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)

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