in Indian OceanComments Off on Maldives


Uligan in the northern Maldives was a page from a tourist brochure…


We anchored there on a clear, windless morning, after motoring for the last 30 hours of the trip from Sri Lanka.
True to form, the first part of the 3 day passage had been brisk sailing in head winds and rough seas as we crossed the Gulf of Mannar between Sri Lanka and India, but once in the lee of the Indian continent the wind and seas died, -like everyone else before us, we motored.
The Maldives are a collection of many islands and low atolls, but Uligan is not hard to find, it is at the northern-most point of the archipelago.
Compared with Male, the capital, it is very small, undeveloped and there are few services offered, but it is a very convenient stopping off point for a few days of rest in idyllic surroundings.


There is excellent coral, clean water, and great sea life, -manta rays regularly cruise through the anchorage, -so there is excellent snorkelling, but otherwise, absolutely nothing to do!
The small town is a port of clearance, but compared with where we had been, the formalities were unbelievably easy and completed within 15 minutes. A group of smiling officials in immaculately clean clothes and no shoes came out and visited the boat, refusing refreshments!



Ashore is a small village of coral rock houses and clean white sand streets,


with people who go out of their way to make you welcome, -even to insisting on sharing the betel nut…
Their lifestyle is best described as ‘laid back’…


and we particularly enjoyed the plentiful public seating with a difference…


-it’s part of the personality of the place!

The Maldivians are a race of people of their own right, with their own language and curious Maldivian script


and are strictly Muslim. They are distantly related to Indians and as their nearest neighbours, there is still a lot of sharing across the cultures.


There are only 2 or 3 small shops in Uligan, selling only very basic groceries and apart from papaya and bananas, all the fruit and vegetables are imported, -mostly from outside the Maldives.
It is not a place to be restocking the boat or expecting a culinary adventure, -the food and supplies are all very basic.

We spent a lot of time in the water, it was a good opportunity to clean the boat’s underneath and within swimming distance of the anchorage were excellent coral reefs with great, new (to us) varieties of fish, -and octopus.

There’s nothing to do ashore however, the island is too small for a meaningful walk, and much of it is anaccessible to us.
(It’s easy to see why the Maldivians are worried about sea level rise due to global warming, -none of the islands rise more than a few metres above sea level. It is hard to imagine, living a whole life without hills or any room to even really walk. The island is so small that there’s no need for motorised transport!).


A group of us took a day trip on a local boat around some of the surrounding islands




visiting a school on the nearest, similarly sized to Uligan




then going to another for the nearest main town and ‘shopping’


with lunch in a restaurant!
After some snorkelling at another great location off a third island we visited a nearby fourth with its resort…we were not invited to stop!


The over-the-water villa accommodation was very high class, with individual balcony pools and so on…
The Maldives are trying hard to develop their tourism with many new and very high class resorts, -from the little we saw of them, it has to be a great place to take a relaxing holiday, although maybe not the cheapest, or authentic Maldivian!

We enjoyed our few days in the anchorage, -although in comparison, -we felt like cheap back-packers…

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