Mar 31 - What a crazy 24 hours...

We met Mathhi yesterday; what a delightful guy. He's our agent here in Gan for check-out and whatever, and he's been really great. His contact details: email; tel 960 7906609. Stuart and I dropped our laundry off with one of his guys to take care of, and then we went to the machine shop. This is where Stuart will get his propane bottle filled, and he also needed some work on a small motor. I had bought that Jabsco Water Puppy in, and when we stripped it down, it was irreparably damaged...who knows why. At any rate, we then arranged a diesel run, and also stopped at the fuel station, which happened to have a 12 volt pump whose specs just about matched the Jabsco! What were the odds? When we returned to our boats, things went downhill in a hurry. We had decided to move the boat a bit, as our stern was awfully near the reef behind us in a SW wind. This was about 1630 hours. The anchorage basin is small and there's not a lot of good areas to drop the hook and have swinging room. As the anchor went down, the windlass malfunctioned, putting tons of chain down, with the chain wrapping itself around the gypsy, pulling out the hawse plate, and just surprising the hell out of us before the breaker tripped and the unit shut down. Shit. Untangling that mess took a while, and it was too late to affect repairs. Besides, the head was plugged up, no doubt with the heavy sea moss which was all over the place. It took me hours to get into the seacock area, which is T'ed for the head intake, and still couldn't get the stuff out. Did I mention it was late and I was really sweaty? Hmmm. I got a few hours sleep, waking up when our anchor drag alarm went off...all was well in that department as we had set the alarm for a too short swinging radius and the boat had turned, but I thought to myself..."what can I do that won't wake Sue up?" Of course...continue on that darn head.... At any rate, I pulled a ton of moss out of the intake valve and intake line, took a little out of the discharge valve, replaced the joker valve, and replumbed everything. Eureka...that did the trick. Thank goodness. Time to tackle the autopilot issues. The new Simrad hasn't yet gotten the proper data feed from our GPS. I thought I had wired it correctly, but no. So, that was next and it's now rewired and things are looking good on the screen. Nothing like a sea trial to test things out. We've been getting intermittent SW squalls, with winds up to 28 knots recorded, along with rain and cloudy skies. I had to start the engine to put some amps in, and the intake salt water alarm went off. At first, I couldn't identify the alarm; it had never gone off before! Great. What else can go wrong? Actually, this was an easy fix. The strainer was 100% blocked with that green moss crap; cleaning it took care of the problem, and the engine is fine. Earlier I had decanted our jerry jugs into the tanks as we'll go for diesel soon. This morning, we went shopping for provisions. Hours later, we returned to the boat in a downpour, but at least we made a major dent in the shopping list. One thing we've all agreed on; if you see something somewhere you want or need, buy it then and there; don't wait. For example, there's not a great selection of meats here, but these were readily available at other atolls we've visited. At any rate, we've managed to knock off quite a few things in the last 24 hours; I hope the next 24 are a bit kinder.

Mar 30 - Gan, Addu Atoll / Our 5th Equator Crossing!

Pos: S00deg41.144min/ E073deg08.64min We went thru the channel at 1600 with good light, anchoring 2 miles away to stage for a night exit thru the narrow pass out of the atoll. Stuart had gone out and back in the pass, so we used his coordinates to safely make a 0115 exit without any problem. It was pitch black, and winds were NE 8-10 knots. After a few hours the wind died, so the motor went on and stayed on all the way across the Equatorial Channel. At 0418, at longitude 073deg13.056min, we crossed the equator for our fifth time! We had an appropriate celebration (for the hour), and toasted King Neptune in a proper fashion. We entered Addu atoll and went thru the Man (I've seen it spelled Maa also) channel at 7 knots; this is an all-weather channel and can be entered most any conditions. However, the state of the tide has to be reckoned with, as ebb and flood tides can reach 5 knots! (Thanks Ally for the info!) Entry should timed to be made on a flood tide or at slack water. Wouldn't want any of that 5 knots against me! Lowest depth we saw was 46'. We anchored in a small lagoon next to the causeway between Gan and Feydhoo, and shortly thereafter went to meet our agent.

Mar 28 - Fares - Maathodaa (Uhehuttaa)

Pos: N00deg12.431min/ E073deg11.556min The thunder and lightening began at 0300 and didn't let up, although the heavy rain didn't start until later. The wind shifted to the NW, and we were a bit concerned as we had anchored in a "V" shaped indent of sand between two reefs; if the wind shifted west, our stern would be on the reef. So...I kept an anchor watch when the winds picked up to 25, watching our depths go all over the place, from 46' down to 19.9 feet when we swung, which is when I got a bit concerned. Fortunately, no mid-dark drama occurred, and we raised anchor at 0715 and headed off south. Shortly after, the heavier winds and rain, all from the NW, began, and it wasn't much fun dodging reef and islands in near white-out conditions. It blew a steady 22-25 knots, but Sue saw one gust of 30 knots. I finally put a double reef in the main; probably should have done it waaay earlier. We approached our selected anchoring waypoint with a bit of trepidation; another narrow pass thru the reef into a sizable lagoon. We shouldn't have worried. Sailing directions are as follows: approaching the pass, the outside wpt is located at N00deg12.4min/ E073deg11.4min. The entrance is between two rocks, awash when we entered, but the western most rock also has a marker, which is kept to starboard. The second marker noted is also kept to starboard, and the channel shows as a bit different color; we were told minimal depth thru the channel is 3m (9')....we saw 13'. Follow the channel until past the third marker, which is kept to port, when a gradual turn to port is made to find protection behind the reef. All very clear in good light...Avoid the numerous bommies and dark patches; anchorage is in about 20' of sand. As we were anchoring, a bunch of guys came out to see if we needed any assistance, and we chatted with them for about 20 minutes. After Imagine anchored, they went over to say hi to them also and arrangements were made to go into town. We met Shifan, Hussain, Iman and Aslam and got a tour of the fishing vessel Fishman from stem to stern. This 107' vessel is characteristic of the type of fishing vessels found in the Maldives, and we really enjoyed learning about the intricacies of the boat. After, we walked the town, and Shifan (also known as Capo) gave us a wonderful history lesson about Fares-Maathodaa as well as a botanical tour, pointing out every edible plant and fruit on the island! We stopped at Hussain's family house, bought some mangoes from another local, and just all around had the most fantastic afternoon. Walking around town was like walking around Sigiriya; we were told that the history here goes back 800 years; there are ruins, an old grave yard and plenty of old, coral-walled buildings that seem to support that. Another sticky place.

Mar 27 - Lazy daze

These last two days have been awesome. Three small islands are directly in front of us; the coconut palms are swaying in the breeze, and the nearby sandy beaches and different hued water colors never fail to disappoint. It's hot aboard; afternoons are about 89F-91F down below. Jumping into the water brings cool relief, but the currents can be quite rapid. We've dinghied into the beach and walked completely around the nearest island. On the eastern side, black and gray colored lava rock is abundant, and care must be taken walking barefoot. The small estuary on the windward side, inside the reef, seems to be a fish nursery; it's full of vegetation, quite shallow, and has little definition. A narrow river of fast flowing blue water cuts thru the southern side of the island, but sandbars prevent easy dinghy access. We've done a bit of swimming, but have been told by one of the dive boats that the white and black-tipped sharks, rays, turtles, and Napoleon wrasse, as well as other large fish are further south a bit and can be seen at a depth of about 20m outside the reef to windward. We've played hearts with Stuart & Sheila, have kept the tall stories to a minimum, and have also done a lot of boat work. Our salon table finally gave it up; the outer drop leaf pulled off its piano hinge; it hadn't been repaired correctly in Phuket and it was just a matter of time before I had to rebuild yesterday. Finding our epoxy to repair the teak was the easy part; the formica top needs replacement and will have to wait for another time when the entire table can be re-covered. Our Jabsco watermaker boost pump is still gasping for breath but seems to be working, temporarily. A contingency plan is already in place in case it totally craps out. Our meals are getting pretty creative; we've eaten fresh octopus, given to us a couple of days ago at another island, and improvised our own recipe, reminiscent of eating at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. The drinking coconuts we've been given are refreshing, and also make a good mixer. We plan another provisioning in Addu in the next few days. Our lassitude will be over soon; it's sure been a nice break. For anyone following in our wake, you'll love this place; just plan on staying for a while.

Mar 25 - Maarehaa

Pos: N00deg28.070min/ E073deg33.368min A brisk 15-18 ENE wind came up last night and made sleeping very uncomfortable. We had planned to stay one more day to go exploring, but it was so uncomfortable, with the boat pitching and rolling with the reef directly behind us, that we decided to depart. The anchor was raised at 0700 and we had a nice sail to the east side of the atoll, keeping Kodeymatheelaabadhoo Island (love that name...) to our starboard, and finally dropped the hook in 20' of sand, with protection from the N-E. A lot of the charter dive boats are anchored nearby and the scenery is grand. It's Happy Hour.
Pic: A pod of dolphins enjoyed playing in our bow wave.

Mar 24 - G.A. Kalamaafushi (Maagefuttaa)

Yesterday, four high school boys paddled out in strong winds in a 7' lapstrake dinghy to say hello and take pictures. Today, Stuart and I went by dinghy into town and had the good fortune to meet Modes and Ahmed at the dock. They acted as our guides and took us around this island of about 700 people. We went to the school to find our teenage friends, only to find out school was on holiday. We pretty much circumnavigated the island looking for that yellow lapstrake dinghy, finally found it, and eventually met the guys who had taken the time and trouble to paddle out to see us! Along the way we also met many of the townspeople, and enjoyed a coffee at one of the cafes. The hospitality of everyone was amazing, and we felt very welcomed here. Infini and Imagine are, we think, only the third and fourth yachts that have visited here this year; we are off the beaten track. It was wonderful to talk to the people, many of whom spoke very good English, and see their homes, share their food, and make new friends. We were invited out to go fishing but were doing other things at the time. The islanders build boats here and a 120' fiberglass fishing boat is under construction and almost ready for launch. After about two and a half hours, we returned with a few provisions, fruits and veggies; fuel is also available here. Another highly recommended stop for our fellow cruisers. Btw, it's also nice to be able to see your anchor in crystal clear water 20' down, as well as see the family of squid hanging about!
Pic: A great anchorage until the wind shifts...we leave sooner than we'd like.

Mar 23 - Maagefuttaa Island, North Huvadhoo Atoll

Pos: N00deg51.147min/ E073deg10.957min We departed Boduhuraa in the late afternoon, deciding on an "all-nighter" to cross the One and a Half Degree Channel. Our reasoning was that, with the East setting current, we could make an average speed of 3 knots and still make a daytime entry for the 60 some mile passage to Maagefuttaa. Leaving at 0400 would necessitate making significant speed across the Channel to arrive in the late afternoon. Wind was NW, varying from 3-10 knots; our boat speed stayed 3-4 knots as we reefed down or put out more sail depending on the wind, with the exception of a few hours we had to motor when the winds pretty much died to nothing and we had no steerage, thus allowing that current to set us off towards Missouri. We arrived at the channel into the atoll at 0700 and the reefs were easily delineated. Our anchorage is in 20' of sand just before the reef, and we're happy to have had a beautiful night sail here along with good weather. This spot is away from the town and has several small islands with coconut palms on them and sandy beaches nearby. We may stay a while.
Pic: A shot of our nav computer. Open CPN using CM93 charts. We're crabbing along.

Mar 21 - Boduhuraa, Hudhohuumathee Atoll

Pos: N01deg51.847min/ E073deg30.866min There was no wind and the day was spent motoring to the next atoll. The fishing reel went off but, unfortunately, the SS leader and brand new Rapala went off also; lesson...don't use old leaders. Showers formed from mid-morning onwards and the wind shifted to the NW. We hugged the outer reef on the west side of the atoll and checked out an anchorage waypoint that had been given to us; it was a death trap with too many bommies (coral heads) in a very tight area and one narrow entry/exit path. The rain was coming down harder, visibility sucked, and we saw a waterspout form on the leading edge of the cell. Holy Toledo...we had to find an anchorage quickly. We finally dropped the hook at 1630 in a spot we had picked out on GE; none of our electronic chart references gave enough detail to make any sort of informed decision. The winds were 15 knots from the NW with quite a chop; it's an exposed anchorage, there's a reef to go over to get here, and we're surrounded by bommies; not an ideal situation. But, this was the best we could do as this atoll doesn't offer much protection from the NW with an easy exit to the One and a Half Degree Channel planned.
Pic: Not all days can be sunny. Does not help with moving about in the atolls though.

Mar 20 - Veymandhoo, Kolhumadulu Atoll

Pos: N02deg11.346min/ E073deg05.408min. Departure was at 0730, but there was no wind. Stuart said I was an optimist for putting the mainsail up. We motored the 20 miles to Veymandhoo, hugging the reef and small islands to port, all the while dodging a few sandbars and rocks. This atoll is beautiful and the passage here was excellent in spite of the motoring. Once arrived, we looked at the narrow passage into the lagoon and I mentally compared it to the GE image we had. Unfortunately we didn't know the depths coming into the short, quite narrow pass. What to do? Stuart lowered his dinghy and we sounded out the pass and lagoon with a hand lead. Nice; plenty of water to make the entrance and find a place to anchor. The outside wpt for the pass is N02deg11.501min/E073deg05.445min; shallowest water I saw was 8' under the keel but there was a bit of side current. We dropped anchor in 20' sand and are eating lunch before exploring the small town.
Pic:In the lagoon looking back at the entrance to Veymandhoo anchorage. Happy we had good light.

Mar 19 - Jigging for squid

We ran the watermaker and Sue did a laundry this morning. We looked like a scow barge with underwear and sheets flapping in the wind. Seeing some squid under the boat, I rigged up my new squid lure, called Stuart, aka the 'cuttlemeister' and asked him the fine points of catching squid, seeing that he had hooked a few the day before. Instructions committed to memory, I went forward to the bowsprit, dropped the lure, jigged it a bit, and immediately hooked a 6" squid, perfect for cutting up for bait. Unfortunately, Sue wasn't thrilled when it shot ink over our newly laundered sheets, and that from its position just above the water. There was ink everywhere on the foredeck, I guess there's kind of a learning curve involved. I was banned from catching anymore squid, Sue ignoring my pleas as there were more squid just around us. I think she said something about no squid while the laundry's drying, but wasn't sure I heard her right....Well, at least there's one in the freezer. If they come a bit larger, they'll end up on the dinner plate.
Pic: Squeezing the ink to clean it.

Mar 17 - Fahala, Kolhumadula Atoll

Pos: N02deg23.844min/ E073deg21.393min Departure was at 0730 and it didn't take too long to get around the reef to make a line for the pass. Once there, we put up the Yankee and full main and were making tracks. Unfortunately, we were way off course due to being swept by the current. It was so strong that we figured it was easily 2-3 knots, pushing us to starboard and way off our rhumb line to the entrance cut at the next atoll. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, we started the motor, and kept it going the entire time until we anchored. Even motor sailing, at times our speed was less than 2 knots! This is, indeed, Serious Current. We finally went thru the pass at Kolhumadula Atoll, and coordinates are as follows for our route: outside wpt: N02deg33.602min/E073deg06.975min; midway thru the pass our coordinates were N02deg33.466min/E073deg06.991min; the lowest depth we saw was 36'. We dropped anchor in 36' at Fahala, with excellent protection from N-SE directions. There are plenty of bommies close in, but finding a patch of sand to drop the hook wasn't too difficult. Two other sailboats were at anchor, so there are now four of us, more than we've seen for weeks!
Pic: We've finally found what we had envisioned for the Maldives...a thin island with a 4 mi. stretch of sandy beach with no development! Unfortunately the high tide line has the sad trash line very disappointing.

Mar 14 - Kadahuvadhoo, South Nilandhe Atoll

Pos: N02deg40.765min/
E072deg53.139min We departed at 0715 and were anchor down at 1245. We stopped at Ribudhoo and Doores Islands but after looking around were unable to find suitable anchoring depths. Continuing southwards, it was easy to pick out the small coral reefs which are plentiful in the atoll. The Navionics charts seemed spot on, but a watchful eye is still mandatory. It didn't take long for the dinghy to be in the water but even with squid for bait, neither Stuart nor I hooked up.

Mar 13 - A walk around the island

We wanted to check out more of the town of Magoodhoo before departure, as well as stock up on veggies and such. Going by the boat building area, the guys were on mid-morning food break and we were soon invited to sit and eat. The dishes served were of tasty tuna, one a dry one and the other a curry. Hands, rather than utensils, are used here. The spices used are wonderful (we're always interested in learning about spices) and we left the table stuffed, again. We found out that there are two small stores on island which pretty much stay open all the time; other stores will open on request. Selection was limited, but a variety of veggies and other goods are available. Sameeh, our interpreter, caught up to us, and we continued our walk around the town, asking questions and learning about the goings on of the island. We stopped to see some women weaving lines from coconut husks; it's a task that takes practice. Another few women were weaving palm mats which are purchased by local resorts for roofing materials. We ended up at Ahmed's house, enjoying a sweetened watermelon drink along with breadfruit chips. We eventually said our goodbyes and have really enjoyed our stay here; we highly recommend this stop to other cruisers. We hope their experiences mirror ours and that they feel as enriched by their visit as we do.

Mar 12 - Strong winds

The winds were too high to go fishing, so most of my day was spent working in the engine room. The Racor fuel filter, the Perkins primary filter, and the oil and oil filter were all changed and the engine had to be bled before starting. The coolant and transmission fluid levels were checked, and the watermaker was run as well. In the late afternoon, Ahmed and Hashim stopped by in their small fiberglass dinghy, with their 2 HP motor working hard against the wind and waves. Two nicer guys would be hard to find, and in spite of the language barrier, we had a really enjoyable visit.
Pic: Magoodhoo Island. Populated ones have cell towers.

Mar 11 - Magoodhoo, North Nilandhe Atoll

Pos: N03deg04.843min/
E072deg57.400min. Finally, a good sailing day! We departed at 0630 and had a terrific sail to North Nilandhe Atoll, with winds maxing out at 16-18 NE, and found good shelter in 34' sand in a small area to the west of Magoodhoo island. GE shows the entry clearly, but you have to kind of do a wiggle at the entrance to dodge the coral. We'll go into the small town exploring after lunch. Addendum: We went by dinghy to the beach and walked thru a large area of coconut palm trees, coming to a structure that turned out to be a boat-building shed. of the guys asked if we wanted to see the boat...ya think? Here was an 85' fiberglass boat that was being completed from scratch! Amazing; the hull was laid up and completed in one month! Supplies came from Male, and we met the owner, the builders and even the naval architect! Next door were two other fiberglass boats that were well along in their fast build/completion. Another fellow had stopped by, spoke excellent English and acted as our interpreter ((Sameeh). The 85' boat is purpose built for yellow fin tuna; the other boats were general fishing boats. All had beautiful hull shapes and seemed rugged enough for the task. Before (finally) leaving the boat shed, we had made arrangements to go fishing later in the afternoon with one of the locals. We then proceeded to walk around part of the town with our interpreter, who explained many details of life on the island and how the 765 locals were making significant efforts to become self supportive. Along the way we were invited to partake in a street party; a couple had just gotten married and the food and tea was abundant and folks insisted we eat. A couple of minutes after that, we met the local health officer, who explained the changes the islanders had experienced over the last 30 years! The local health center/hospital was then walked thru and the system for treating complicated medical cases was explained to us. After, we visited the children's school and a bit of the educational system was explained to us. Things just kept getting better and better! Btw, we were told that last year only 3 yachts visited this island; we are the first yachts this year to visit and, as you can see, our experience has been beyond our expectations. We then took a tour of the local Italian University (which used to be the island governor's house); an outreach University affiliate had been set up to allow 20 Italian students to study and live on the island. After came a look at the ferry dock area that we wanted to see; it was then time to return to our boats to get ready for our fishing excursion. Tired yet? At 1800, Ahmed and his two friends picked Stuart and myself up by launch, and we learned how the locals use a hand line to catch fish. We were fishing for reef fish inside the reef and made a good show of it for our hosts; 5 pretty good size fish in about an hour using squid for bait on a simple hook and hand line. In fact, we had such a good time that tomorrow the plan is to go outside the reef for what were described to us as "the big fish." Stay tuned!
Pic: Our anchorage at Magoodhoo

Mar 10 - Swimming with the whale sharks

We hung around Maamigili and signed up with the whale shark excursion for today. It's a crap shoot; sightings are not guaranteed, and forget about getting your money back if one doesn't show up. Late afternoon yesterday brought squalls with 30 knot gusts, but holding is excellent where we are, and other than a bit of bucking in the stronger winds, we sat quietly throughout. The Holiday Island Resort on nearby Dhiffushi island has a professional Diveoceanus dive shop. They're well organized and have a variety of excursions. The resort is in a beautiful location with, well...resort prices. The food is good, however, and the view gorgeous, so I can think of worse places and conditions. This morning, our excursion boat left the dock at 0900, and we went to the reef just outside the island, a frequent whale sighting area. According to Lonely Planet, there are 9 places to best sight and swim with whale sharks: Isla Holbox, Mexico; Utila, Honduras; Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia; Gladden Spit, Belize; Donsol Bay, Philippines; Tofo Beach, Mozambique; South Mahé, Seychelles; Koh Tao, Thailand; and South Ari Atoll, Maldives (our location). Wikipedia states "The shark is seen by divers in many places, including the Bay Islands in Honduras, Thailand, the Philippines, the Maldives, the Red Sea, Western Australia (Ningaloo Reef, Christmas Island), Taiwan, Panama (Coiba Island), Belize, Tofo Beach in Mozambique, Sodwana Bay (Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) in South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Isla Mujeres and Bahía de los Ángeles in Mexico, the Seychelles, West Malaysia, islands off eastern peninsular Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Oman, Fujairah, and Puerto Rico." The whale shark is the largest known fish species, surpassing 40' length and 20 tons weight (jeez...). About 6 other excursion boats filled with people all gathered around the first whale shark sighted, and on command, we jumped in to swim and photograph them. The only thing to be afraid of was getting kicked by another snorkeler; folks got a bit crazy in the excitement. After a few minutes, the shark swam away to deeper depths, and we boarded our boat to motor up and down the reef looking for another shark. We were on our last pass, returning to the resort, when another shark was sighted, and we donned our gear and were off the boat when the dive master said "Go..." This second whale shark was larger than the first, and I was just about above him as he slowly swam my way. We were told he was about 5 meters, but I think he was 6-8 meters long. These sharks are not dangerous to divers, as they eat plankton, krill and large algae; humans are not part of their food pyramid. At any rate, it was a wonderful morning, enjoying a unique experience and learning a bit more about these gentle giants of the sea.

Mar 7 - Maamigili, S. Ari Atoll

Pos: N03deg28.927min/ E072deg49.885min Winds stayed light and we motor sailed the 40 nm to Maamigili. Charts aren't too good here; GE is. What did mariners do before GE? To enter the lagoon, pick up the outer entry marker at N03deg29.222min/ E072deg49.757min; then head about 185 degrees True down the channel which is clearly marked. Although night entry is definitely not advised, the outer markers to the lagoon are lit green and red ones. Once in the lagoon, find about 25' of sand, clearly marked, and good protection from the N-E quadrants. We'll be here a few days exploring and waiting for heavier winds to pass thru. The airport is just off our beam; Maamigili is a popular dive destination in the Maldives. There's good cell and internet coverage; more details after we go exploring tomorrow.
Pic: We visited the Holiday Island Resort on nearby Dhiffushi Island to check out the dive shop and have lunch. Picture postcard scenery, but we need to get back to the coming in.

March 5 - Fihaalhohi, S. Male Atoll

Pos: N03deg52.48min/ E073deg21.49min The anchor was raised this morning to make the outgoing tide, and we sailed across the channel separating Male from the easternmost atolls further south. Currents are strong, winds flukey. Resorts dot many of the larger islands, with separate abodes built out over the water. Pretty stuff. Many islands have cell towers and we're getting fairly good internet. My jobs today were fixing a broken hand-held remote windlass unit (broken wires in the waterproof plug end of it) as well as tearing into the watermaker boost pump (yet again) to get it going (the unit needs new brushes which, to the best of my attempts to purchase, are unavailable....apparently it's built to be a throw away - unbelievable and shame on Jabsco). Using the salon table as a work bench went well, but I was thankful the waters were smooth and the ride comfortable. We anchored in marl at 23' depth off a coral shelf. Intermittent light squalls dust us, but don't last long. Sunset was a nice one, even partially hidden by clouds.
Pic: Resorts lease whole islands and have 'boundaries' as to their territory. Finding good anchorages not too deep is a challenge.

March 5 - Male, Maldives

We arrived in Male after a three day frustrating motor sail here. The NE trades hadn't been consistent, and we got very light NW and SW winds instead. Our choices were limited; either sit around the Indian Ocean waiting for wind, or crank up the Perkins. You can guess what we did; this being our first passage in quite some long time we had to motor so much. At any rate, we arrived late morning of the third day in Male, and were instructed by Harbor Control to await our agent and boarding Officials. In due course everyone arrived and we were checked in by as friendly a bunch of folks you could hope for. The process took about 10 minutes and we were welcomed to the Maldives. We waited for sv Imagine to get checked in (their process took about 5 minutes), and motored over to Hulhumale, where we found 12 fathoms depth, in mud, and a beautiful setting to spend the night. Seaplanes and jets were taking off from the nearby airport, but the night traffic was minimal. We slept like bricks. In the morning, we hitched a ride from our neighbor, who delivered us to the nearby ferry dock to go to Male. There's a very long breakwater near us, but no good place to tie up a dinghy. Ferry boats arrive and leave every 15 minutes, and the regular ferry costs about $.50 USD (we hadn't gone to the ATM yet to get ruffiahs, the local currency. Present exchange is about 15 ruffiahs per 1 USD). A 20 min ride dropped us off at the ferry terminal in Male, where we met our agent to retrieve our passports (Immigration needed to stamp them) and cruising permits. We then walked to the nearby ATM, followed by a taxi ride to the internet/cell phone provider shop. Taxis are fixed rate here, at 25 ruffiahs to most places for the taxi, not per person. Male isn't a big island, and most of the population of the Maldives lives here. Its streets wind around, motor bikes and cars zoom past, and people are everywhere. Contrary to our old guidebook which stated parts and supplies are minimal, the yachting and boating industry has obviously grown in the interval, as sophisticated parts and supplies are readily available, from AIS transponders, to VHF radios, fishing gear, Filmtec watermaker membranes and supplies, various motor parts and accessories, and a whole lot more. What a surprise this was to us. We expected nothing and felt we had hit the mother lode. Fortunately, we don't need any boat parts or supplies, but it's good to know they're available. Hardware stores, SS welding, oils,'s all here in one concentrated area. We ate a quick lunch and did a bit of provisioning. Again, we were surprised at how much was available...this is beyond basic provisioning. Prices were a bit high, but considering where we are, not unreasonable. We've arranged to fuel up by a fuel barge coming alongside us tomorrow morning to transfer fuel (18 ruffiahs/liter). After, another quick ferry trip to Male (Stuart's picking up a couple of SS boom bales he's having fabricated at one of the local shops here and there's some last minute fresh veggie shopping to do), then we've arranged to visit our neighbors, one of the charter surfing boats, and get some local knowledge about anchoring spots given to us. There's lots to do!
Pic: Male is in the middle of the 'Necklace Islands'...and is a concrete jungle serving as capitol of the country. Check out the pictures here: (copy and paste)

Mar 2 - Enroute, Laccadive Sea

For security reasons, lat/long positions will not be entered. The weatherman got it all wrong for this leg. Gribs showed decent sailing conditions, but we've had extremely light winds directly on the nose! A few fishing boats approached too closely, were too persistent asking for smokes, alcohol, etc, but all's well; no problems.
Pic: Imagine overtaking us on our passage.