Friday, 14 January 2011

Male' atoll - voyage to Mumbai

8th I am invited to join Nina, Avnish and Joya to have lunch on Banyan tree resort to give Nina a farewell as she was signing off. It is a small resort north of Male’ Island and we arrive on the jetty were we get to moor our tender boat. The lunch is buffet with mixed Continental and Chinese cuisine. The food was not that great but I guess that is the norm as everything has to be flown or shipped into the country so nothing is ever fresh off the fields. 

Nina on the way to Banyan Tree

Joya at Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree resort

The E-W path that crossed the Island

The pavilion, perfect to sit and get hammered

More beach

Sting Ray feeding

Before leaving Banyan Tree we saw the daily Sting Ray feeding taking place at the jetty. The local guide fed the Sting Rays some kind of fish while giving the audience a lecture of the habits of Sting Rays, pretty interesting.

The next 2 days went diving with the deck crew at Banana reef and Furana south. Spotted turtles and Napoleon Wrasse fish along with Moray Eels and Lion fish, cool fun dives.  

Banana Reef

On the 10th I was giving Joya a snorkeling lesson at Bandos Island and was rewarded with lunch. Bandos is still the same “Bandit” Island as it was in 2007 when I was there the last time, pure daylight robbery by charging 20 US$ to enter the Island. Well, I guess one has to make a living somehow.

Huge school of small fish at Furana

In the evening I took a stroll in Male’ while Avnish was taking care of business with our agent. Noticed that the tourist shops selling sea shells just got cheaper the further into the Island one wandered. At the beach front a fist sized cowrie sold for 25 USD, a few blocks in it sold for 10 USD and at a non-descript general store it sold for 1 USD. Otherwise Male’ residents seemed quite well off as many famous trademark shops lined the streets and displayed their wares.

The flag was still up after sunset

At 10pm we weigh anchor and leave for Mumbai. We had to take pilot onboard as apparently it is required when you enter and exit the country.

Last Maldivian sunset for us

Next day on 11th at sea it is Zina’s birthday so the crew arranges a birthday card with the requisite cake to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Happy Birtday Zina :)

13th morning we arrive Mumbai and there is heavy traffic and fog (smog?) bringing the visibility under 1'. I could barely see the stranded MSC Chitra by the fairway. The pilot was delayed for hours but eventually we get him also onboard. Anchored as usual in front of Gateway of India about noon. Another cruise had come to an end.

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