Wednesday 9th March we weighed anchor and left our beautiful island passing the Waldorf Astoria resort on our way out of the Ihavandhippolhu atoll and heading in a southerly direction from now on. They had certainly made good use of the mother island. There were over water bungalows coming out of the north and south sides of the island and jetties coming out of the east and west, it probably depends on the weather on how they land their clients or there’s always the bright red sea plane that was sitting there waiting for passengers. How the other half live!
We sailed, or motored, back into the deep water and on towards the Thiladhumathee Atoll. The numbers on the chart are depth of water in metres. Once we go over the edge our depth gauge won’t pick up depths much more than 150 metres and just flashes in a ‘computer says no’ sort of way. Coming back into the next atoll is a bit unnerving but the reefs are quite clearly visible as we approach. The straight black lines are our planned route and again the yellow line is the track we took.
The islands are just basically sand bars and don’t have any height so you don’t see them until you’re quite close. It would be dangerous to do a night sail around this area.
The island just above where we stayed is called Kelaa and was the northern British base during WWII.
This local fishing boat had come from there. Unfortunately there’s no way in for a keel boat drawing 2 metres so we continued on to the lagoon in front of Dhapparu. Where we found Inspiration Lady and Tintin. Our position was
073 13.6E in 10.8 metres sand.
Not sure I would recommend this anchorage because the snorkeling wasn’t very good and the beach is full of mosquitoes but Inspiration lady and Tintin had a nice visit at the village on the island of Filladhoo to the south east of the anchorage.
Thursday 10th we left Dhappura and headed southwest to the Rasfari reef. There was a gentle breeze from the north east so we put the twin headsails out and sailed there. So far we haven’t come across any uncharted reefs and the charted reefs are easy to see with the change in the colour of the water. Some of the islands have been a bit off set according to the radar.
This photo shows our track over the edge of the Rasfari reef, the green area is reef which means we shouldn’t cross it but you can clearly see our track takes us straight across it. I had checked it out on google earth which showed a clear passage through the reef plus we had some waypoints from other cruiser that had already visited. When we arrived I stood on the bow looking out for the deep water. The passage was narrow but there was plenty of room for us. It is a deep anchorage but we managed to find one of the few 18 metre spots there.
We anchored in position
It was a stunning spot. We were over two miles from the nearest island but the reefs were giving us protection.
There was a reef to our port and starboard sides and a few hundred metres in front of us. So the dinghy was lowered and off we went.
WOW the snorkeling was amazing. I have so many photos and found it difficult to choose which ones to post on here so I’m just going to post lots of them.
All of these photos were taken at the reef to the east of us.
The next day we went forward to the reef to the south and west of us and the fish life was astounding. Snorkeling along the edge of the dropoff was the best. The fish hang around waiting for the nutrients to float off the reef. So many fish.
Then we spotted this big boy lurking under the rocks – a moray eel.
Quite lucky it see it because it blends in with rocks and it was quite a way down, about 4 or 5 metres. He came out of his hiding place and slithered under the next rock. It was a good metre and a bit long.
Some of the little coral heads are so pretty and colourful. This one was mauve, pink and white.
Then we spotted a big 3 metre nose to tip of tail sting ray. This wasn’t one of those tame ones you can feed in the resorts but a real wild one. A bit scary really.
Back in the dinghy and motoring to the reef to our south. The colour of the water here is astounding The bommies were further apart in the middle of the reef. While motoring over the lagoon we could see a spot where we could have anchored in 3metres in sand but getting over the reef is the tricky bit. I think we’ll leave Camomile where she is. She’s quite happy watching us have fun.
For the boats coming behind us. From the anchor spot look to the south west you’ll see a red dinghy buoy which the fisherman often use with a white buoy near it (hope it hasn’t gone) when you’ve travelling in your dinghy on the west side of the reef keep those two buoys in line and head directly south. You’ll come across another buoy just before you get to the reef (it’s difficult to see) that reef in front of you is the best. An amazing drop off.
When you’re swimming along the reef looking over the edge it feels like flying as you look down 10 to 20 metres into the deep blue. It’s a divers paradise.
Saturday 12th we left the Rasfushi reef on our way to Kulhudhuffushi where we were meeting up with Inspiration Lady and Tintin again. After an early morning start we got to the harbour at roughly the same time as Inspiration Lady. It’s possible to tie to the wharf but Bill wasn’t happy doing that so we went in and dropped our anchor. Unfortunately we were drifting too close to the shallow area by the wall. Bill tried to bring the anchor up quick but it jammed and wouldn’t go up or down. Gary was planning to go up against the wall and suggested we tie alongside them which we did so Bill was able to sort out the anchor chain. Tintin came in about an hour later and also tied to the wall.
It was only US$12 to go into the harbour which was very reasonable and saved us anchoring in the deep water outside. The town wasn’t very big but had an ATM so we were able to get some local currency. It also had some groceries stores and a couple of places to eat. It was Jackie’s birthday and we all went out to celebrate (camera left behind).
The tide dropped overnight and unfortunately Inspiration Lady’s rub rail managed to get under the big rubber fender that is permanently attached to the wall of the wharf and as the tide was coming back up it ripped part of it off. The fenders had bounced out of the way. Poor Gary. Bill helped him remove the old wood but he has a serious repair to do.
We stayed there two nights then headed out on 14th March to continue south and into Miladhunmadulu atoll.
One last coral picture.