Wednesday, February 02, 2011


The good thing about chartering and sailing through a "paradise" like the Maldives with an all Muslim crew is they don't drink. So you are not likely to run into a Captain Ron type of situation. My girlfriend and I have chartered boats where while we were having breakfast the "Captain" was in the galley mixing himself a rum and coke. Happily, nothing serious happened on that adventure. But, it is not a good sign when the Captain's drinking starts that early and you are on an unfamiliar boat in unfamiliar waters. Just in case he should happen to pass out. That won't happen in the Maldives.

The bad thing about traveling through a "paradise" like the Maldives with an all Muslim crew is that they do not know much about liquor and alcohol either. As we found out when requested our after dinner Baileys Irish Cream for our night cap.  Which we usually have relaxing up  forward  on the catamarans trampoline while gazing at the stars. According Ibrahim it was not available from the supplier. OK, that's possible in a dry country like the Maldives where almost everything including food is shipped in. But, we were very disappointed just the same.  I then asked about the bottle of Rum we also requested for our obligatory "boat drinks" at sundown. Rum? The skipper responded.  He then explained that he thought Rum and whisky were the same thing. He had the whisky on board though. Oh well... Happily, he did assure us he had the wine we requested. Looks like the only "boat drinks" we'd be having on board will be Jimmy Buffet singing .

Soon after a breakfast of a choice of various cereals, yogurt, toast, eggs and some surprisingly tasty chicken sausages (remember there is no pork in the Maldives) we were underway. We stopped for a morning snorkel on an extremely healthy reef with lot's of fish and even a turtle which pleased my girlfriend to no end.  The photo below shows what the waters are like in this part of the  South Male we are sailing in today:

As you can see there are quite a few small reefs and sand banks inside just this one atoll. Multiply that by 26 and you can see there are lot's of places to snorkel, dive or get into trouble if you are unfamiliar with the waters. Which is another good reason I'm glad we are doing a charter with a Captain who knows these waters well.

We anchored mid morning for just off one of the sand banks:

 We took the dingy ashore for a little walk and swim:

Some Maldivian fisherman were working the the sandbank's outside reef:

After spending a little time on the sand bank including a delightful swim we headed back to the boat.  A freshly caught Butterfly Fish was on the table for lunch but, not for long

After lunch and our obligatory afternoon nap. We were under way again stopping only for an afternoon snorkel.  We then headed for that nights anchorage which was just off Gulhi.

Gulhi is the smallest of the three inhabited islands in the South Male atoll. It's main industry is the building and repairing of the various boats that ply the waters in this area of the Maldives. From the look of it it is a very busy place:

We anchored at 03 59.702N, 073 30.430E a little before sunset. Another boat soon anchored nearby. It was one of the cargo boats that run supplies to the various islands and resorts in the area.

As the call to prayer sounded across the water from the mosque on Gulhi. Several of the crew spread out their pray cloths on the cabin top for evening prayers as the boat was conveniently pointed toward Mecca.

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