Voyage of Traveler / Blog

March 20, 2009

Traveler’s Postcard From the Maldives

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 6:58 pm

Mar 8, 2009 6:33 AM

Hi, Everyone,
As we departed this morning (March 8) at 0700 from the small atoll now known as Uligan (formerly known as Uligamu) in the northern Maldives, a huge manta ray swam by the boat to say aloha. His wing span was at least eight feet, maybe nine. I grabbed a mask and fins, dove in, and swam with the manta for two to three minutes, at first a few feet above him, then side by side.  It was so cool. Barbara, Brian and Brandon watched from Traveler, just a boat length away.  We then turned to head for the Middle East.

Our six-day visit to the Maldives was full of snorkeling for all four of us, and one tank dive for Brian and me.  The water is so clear, warm and full of coral and a ridiculous amount of gorgeous fish, including dolphin (we snorkeled with them too–amazing!), eels, barracuda, reef sharks, grouper, and literally hundreds of other species.  At one atoll, Barbara and Brandon snorkeled around the whole island, which was about a two mile swim, taking about two and a half hours to do it, and were just amazed at all the sea life–yes, they got to swim with a manta then, too.

We island hopped, with a different anchorage and island each night. We saw only a dozen or so of the 1100 islands in the Maldives.  There are 100 resorts spread out over the archipelago, which runs north and south for 250 miles.  The resorts are all near capacity, so they are building more. The islands have full employment, with many from India and Sri Lanka coming here looking for jobs at the hotels.  We had dinner ashore at one of the new five star resorts, The Beach House at the Maldives (you should Google it for photos) and it was fabulous.  Their largest room, which we got a tour of, is over the water and goes for $9,000 per night, but only $7,000 in the off season.  (What depression?)

We bought fuel, but it was not easy.  We had to anchor out, dinghy in, and make several trips filling our five-gallon jerry jugs. But that is fairly common in these smaller island.  No fuel docks to pull Traveler up to.  We were able to buy some provisions here, but the selection was very small in this tiny market, only about 10 ft. by 12 ft., with no fresh produce or bread, only canned goods.

The people are friendly, the islands are gorgeous and the diving is some of the best in the world.

Our next stop is Salalah, Oman, 1255 nautical miles to the NW, across the Arabian Sea.

Livin’ the Dream,
Michael and Barbara,
Brian and Brandon, too

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