First Cut Is The Deepest
05 April 2021
First cut is the deepest. Four point three metres to be exact.
Anchoring here in the Maldives is something of a challenge. Getting a good night’s sleep, even harder. The general rule of thumb is to stay on the inside of the reef on the atoll’s windward side. Once there, nose up to said reef and drop the hook in the few metres of sand patch that, with luck, if you read Google Earth correctly and it wasn’t actually a passing cloud, is on the leeward side of the reef. Then, just as you’re finally getting to sleep in the thirty degrees and soggy wash cloth humidity, hope the wind doesn’t die overnight and you drift back onto the waiting reef.
The good news is that we’ve discovered that the aforementioned excavators have been doing their Mr Blippy. They’ve conveniently chopped cuts through some of the fringing reefs allowing access into the sheltered, temptingly blue, inner lagoons. On inhabited islands, the cuts allow access for the supply boats to feed and water the locals and the high speed inter island ferries to facilitate visiting the mother-in-law or a bit of shopping on the “big island”.
About half the inhabited islands are resorts, where, as again I’ve previously mentioned, (yawn) room rates, possibly including one’s butler, top floor to ocean water slide and access to as many restaurants as you can shake a fork at, charge from $1,000 to $4,000 per night. One island we passed is for rent on an exclusive basis. Bring the family!You can rent the whole island and it’s included motor yacht on an exclusive basis for a trifling $40,000 per night!!
Unfortunately, cruisers anchoring in the resort lagoons are about as welcome as “Travelling People” showing up in your neighbourhood beauty spot. Consequently we’re restricted to non resort islands, inhabited or uninhabited - and having struggled to anchor around both, now seek out those with these man-made cuts, all in the hope they haven’t silted over and are wide enough and deep enough.
All said, we’ve found it’s best to sail in company. It is however crucial to engineer the passage so they arrive first. Ideally your buddy boat will not be very good at Mexican Train Dominoes, have air-con and most importantly, have forward looking sonar and ideally, you’ll be in a boat suited for these waters, perhaps, a full keel, Island Packet?