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Sunday, 8 April 2007, Gan Island, Addu Atoll, South Maldives
Map of our track & dives in Addu Atoll, Maldives. Click on a dive flag to see that dive.
Dear Friends and Family,
Maldivian boys swim in the anchorage. We
once saw women in here, fully dressed.
We just found out that our newsletter list-server was down and we believe our last 5 newsletters didn't go out. We've re-sent our letter detailing our trip through the Sri Lanka interior. The other 4 were more passage notes, detailing our 5 day, 600nm passage from Galle, Sri Lanka, to Gan Island on Addu Atoll, the southern-most of the Maldives atolls. We'll post illustrated versions of those on the website when we can, rather than re-sending them. In short, we left Galle the afternoon of 27 March and arrived here the afternoon of 31 March after a slow (5 knot average) but peaceful passage.
Since then a weather system has moved in, bringing some rain and squally conditions, so we're staying put for now. We've had to re-anchor 3 times and we feel uncomfortable if we're off Ocelot for much time. Luckily, the fun stuff to do is mostly nearby, snorkeling and diving on the reef next to us. We've seen many old marine friends (Spotted Eagle Ray, Lion-fish, turtles, etc) and many new speciess that we're trying to identify now. Good fun.
A Vermilion Rock Cod (Coral Grouper) cruises
for a meal in the Maldives. Photo by Amanda
The Maldives are a strange blend: the physical atolls remind us of the pristine beauty of the Tuamotus - low rings, perhaps 20 miles in diameter, of 3' (1m!) high islands covered in palm trees - except the Maldives have much more population than the Tuamotus. The people are friendly. They're all Muslim (by decree!). Tourists are tolerated (they're the main cash-crop here) but are not encouraged to mingle with the natives lest their strange ideas rub off - they're supposed to stay in their resort compounds - so we are also restricted and not supposed to move around at all.
Last night we had a fun pot-luck on Ocelot with the other 3 yachts anchored here. It was ostensibly to celebrate Jon's birthday, but we take any opportunity for a party. Since we had a couple of professional singers on board, Amanda started playing the guitar and a good time was had by all (of course).
We'll be pushing off for the 300 mile passage to the 2 northern atolls of the Chagos archipelago when the weather calms down a bit (right now, there's a cyclone brewing off the coast of Sri Lanka!) but we don't know when that will be. We'll let you know.
Fair winds and calm seas -- Jon, Sue and Amanda Hacking
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