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Maldives 2

We arrived in Male (the main city in the Maldives) and checked into the Mookai Hotel. The main activity at night in Male is riding around on motorized bikes. The great number of bikes on the streets were a danger to the pedestrians.  

We spent the next day walking around the town, watching the locals unload goods from boats,

clean fish in the market, sell produce and move metal end irons to construction sites. We saw the presidential palace as it was patrolled by security guards.  We heard the call to prayer and saw inside through the windows of the mosques. Then we shopped the town for locally made wooden carvings and T shirts.






At night we boarded the Manthiri dive boat to begin our long awaited scuba diving trip. Only 5 of 12 passengers this week and we have our own spacious cabins. One of the passengers brought the entire season one of Lost on DVD. Flashbacks to my addiction to The X-Files began on a boat trip to Cocos Island. 

We dived twice during the day and once at night the first day and went ashore to a small town because the crew had an errand. This town has narrow, hard packed sand streets with houses made of coral and cement. The jetty wall is made of sandbags. Here almost all of the women cover their hair and the standard of living was lower than Male.
The park benches here are made of thick string.




The Maldives is  made up of atolls and islands and is located in the Indian Ocean . Many of the islands have resorts and are accessible only by seaplane. We watched one evening, as the seaplanes took off and landed next to our boat. The water is in the low 80s and I wore a 3 mm wetsuit with vest. Occasionally, I wore a 5mm wetsuit because immersion four times a day can be chilling. A surface interval, lying in the sun in sweats helped reheat my body.
Harry spends his surface interval smoking a pipe. The air temperature is tropical, as the Maldives is located near the equator.

All the dives are made from a different boat called a dhoni. It is like a day boat and is very comfortable and spacious. 32% nitrox is available at an extra charge. Our dive gear remained on the dhoni the entire week. On the first dives, we swam  around pinnacles which are called bommies that go to a depth of about 150 feet. We also dived along walls and in channels.  There were lots of colors on the reef and numerous fish to watch.  
We also dived a ship wreck. Many dives had a brisk current and required some heavy duty kicking action and a reef hook. Luckily the Manthiri supplies steel 92 tanks for the out of shape kicker. We watched very active and dense fish life at cleaning stations. There were large schools of trevally, snapper, batfish, oriental sweet lips,  unicorn fish, and tuna. Blue trigger fish and moray eels were found on every dive. 
One moray pulled my glove half off my finger, while another (moray to the left) bit through my glove, tore it and drew blood from another finger. Yet then, another moray made a grab for my thumb. 







Go to Maldives Part 3


Eileen's Scuba Site
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