Coral, Sand Bars and Reefs
20 March 2021
Phew. It's quite hot here and we're still a few degrees north of the fat bit of the Earth. The weather is lovely though. Decent breezes so far and clear blue skies all day. Ideal for reef dodging.
You really wouldn't want to be colour blind around here. Big Bobby Moresby was the last person to properly survey the Maldivian atolls and islands. And that wasn't in the last few years. Not even decades. He would be celebrating his hundred and ninetieth birthday by now and would have used up more than a few pencils and lead lines. All current Maldivian charting is based on his 1830's surveys and, ignoring shifting sand bars and new islands or extensions, it's not what you'd call deadly accurate as, according to the plotter, we continually sail across the top of C-Map and Navionics reefs that are really a hundred yards away. However, given the tools available at the time, it's a pretty good approximation but you wouldn't want to trust your boat to it. Consequently, "eyeball navigation" is the name of the game - judging depth by colour. It really is sailing by a nautical version of a Dulux Paints colour chip card.
- Deep Space Blue - press on regardless
- Hint of Greeny Blue - hhhmmm. Wot's that then?
- Summer Sky Blue - claim imminent.
The sky has similar colour variants but black is the one to watch for. When it changes from blue to grey to black, tuck in a reef or two and get your undies on the rail for a good rinsing. It's a Tropical climate, in fact I guess, Equatorial and the weather can be a bit squally but in the end, offers a perfect balance between topping up our tans and filling the fresh water tanks. I don't think we've run the water maker for a couple of weeks. And, most considerately, the squalls usually blow through overnight while we're in our pit, leaving the days bright and sunny so as not to spoil the acquisition of that beach babe/hunk look we're chasing.......... although I have to confess we've been chasing it for some years now.
We've made it as far as Thulusdhoo, and are anchored in a lagoon across from the main islands. It's nearly half way through the island chain and we finally got permission to go ashore on our first inhabited island. There's a harbour, dusty streets and a few shops, a baker, grocers, surf and dive shops and of course, the essential in every community, the mobile phone shop. There are thirty guest houses here, catering for visitors and surfer dudes from Europe, primarily Italians for some reason.
There isn't much in the way of Maldivian local food but you can get a nice pizza.