Sailing Guide

Maldives

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Maldives

Characteristics

Description

The Republic of Maldives is a SW Asian country. The population of the Islamic Republic is about 300 000 inhabitants. The capital is Male. The language "Devehi" comes in part from an ancient form of Sri Lancans mixed with Hindi, Arabic and English. English is the second language of the Maldivians, it is mentioned even in the remote atolls, away from Male.
The word atoll comes from the Maldivian  "atolu".
Maldivians are Islamics, they are friendly, but the women and girls do not want to be photographed.
Apart from Male, the government wants to keep the small villages away from foreigners and the majority of the islands where there are villages are not accessible.
The houses are made of coral blocks connected by mortar, they are often surrounded by a wall about 2 m along the street.
Each village has a public telephone, a school, a small clinic and a mosque.
Fishing is the main activity and as in all the atolls, the ground does very little agriculture.

The 1190 islands of the Maldives are spread out across the Indian Ocean and form 26 natural atolls (whose 202 are inhabited)  over a length of 764km and 128km wide. These atolls extend from the island Turakuna, located N of the atollIhavandiffulu, about 40 NM S of the equator along the meridian of 73 ° E. 
The coral islands are surrounded by shallow and crystalline lagoons, bordered by coral reefs. 
The coral islands are surrounded by shallow lagoons and crystalline, bordered by coral reefs.
Between the different atolls many deep channels between them. Some of them are complex and require local knowledge, these channels should not be used by small boats because of strong currents that run through, from theE or W depending on the season.
It's one of the best diving destinations in the world. 
Wreck diving is also possible. The "Maldive Victory" is the Maldives most famous sunken treasure ship, and cargo is still trapped underwater. A wreck in the Halaveli Resort is home to a population of Marble Stingrays, the pigeons of the Maldives that swim around the wreck seeking attention and food from passing divers.
The big disappointment is that diving is not what it was because since the last El Nino in 1998 much of the coral is dead. The water that was at our visit to 28.5 C was more than 32 C and the polyps that produce coral are dead. This is called "Coral Bleach" and Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea have suffered the same fate. Spear gun is prohibited, and fish of all kinds are very abundant and not fearful.
Surfing in the Maldives landed in the 1970s. The best surf spots are located in North Male Atoll, South Male andGaafu Dhaalu.
Surfers seem to like the Maldives for the quality of the waves and variety of spots accessible from the same island.The waves are long and there are spots for both right-handers than left-handers.
The coral islands on the atolls, although very low, may be detected by radar at ranges over 20 miles, while the arrangement of individual islands may be obtained at about 15 miles, and the breakers at the edges of reefs detected at about 2 miles.
There are numerous deep openings through the barrier reefs, which are difficult to identify beyond a distance of 3 or 4 miles, when the reefs appear as one continuous line. Within 1 or 2 miles, the openings will be distinctly seen when the sun is high and behind the observer.
Extra care should be taken at periods of spring tides when strong rips and eddies in the reef entrances make for difficulty in seeing submerged hazards.
By day and with the sun in a favorable position, even the less readily navigable channels can be negotiated without undue difficulty, as all the underwater dangers are generally visible for some distance from the masthead.
By night, a vessel should pass through only the four larger channels between the atolls, and even these should be avoided unless the vessel has an accurate fix before entering.
Within the atolls good anchorage can be obtained in very smooth water of moderate depth, with a coral and sand bottom.
On the inhabited islands, boat channels leading over the reefs to the villages are marked by distinctive stakes.

Weather:


The tropical water of 27 to 30C temperature are perfect for dives and explorations. The January monsoon clears the waters throughout the spring to give up to 250ft of visibility over the reef edge. Early May is the plankton season which reduces visibility in the eastern atoll to 20 metres and is best avoided for diving.

During the autumn months you can witness the gathering of the Manta Rays, harmless giant disc-shaped sea creatures up to 20ft in diameter which gather around the plankton. You can witness their spectacular mating dances at this aqua festival of nature.

Protected areas:

There are 25 protected areas:
  • Atoll Maalhosmadulu N: Vilingili Thila
  • Atoll Maalhosmadulu S: Dhigali Haa, Horubadhoo Thila
  • Faadhippolhu Atoll: Fusheevaru Thila, Kandu Kuredhoo Olhi
  • Male Atoll: Makunudhoo Olhi Kandu, Rasfaree and the coral reef surrounding Thamburudhoo Thila, Gaathugiri,Ad'dashugiri, Kuda Haa Giraavaru, Dhekunu Thilafalhuge Miyaruvani, Kollavaanee, Emboodhoo Olhi Kandu,Guraidhoo Olhi Kandu, Lankan Thila
  • Ari Atoll: Maayaa Thila, IMRO Thila, Mushimasmigili Thila, Kudarah Thila, Karibeyru Thila, Furuhuruvalnibeyru
  • Felidhoo Atoll: Miyaru Kandu, Kandu Vattaru
  • Atoll Nilandhoo S: Fushi Kandu.
Fauna and flora Marine Protected: Fishing or taking of species below are strictly prohibited:
  • black coral
  • molluscs (Triton Conch)
  • giant Clam
  • Female lobster and small lobster
  • turtle
  • Napoleon fish (Labre)
  • Whale shark
  • Whale.
16/11/2011
Update
Jojo
Maldives
Maldives
19/10/2011
Update
Joëlle
La République des Maldives est un pays d'Asie du SW. La population de cette république islamique est d'environ 300 000 habitants. La capitale est Malé. Le langage "Devehi" provient en partie d'une ancienne forme de Sri Lancais mélangé avec de l'Hindi, de l'Arabe et de l'Anglais. L’Anglais est la seconde langue des Maldiviens, il est parlé même dans les atolls isolés, loin de Malé.

Le mot atoll vient du mot maldivien "atolu".

Les Maldiviens sont musulmans, ils sont accueillants, mais les dames et les petites filles ne veulent pas être photographiées.

A part Malé, le gouvernement veut garder les petits villages à l'écart des étrangers et la majorité des îles où il y a des villages sont interdites d'accès.
Les maisons sont faites de blocs de corail reliés par du mortier, elles sont souvent entourées d'un muret d'environ 2 m bordant la rue.
Chaque petit village comporte un téléphone public, une école, une petite clinique et une mosquée.
La pêche est la principale activité et comme dans tous les atolls, le sol ne permet que très peu d'agriculture.

Les Maldives sont constituées de 1190 îles disposées en collier, soit 26 atolls (dont 202 sont habités) s'étirant sur une longueur de 764km et une largeur de 128km. Ces atolls s'étendent à partir de l'île Turakuna, située au N de l'atoll Ihavandiffulu, à environ 40 NM au S de l’Équateur, le long du Méridien 73° E.

Les îles de corail sont entourées de lagons peu profonds et cristallins, bordés de récifs coralliens.

Entre les différents atolls de nombreux chenaux profonds les séparent. Quelques uns d'entre eux sont complexes et demandent une connaissance locale; Ces canaux ne doivent pas être fréquentés par les petits bateaux à cause des forts courants qui les traversent, venant de l'E ou de l'W selon la saison.

16/11/2011
Update
Jojo
Maldives
Maldives
19/10/2011
Update
Joëlle
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