February 10, 2011
the most pure and kind people on earth
maldives is a wonderful place but also a bit expensive to sail around. We did not have much time and only stayed in one island. few other sailors do sail around to other islands with a one-month cruising permit that can be bought for around 700 USD. In addition we were informed that for each anchorage there is also a fee of 5 USD per night plus an additional 15 USD per person on board. there are also many restricted places for sailboats, making sailing here a little complicated; but I imagine this is good in order to preserve the beauty and nature of the place. so after analyzing our finances and specially seeing the little time we had, we only stayed in this north island called ulligamo. this place is unique. it has a court house (more like a room), a school, three small convenience stores, an immigration office and a total of 487 inhabitants. the water is clear and the beaches are very pretty, however we did not spend the majority of our time snorkeling or exploring the sea here. we instead spent our time with the most charming asset of the place: the people that live here. we have never met such pure and simple persons (and we say this in the most positive way possible). it seemed to us none of them were tainted by civilization. they were happy to share with us stories and simply laugh and not expect anything in return. we really had a great time with them. sadly it was the men only, for some reason we did not share much with the women; in fact, we did not see them much outside. something about their religion that we still do not understand much.
besides the locals, we also spent a lot of time with the other sailors. this was the meeting point for a convoy we joined to sail together with 30 other sailboats for the rest of the indian ocean. so here we planned how to move forward through pirate infested waters…. it was the beginning of the convoy experience and also the end of the joyful sailing we had known until so far……