First impressions of Uligamu
Our last 24 hours at sea was motoring the wind died completely and we took the sails down. It wasn’t so bad because the water maker was on so we could have showers and clean the boat when we arrived. It was exciting seeing the first islands during the day although they are made of sand with jungle covering them and aren’t very high. Some of them have villages on them but a lot of them are uninhabited.
The last part of the journey saw an amazing sunset. Not so good because we wanted to be anchored before it got dark. We came into the anchorage as the sun went down. There’s a ‘shelf’ inside the reef to anchor on but as we were approaching I could see coral over the bow. It was far too late to play that game so we anchored in 18 metres further out. Bit exposed but we could move in tomorrow when it was safe with the sun overhead.
We were anchored at
07˚ 04.71 north
072˚ 55.13 east
Our journey of 715 nautical miles had taken 5 days 8 hours giving us an average speed of 5.58 knots not bad considering we were travelling at 2 or 3 kts the first few days with the current against us. Our agent Assad brought the customs, immigration, etc out to us to check us in along with a tub of ice cream! How good is that? Check in took about half an hour then it was showers and bed. We were tired. The next day Bill raised our Maldives courtesy flag.
As the next day was Friday we stayed on the boats. The Maldives are 100% Sunni Muslim so Friday is their Sunday. The fact that they are muslims also means there’s no alcohol sold here, only very expensively in resorts!!! Now you can see why we stocked up. Assad came out to the boat to get our sims sorted for the phones and to set it up as a modem. The internet seems quite fast here so that’s a change.
On Saturday Inspiration Lady, Tintin and Camomile crews went ashore for a tour of the little village. There are only 500 people on the island and they basically belong to one of two families. There aren’t any cars. This is the main road through the village.
Some of the villagers have lived on the island all their life.
This was her house.
The land is mostly sand so not very much grows here but they do have some wonderful trees. This banana tree was laden with fruit. Take a look at the wall, it’s made of dressed coral which means they cut it and shape it before using it to build houses and walls. It’s not allowed any more but there are still some beautiful pieces around.
A beautiful bread fruit tree with another lovely coral wall.
This was the end of the village. Just jungle beyond here.
Right next to the end of the road is the generator housing.
Pumping away 24 hours providing power for homes of the people.
There are 2 shops on the island, this is the bigger one of the two. It seemed to have a fair sized selection of goods but very little in the way of fresh stuff. I’ve ordered some bread which is coming on the supply ship on Monday. I still have quite a lot of supplies from my Sri Lanka stock up but I could do with some lettuce and apples. Will be interesting to see what else turns up.
I found these adorable little girls at Assad’s house the one on the left is his daughter. They were like a pair of dolls. So sweet.
Assad took us to see the village school although being Saturday no one was there. It was in very good condition but being run like the schools were 50 years ago. Ages 6,7 and 8 in one class room, 9, 10 and 11 year olds in a second classroom and a couple more classrooms for the older children. At 16 they take a Cambridge exam like a GCSE if they pass the government will pay for them to go to Mahe and at 18 they take further exams, A levels, for a place in University. There are also Btec courses for the ones who don’t pass the exam.
There isn’t much for them to do on the island and I think most of them would probably stay on in Mahe once they had finished their education. That means the island will slowly die out if the young people don’t return but we’ve seen that so much in our travels.
We walked back to the jetty and the dinghies. Assad invited the 6 of us to a meal at his house that evening to try some local food.
Meanwhile Bill and I still hadn’t been in the water and we’ve been here for 2 days so we headed back to Camomile. Two of the other boats had left leaving two spaces on the ‘shelf’ so Camomile and Inspiration Lady took them.
We are now anchored in the most stunning aquamarine colour. It’s like being anchored in a swimming pool.
Our position is
072˚ 55.18 E
take a look on google earth.
Meanwhile in the water …..
I tried to get a photo of Camomile with the coral underneath but it didn’t quite work but close.
This is our keel under the water.
and the anchor in about 5 metres of water. So clear.
That evening we went back ashore for our wonderful meal.