Saturday, February 13, 2021

Almost All Cleared In


You are required to use an agent when clearing into the Maldives. Probably just as well, given the amount of paperwork. The agent came out to our boat with 37 pages of documents for us to sign and use our boat stamp on. We are still waiting on our Cruising permit, which maybe here today. Even with a Cruising Permit we are very limited on where we can actually go in the Maldives. They divide the islands up into 3, somewhat unnatural, categories. Inhabited, Uninhabited and Resort. We are allowed to go to any Uninhabited island. We are allowed to go to a Resort island if we get permission from the resort prior to arrival. We are allowed to go to an Inhabited island if it has an airstrip, a guest house and we get local permission. The Maldives are not really interested in having tourists mix with locals. It is a conservative, Islamist country.

The country has around 400,000 inhabitants, most concentrated on two islands, Addu and Male. The islands are flat and low. Low enough to be concerned with sea levels rising. The highest point in the country is the 8th tee on the golf course in Villingi Island. It is about 15 feet (5 m) above sea level. The majority of the land is just a few feet above high tide.

As you can see above, the shell collecting has begun. Including a couple of nice Cowries from the Indian Ocean.

The water is warm and clear here. Its really nice to be able jump in anytime and see some decent fish, a few corals and even smaller Giant Clams.

There are 6 boats here at Uligan now. Three of them are leaving (or just left) to head up the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The others will cruise the Maldives. One just came in from Dubai. Our agent, Asad, setup a beach dinner on a small, uninhabited island nearby for all the cruisers. It was good to meet the crowd: Swedes, Australians, Scots, South African, French, and US (us). 


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Maldives Arrival

After our 36 hours of rambunctious sailing from Sri Lanka to past the tip of India the seas went flat and the winds went light. A welcomed sign by all the crew onboard. We arrived near the Maldives on Tuesday afternoon, but too late to make it into the anchorage before dark. So we left up our small sails and had a pleasant overnight sail toward the entrance, making adjustments every once in awhile to slow down. Just before sunrise (as seen above) we turned on the engine and started motoring to our approach.

We anchored next to our friends on Time Bandit, the go-fast catamaran. They arrived on Tues. We are now waiting on our clearance agent to bring out the officials so we can get cleared into the country.

(Just a quick note so I don't leave our reader hanging)


Monday, February 8, 2021

Enroute Maldivs - Day 8 and 9

Well, al good sails must come to an end. We motor for about 4 hours in h lee created by the bottom tip of Sri Lanka. Then the wind filled in, as expected. The GRIB forecast showed the winds getting channelled down the slot created between India and the island of Sri Lanka. GRIBs had 25kts, but closer to 22ks in h section we were crossing.
The last day and half has been some of the most uncomfortable, "why am I here" sailing we have done in the past 10 years of cruising. The winds were steady for awhile at 35-36kts, the illformed seas were 8-10 feet on the beam. We ended turning south of our course a fair amount to stop most of the waves from crashing over the starboard bow and sliding back to the cockpit.
All and all, a most un-fun few days -- it will be interesting how the trip sounds when I tell the story over a beer two weeks from now: fast, rambunctious seas, great passage???
We will arrive at Uligan, Maldives tonight and probably have to wait offshore for most of he night to make a day light entry on our Wednesday.
Day 8 noon-to-noon run 170nm
Day 9 noon-to-noon run 207nm, new record for us!!!!!


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