Saturday, February 12, 2011


There was a beautiful sunrise for our last full day in the Maldives. We wasted no time getting our last few snorkels in. On our first one another turtle graced our vision. Our second stop was the house reef of the Bandos Island resort the second resort island developed in the Maldives:
We had an excellent snorkel along it's reef and spent near an hour just checking it out. 

Then it was back to the boat to head for our lunch anchorage 04 14.678N 073 32.038E:  

After lunch we went for our last snorkel in the Maldives at Banana Reef that small banana shaped spot just south of our lunch anchorage:

You can see some Dhoni's and snorkelers in the Google Earth photo above as it seems to be a popular snorkel spot. Unfortunately, our timing was a little off. As the reef sits at the entrance to one of the cuts that leads to the Indian Ocean the current was running quite strong and did not allow for a leisurely snorkel as it carried us along. Oh well, so it goes...

We got back on board our catamaran and headed for the island of Male (pronounced mal lee) the capitol city of the Maldives.

Even though it was Friday and a Holy Day in the country (much like Sunday in more Christian countries) Ibrahim had arranged for us to have a little tour by one of the guides who work with his company. I had mixed feelings about getting back to "civilization" so soon after spending twelve days on the water in secluded anchorages but, since we were here might as well see the city.

As we headed toward Male (pronounced Mal Lee) we headed through a number of boats and ships anchored around the city. There were what passes for tugs bringing barges of shipping containers out to and back from the dozen or so cargo ships that are anchored off the island:

 Ships like the Motor Yacht Queen K:

Which is rumored to be owned by Oleg Deripaska Russia's youngest billionaire. It's 238 feet long has a beam of 44 feet and a draft of 12.5 feet. There were other yachts around spending the winter in this part of the world. Like this one with an "aerial dingy" perched on the back:

Impressive as these boats are I am drawn to the simplicity and practicality of the smaller Maldivian craft we've come across in our travels. Like this local fishing boat:

  I especially like the platform on the back which can be used for whatever needs to done. Including unloading the days catch easily onto the docks. Then there are the really big boats. Like this Costa cruise ship which towers over the city of Male:

As we approach the city the gold dome of the citys newest Mosque clearly stands out from the other buildings of Male:

Soon we are in the dingy heading to the entrance to one of the many man made harbors that ring Male:

The harbors are busy places even on this Holy Day with all kinds of ferries coming and going all day long:

Luckily, we we able to find an easy place to land on the along the concrete quay:

Our personal guide was escorting us through the streets of Male. Where things were pretty quiet on some streets:
It's almost painful to see the trees bend to try and get their leaves into the sliver of sun on this block. Also notice the prime mode of transportation in Male (besides boats) the scooters lined up outside the building. We soon come upon the Hukuru Miskiiy which is the oldest Mosque in the city built in 1656:

The outside of the mosque is covered with coral stone:

Hand hand carved in the 17th century:

Also nearby is the ancient well where the worshipers cleanse them selves before entering the mosque. Note the dipping ladles in the right of the picture:

And the tower where the call to prayer is made 

Well, there have been a few improvements made to the mosque over the years including this PA system:

Meanwhile back on the streets the the local woman look rather elegant in their head scarves. Though they wear more western wear here in Male than on some of the islands we visited earlier in our trip:

We then head to the fruit and vegetable market: 

Various fruits and vegetables can be bought here:

Just beware of the peppers!
They are very hot and being an Islamic country there is no beer nearby to cool your tongue.

Just outside the market is where all the fishing boats come to dock. The big ones:

and the smaller ones:

All delivering a variety of fresh seafood to the fish market across the street:

While some may consider the fish above to be fresh as they came right off the fishing boats. I keep thinking back a few days ago when we had some really fresh Red Snapper that came on the boat and never got off.
But, this may be the only place you can get a barrel of Yellow Fin Tuna if you are really hungry:

Soon it was time to head back to the quay as our catamaran awaits just outside to take us back on board for our last night night in the Maldives:

But, the journey continues tomorrow...


Kenny said...

Great Blog guys.... SOOOOOO ENVIOUS.... it looked magnificent

Capt. Mike said...

Thanks Kenny! It was a fun and memorable trip.