We day tripped from Uligan to Male. There never was enough wind to sail with average wind speed below five knots. So every day we motored from 10 to 25 miles ensuring that we arrived at the new anchorage around 2 pm in order to navigate through the anchorage coral with some time to spare in case we needed to move. We have encountered the hottest and most humid weather ever. Sweat glands get a continuous workout even at night if there is no breeze. Cold beers sitting next to the freezer were our mid-day treat.
The first stop after Uligan was the Island Hideaway Resort for Easter weekend. The resort has a "marina" which was a secure dock for Petite Ourse to tie up. The water and electricity on this dock were not operational. The "marina" fee was expensive at $100 US per night but it did allow complete access to the resort including snorkelling reefs, pools, sports centre, electric transport buggies, cultural entertainment and restaurants. They had happy hour with half price drinks at one of the bars to which we were the only ones to avail ourselves of the opportunity. We had two huge Easter breakfast buffets with a mixture of Asian, Maldivian and European food. The breakfasts were $35 US per person and worth it. During the day, Dominique took a Maldivian cooking lesson featuring rosti and visited the spa, Jacqueline hung out at the pool, and myself I spent an afternoon in the air conditioned sports centre downloading some needed program updates from the internet. We stayed two nights until Easter Sunday before continuing south.
The next night we anchored at the entrance to the Nolhivaramfu lagoon and then went outside the lagoon to Feevah the next day. The chief of the island invited us to go ashore. The island is one of the few vegetable and fruit producing islands in the Maldives and we were not disappointed We got rose apples (also called Malay apples), bananas, mangoes and a large assortment of vegetables.
On Tuesday, March 29 we were anchored in the lagoon of Dholhiyladoo which is the sight of a deserted resort. A British sailboat was also in the anchorage. Continuing south we stopped overnight at Randheli the sight of the French resort Cheval Blanc after getting permission by phone the day before to anchor. Dominique and Jacqueline went ashore as the captain was suffering from a sore neck. This was the most luxurious resort visited with the top villa on a private island going for about $50,000 per week.
We crossed to the Faadhippolhu Lhaviayani atoll and tried to anchor off the Kuredu resort but we moved after a security boat came out asking us for $150 for the privilege of anchoring. We had tried phoning the day before with a Lonely Planet phone number which was incorrect. When we got the right number from security the next day, the manager was unpleasant. Definitely not your friendly resort, so we moved our anchorage away from the resort but at the west end of the reef of Kuredu. This is a place to avoid.
With over 100 resorts in the Maldives it is hard to avoid them all as they usually have the best anchorages with guests being moved by boat or seaplane. The Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru was our next stop and we were welcomed there but it was clear they were not used to cruising sailboats. We were asked to move our boat at night because a large resort boat had unexpectedly returned. We refused since the area is strewn with coral and eventually they found another solution for the returned boat. The next two nights we spent in nearby Dighu Faru. Extremely peaceful with only one charter boat the second night and surrounded by beautiful turquoise water.
On April 4th, we crossed to the Gaaru Falhu, part of the North Male atoll, and anchored just east of the north east pass into the lagoon. It was not easy to find a suitable anchorage with bommies strewn throughout the area. It took us six tries before we were satisfied and spent a peaceful night. The next day we got in the main body of the North Male atoll and anchored in a deep bay in a reef north of Helengeli. Again surround by turquoise waters and no other boats in the anchorage.
Our next to last stop was Thulusdhoo. No resort but a bar boat anchored in the lagoon. In May the boat reverts to be being a surfing safari boat. Two young men operated the bar boat, one Maldivian, Mohammed, and one Italian, Michelli. They were brother-in-laws. Michelli's sister was married to Mohammed.
We are now in Hulumale, the anchorage for Male. The anchorage is mostly populated by safari dive boats north of the ferry dock. There is also 4 or 5 other cruising sailboats mixed in. Boat traffic is constant even into the night, not your peaceful anchorage but quite secure. Landfilling is going on a frentic pace and the once resort at the north end of the anchorage is no longer operating.
Our resort rating
• Island Hideaway Resort ◊◊◊◊
• Cheval Blanc ◊◊◊◊◊
• Kuredu avoid like the plaque
• Four Seasons ◊◊◊