Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Diving Furanafushi West

Here we actually thought we were going to the Maagiri caves but eventually came short of one reef as we did not have our guide book with us. Nevertheless, not a bad reef dive, at times good corals at times no corals. Pelagics were present. A lot of traffic could be heard as the channel into the resort was just south of us as well as I think other boats pass here on the way to the more northern resorts and Islands.

BA chart 3323, inset

Spotted boxfish

Saddled sharpnose puffer

Saddled sharpnose puffer

Yellow boxfish

Moray eel


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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Diving Black coral reef

Went to the Feydhoo Finolhu where there is according to the Tim Godfrey "Dive Maldives" guide the Black Coral reef. Black coral is semi precious and used for jewellery. Weather was excellent and we went to the Island and discovered there is a resort nowadays so we plonked in the drink a bit west of their entrance and swam west. The reef is a vertical wall, not so much coral there but the wall looks more "rocky" like on the outside of an atoll. Saw nothing spectacular except the normal pelagics and we surfaced at the Western end where there is a wreck in the middle on the reef.

BA chart 3323, inset

Flora

Clarks anemonefish

Yellow boxfish

Clam

Orange-striped triggerfish

Black-saddle coralgrouper

Moray eel

Lionfish

Circular batfish

Duskyfin rock cod


Clown triggerfish

Kashmir snapper

Soldierfish (?)

Oriental sweetlips

Damselfish

Maldives anemonefish

Titan triggerfish

The wreck on the reef


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Monday, 27 February 2012

Walk on Hulhumale'

Kalizma at anchor

I guess among Addoo atoll and Male' Island, Hulhumale' is the only other residential Island where foreigners can mingle or at least see how the local populace lives. On resorts you hardly find any Maldivians let alone get in touch with their culture, food, customs etc. 

Our walking path beside the road

Boulevards of Hulhumale'

Resorts are just fantastic artificial make believe places with no other meaning than to make money out of the hapless tourist, or in case of Maldives usually just married couples or couples in general. Yet many people return to these places year after year. maybe the surrounding is so off their usual turf that it somehow inspires people to come or recharges their batteries. I for one would never pay to come to Maldives, it is just not worth it in my eyes. 

Coming from Hulhule Island you are greeted with this sign

The guard post in Hulhumale'

Maybe I could consider a liveaboard dive boat as diving is my passion, but staying on an Island where everywhere you go you need to whip out your wallet for anything you do (or pay yourself halfway into debt for an "everything included" vacation). I'd go mad in a few days. Either way I'd develop cabin fever as discovering any resort Island does not take more than 10 minutes, tops. 

The Ocean side beach

Local road

I still recall the looks on the tourist faces on Addoo atoll when they came cycling back from their daily tour. The faces were long and drawn and far from happy looking. Later I heard they had booked into the resort for 2 weeks and I think the daily room rate was abt 400USD/ night. If you don't dive or fish you run out of options in less than a week or perhaps some people can lie in the sun for days on end, not my cup of tea.

BA chart 3323, inset

From the already built buildings the whole plain is planned to be built

Well, that was my rant about resorts, lets get to Hulhumale'. The Island is quite large and is evidently planned to have a huge residential colony there. I could also see some industrial estates there as well as garbage handling too. The roads are pretty wide and will cater for any traffic that may be due in the future. In the bay we are staying is next to the landing jetty for the Male' ferry, you get a ticket for 5 MRF one way, the journey takes 20 minutes.

1000 units project, of course Chinese business men have their finger in the pie

The municipal swimming area

Upon landing at the Hulhumale' jetty we started walking south along the coast with Dubey. After a while you'll end up to a causeway connecting to the airport Island Hulhule. This Island was in olden times considered haunted by several "jinni". The causeway has barriers and a guard preventing anyone entering the Island I suppose on unnecessary grounds. One would not want the local populace or even the guest workers going to the airport bar and get sloshed and then wander back late at night and raise hell in the sleeping colony.

Someone's Fukuoka but driving on a spare tyre

"Please don't dump garbage"

Anyway, we continue past the Causeway on the Ocean side of the Island, now heading North. The beach is heavily fortified against erosion, a heavy duty mat has been placed on the sand and on top it something that looks like hardened cement bags. After a few minutes walking we enter the area under development and also pass a municipal swimming area. Dubey tells me that this area is usually full during Thursdays & Fridays (muslim weekend). Then we come to the northern end of the Island and there is a communal BBQ area and a view to the neighboring resort. 

The communal BBQ area, Club Med in background

Pine trees of Hulhumale'

We walk around the northern tip and on the lagoon side is some big construction project going on and soutwards towards the jetty is actually the nicest part of the Island. The whole area is taken up by pine trees that gives a look of some greenery and nature. Finally we arrive to the point we started from and see that we spent about an hour walking.

The pine lined local jetty

At the jetty women are warned about wearing bikinis


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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Diving under Kalizma

On the 25th morning we tried diving the Furana North divespot but after 2 attempts we just had to admit that the circumstances were not in our favor. The inflowing current was too strong for us to be able to stay at the reef and to do a drift dive without a dive marker was too hazardous as the waters above were so turbulent that the surface boat would have lost our bubbles (and us).

Cathodic anode before

So, we packed it in and motored back to Kalizma. As we still had plenty of air left in the tank I took a scraper and went down below to expose the propellers from seagrowth. After 3 months of sitting Maldives the growth was remarkable.

Center propeller before


Oysters the size of my hand and crabs in all sizes. Barnacles and seagrass. Well, staid under for the best part of an hour and cleaned all 3 props and the rudder while my dive buddy took care of the stabilizer fins and the bottom as far as the air let him do it.

Anode after


At least it beat the conditions of diving in Mumbai harbour with less than 30cm visibility with torches. There also a particular grass tends to grow on the bottom and it is like long fronds, like a beard. I remember when we tried to find the seawater inlets and scrape them free of growth, crabs were biting our fingers.

Center propeller after


In Goa at least we can see a bit and there I remember I came up with a small crab in my ear after a scrapping session. Luckily he did not like the surroundings and came out on his own free will.
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Friday, 24 February 2012

Diving Bandos Island

Went in the NE corner and ventured East with the strong current in the beginning. The visibility was quite good but as the current became less, when we rounded the Island, the visibility deteriorated. At the start we "bumped" into a reef shark, the high light of the dive.

BA chart 3323, inset

Lobster



Reef shark

Damselfish

Orange-striped triggerfish

Duskyfin rock cod (no flash)

Duskyfin rock cod

Scribbled filefish



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