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

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