Welcome to Male, Maldives

This morning, Eric realized that our primary bilge pump wasn’t working. Ooops. The good news is that we would be in to shore very soon, where it would be much easier to fix. Only a small amount of water leaks from the shaft as the boat is running, so it is really not a big deal. And we are not planning to spring any leaks. Even if we did we have another automatic bilge pump and a manual pump.

We could see land at around 1100. Like the Tuomotus, the islands are small and low, barely poking out above the water. The islands appear to be randomly scattered, which is a sharp contrast to the Tuomotus, where the islands are generally are congregated together into a clear ring shape. Though scattered, the islands here are pretty close together, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see this cluster of little islands were once one big island.

Our destination was the island of Male (pronounced Mall-ay). As we got closer, we were kind of shocked by how built up Male is. We were expecting it to look like the Tuomotus, with a small village and little houses spread out beyond the village. From what we could see, it looked like most of the buildings were between three and ten stories high, and incredibly densely packed. It looks like any mid-size city center anywhere in the world, except maybe with prettier scenery surrounding it. We knew Male has an area of only 1.7 square kilometers with a population of 130,000, so we should have been expecting it to be built up. Logically speaking, to get that many people in such a small space, it would have to be.

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As was recommended from several different sources, we Continue reading Welcome to Male, Maldives

About the Maldives

The Maldives are made up of 26 atolls scattered over an area of 90,000 square kilometers, on and just north of the equator. As we had mentioned while in the Tuomotus, atolls were once larger islands that have slowly sunk over thousands of years. The lower points of the island are already underwater, leaving the higher points exposed as multiple small islands situated around a reef. There are 1190 of these smaller islands that make up the larger atolls in the Maldives. The population of the country is roughly 300,000, with about 130,000 living in the capital, Male.

It is believed to be first inhabited before 500BC by Sri Lankan and Southern Indians. Arab traders came through the Maldives en route to the Far East beginning in the 2nd century AD. The Maldives were called “The Money Isles” because they had a tremendous amount of cowrie shells used as international currency at the time. According to legend, in 1153 AD, a sea jinni (evil spirit) called Rannamaari demanded regular sacrifices of young virgin girls in Malé. Abu Al Barakat, a visiting North African Arab, took the place of a sacrificial virgin, and Continue reading About the Maldives

Passage from Port Blair to Maldives Days 1-4

So far this passage has been smooth and pleasant. Since we left, winds have been light, but wind speed and direction have been erratic. Of course, all that matters to us is that the winds are light, but we do feel sorry for the poor sailors, who must be going crazy from constantly changing their sails. Thanks to light winds we have had calm seas. The swells are four feet, coming at long intervals, and there are virtually no wind waves. It is really nice. It just doesn’t get much better than this. We are making good time, too. We have been consistently running at the relatively low 1600 RPM but averaging 6.25 knots. Flat seas help with speed, as do currents going our way.

We are quite pleased to report that Continue reading Passage from Port Blair to Maldives Days 1-4