/NE. Anchor on 5/10m sand 3?40'55N/73?24'89. A restaurant, small shops, people very friendly.

We have been told about other spots or anchorages, but we have not experienced them. It is possible to ask for information from the captains of the big local boats cruising weekly for tourists.

Security

We didn't have security concerns anywhere. Our feeling was very good every time, and to smile and talk to the people is a good medicine. We were in Hulumale during the events of February, our agent called us to tell us not to go into Male in the afternoon, and we followed his advice. No problems in Hulumale.

In the anchorages, no problems at all. And there is some maritime traffic about everywhere. But, it seems to me that nobody listens out on the VHF, except around the ports of entry.

Summary

This is a muslim country; calls to the priest 5 times a day; a lot of mosques; women with their faces covered (more or less all in Male, generally in the villages where the social pressure is high); no children (and no girls of course) jumping in the water and swimming like in all the islands in the Pacific and Carribean islands. A lot of them don't know how to swim; No alcohol (not so bad); representation of foreign religion forbidden (people destroyed the Buddhas of the Male museum during the riots); a lot of plastic bottles everywhere, except in the resorts, the trash management is difficult and not part of their upbringing.

But all the young people go to school until the age of 15 years, learn English, so what about the future between that and fundamentalism?

So in summary, I don't know if I like the Maldives....

My sailing boat has been loaded on the specialized cargo of Sevenstar to go to Marmaris in Turkey.

Francois Tabourdeau
SV MEROE

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