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Visiting the Maldives - February 2011

By Val Ellis last modified Feb 15, 2011 03:39 PM

Published: 2011-02-15 15:39:03
Countries: Maldives

Prior to Setting off
Whilst in Cochin we contacted a lot of agents in Male who all gave us vastly different prices and information. We also contacted the Ministry of Tourism to find out the official charges. After we had spent a lot of time in negotiations via email and telephone, we finally managed to get the fees reduced and came to a good agreement with Mohamed Hameed, director of Antrac Maldives Pvt Ltd., their tel. no. is +960-331-0096, their fax no. is +960-331-0129 and their website is www.alliancemarine.com.mv. Mohamed's mobile no. is +960-777-6884 and his email address is mhameed@alliancemarine.com.mv.

Before leaving India he sent us an email with a breakdown of all the charges so we knew exactly how much it was going to cost us and asked us to complete a form on line and email him a crew list. We then rang him on departure with our expected ETA in Uligam and he told us to contact his representative there called Asad and his mobile no. is +960-793-4946.

Arrival in Uligam
We found Asad extremely helpful, and when we anchored off Uligam he came out in a launch with the immigration officer and other officials who quickly and easily checked us into the country and stamped our passports with a one month visa. We were also presented with a plaque and some flowers as we were the first boat to arrive there this year. We had nothing to pay at this time. We went ashore the next day and Asad was again very helpful, getting us a local sim card for our phone, details of how to connect to the internet, took us to the small local shop and to the Customs office for our Inter Atoll Cruising Permit for one month. We were told by Niyaz, the Immigration officer, to be sure not to put "tourist" or "holiday" on our paperwork and thus we would not be eligible for the 8$ per day tourist tax. You must put calling for provisions or repairs or similar. All persons on board should likewise be crew and not passengers to avoid this tax. We were told that we need not pay anything until we got to Male and went to see Mohamed, which was convenient for us as we had to see him after one month to renew our visa and cruising permit.

To Cruise the islands or Not?
If you do not want to cruise The Maldives and only stay in Uligam, then it is possible to anchor there and check in and out without needing a permit. It seems unclear at the moment how long you can stay there, we have heard anything from 3 - 14 days.

We took just under one month to cruise down to Male, staying in some lovely anchorages and also visiting the beautiful Hideaway Resort where we rang and obtained permission to stay on one of their buoys free of charge.

Arrival in Male
On arrival in the Male area we anchored in the Hulhumale Lagoon, just a short ferry ride from Male at a cost of 50p return. The anchorage is very safe and a good place for getting jobs done on the boat as Male has most things available for boaters with lots of chandlers and good work shops. We ended up staying there 3 weeks. A taxi in Male costs one pound to anywhere on the island and it was easy to visit Mohamed to renew our documents.

The Fees
The charges we paid were as follows for a 2 month stay in The Maldives: (all prices and payment in US dollars)

    Inter Atoll Cruising Permit ( although this is for 90 days it has to be issued in 3 x 30 day permits ): US$392.16
    Check in ( in Uligam ): US$175.00
    Transfer for check-in: US$100.00
    Entrance fee: US$3.92
    Port State Permit: US$15.69
    Senitory Certificate ( for health ) : US$3.92
    Check out ( in Addu ): US$100.00
    Charge for issuing cruising permit for 2 months: US$35.00
    Anchorage fee for 2 months ( obviously less if staying less than 2 months ): US$211.77
    2 crew visa extensions ( not required if only staying 1 month, but extension gives you a further 60 days ): US$137.64

    Total cost for 2 months: US$1,175

If you wish to extend your stay to the maximum of 90 days, the extra charges are 40$ for the extra permit issue and 188.33$ for the extra anchorage charges making a total for 3 months of 1,404$ and had we only stayed for one month the cost would have been 1,038$.

If we decide to stay the extra 30 days we just have to leave our original permit with Mohamed ( he gives us a copy ), we will then ring him and tell him we wish to stay, he will renew our permit and arrange for us to pay the extra charges to his representative in Addu when we check out and no need for us to return to Male.

Supplies and Services
We have also found prices to be better here than we thought. Of course in the 5 star resorts the price of food and drink is very expensive but on the inhabited islands prices are very reasonable.

In Male a snack lunch ( called short-eats ) with a soft drink costs about US$2 for 2 and a 4 course buffet lunch at Trends Garden Restaurant costs US$8 each including water and a soft drink, and athough supermarket shopping is quite expensive, they do have a good range of items.

We have also found that Gulf Craft boatyard on Thilafushi is quite reasonable for having our boat lifted ,and so for anyone interested, the telephone no. +960-664-02280 and the fax no. is +960-664-0279. The contact there is Ahmed Rasad, his email address is ahmed.rashad@gulfcraftinc.com and his mobile no. is +960-778-5195.

Whilst anchored in the Hulhumale lagoon you can have diesel delivered to you. You ring Hassan on +960-7787964 and the diesel boat comes alongside and passes you the fuel line - much easier than struggling with jerry cans and the current price is .80$ per litre.

Conclusion
Everything is simple and straight forward and we have found every body here very friendly and helpful and the time is flying past far too quickly.

Although the initial costs of sailing here may still seem high, they are much better than they were and I would recommend anybody cruising in the area to visit The Maldives as they are very beautiful with unbelievable snorkelling and diving, and good sailing with friendly people and not as expensive as you may think. It's not to be missed.

I hope that this information is of help and that you can put it on Noon-site to help other boaters.

Regards

Antony and Davina Hellewell

s/y Divanty.

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