Monday, May 4, 2015

Maldives atolls April 2015

This is one of my favorite pictures in the Maldives.  This little uninhabited island had a small pavilion on it where we burned a huge amount of trash.  We brought our garbage ashore and burned it and then gathered hundreds of plastic water bottles that had been discarded on the island by day visitors from a nearby resort island.  Such a shame they still litter with so much.
A reefy bit in the middle of an atoll crossing,  These shallow coral and sand spots showed up ok when the light was right, but if it wasn't, you could easily not see these and run aground.  We only traveled in good light so we didn't make a lot of progress each day.
 One of the fancy over-the-water bungalow resorts on one of the atoll islands.  We stayed away from these for the most part.  They didn't always welcome yachties.
 An island view from within an atoll as we motored across to another anchor location.
 Looking back at the islands and the reef that extends out from them.
 One of our anchor spots along the inner edge of a sand shelf inside a reef.  That's our buddy boat, Zephyr, in the distance on the next sand tongue.  Just behind the boats, the water depth increased to unanchorable depths for us.
 Another view of the reef and the sand shelf behind it.  We are in the lagoon behind the sand shelf in this atoll. Not such great snorkeling when there is such a broad, shallow shelf of sand. The dropoff is so steep that even the coral doesn't grow on it.  Pretty colors and it was nice to hear the waves crashing in the distance on the reef.
 The reef in a shallow portion behind the edge of the atoll.  Sometimes, we'd sneak up onto the sandy shelf and drop the anchor in the shallow water on sand so we didn't have to put out so much chain.  But we'd then worry about the wind changing during the night while we slept; if that happened, we could be blown onto the crunchy reef before we knew it, so we tried to stay safe and keep the swing room we'd need to turn a full circle.
 Another sand tongue anchorage.
 A sunset from the anchorage.
 Karen trying to get a self-shot.  Such a serious look.
 Ah, a smiling selfie.
 We're heading into the little uninhabited island to have lunch and burn our trash.  Beautiful, isn't it?
 Looking back at our yachts as we enter the lagoon near the island.
 Our landing spot on the island.  We tied the dinghy to the structure with the thatched roof.  Folks come here to have campfires and have torn all the wooden slats off the edges of the landing hut for burning wood.
 Tracy, Jason and Bill in the small pavilion where we ate lunch.  Lots of trash in and around this building and we burned for over an hour to get rid of some of it.  Others have torn these wooden boards off to burn.
The sand on the other side of the island was so soft, you can see my deep footprints from where I sank in.
 Those dots in the middle are our boats as we look from the little uninhabited island.  The reef around this dot of a place was great for snorkeling.  This is where we saw the 7 spotted eagle rays together.
 Bill watching the snorkel boat offload a few French snorkelers from a resort across the atoll.  They didn't stay long, and one of them actually thanked us for cleaning up so much of the island.
 The cowrie shell I found while snorkeling here.  The spots really are blurry; it's not my camera this time.
 One of Jason's cases of Scotch from Langkawi, Malaysia.  The caution's wording is a bit amusing.
 Karen and the new cowrie in another selfie.
 A sunset behind a tall cloud.
 A typical island view as we cross an atoll.
 and more dolphins.
 We had the pleasure of their company for a while as this large group of them played around our bows, riding our bow waves.
 We don't usually have so many at one time, but we've seen a lot of dolphins in the Maldives.
 We're still amazed at how fast they breathe out and then in again as they barely clear the surface of the water when they move.

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