Published: April 14th 2010April 12th 2010
We had the best week, weather-wise, sailing from Malaysia across the Indian Ocean to the Seychelles. There is a poem about life in the tropics and it captures the feeling of cruising in this part of the world. The gist of the poem is that the moon seems closer, the sunsets are brighter, the clouds are fluffier, the ocean is bluer and love is stronger--life in the tropics is more like living! We agree. Captain Dag said it was the most beautiful morning he had ever experienced and that’s saying something from someone who has been at sea most of his life. To see the clouds mirrored on the smooth ocean is like looking at a beautiful, vibrant water color painting. The day before our arrival in the Maldives there was a “Sundowner” party on the bow of the ship on a perfectly still and sultry evening so we could watch as the orange fireball slipped into the ocean.
The Maldives are somewhat of a dichotomy. They are 100% Muslim and other religions are outlawed. At the same time, the Maldives have some of the most exotic resort getaways in the world. Malé, the capital, is entry point for the
thousands of tiny islands and atolls which comprise the country of the Maldives. Upon arrival Jamie made an announcement that if any women were planning to go to the beach in Malé, they could not wear regular swimsuits. It is required that women wear long shorts and shirts to go swimming. Liquor is strictly prohibited yet there is a large drug problem among the younger generation of Maldivians. On the outer islands bikinis and topless sunbathing are much in evidence and alcohol is readily available. We took a speed boat out to Dhonveli Island and spent the day snorkeling and beach combing. The waters are bathtub warm and filled with tropical fish and colorful coral.
While in Malé five Israeli security agents boarded and were with us as we passed through the pirate infested waters of the western Indian Ocean and around Africa. Captain Dag gave us a security briefing and instructions should an attack occur. The sonar noise device was set up on the aft deck and the high powered fire hoses were deployed. Freddie the Navigator told us about a friend of his who was held hostage on a pirated ship for eight months. The friend was
recently released but is having a hard time adjusting after the deprivations he suffered at the hands of these waterborne outlaws. One of the guest speakers, Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, gave a lecture on the current state of piracy. Glenmore is a former intelligence operative in Britain and is still regularly briefed on world events. He advised us to “Be alert not alarmed.”
We attended the annual "Jimbo's Diner" dinner. Everyone dresses in their trashiest outfits to come up to LaVeranda for a roadhouse dinner and dancing. It is always a hoot!!
The Seychelles Islands are like the Maldives in their physical beauty but without the heavy Muslim influence. These soaring granite islands are home to some of the best nature preserves in the world along with renowned beaches and sea life and some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. We took a 75’ catamaran out to feed the fish and snorkel in one of these marine reserves. En route we passed four anchored Iranian fishing boats which were bursting at the seams with Pakistani fishermen. Our guide told us that these boats were captured by the local coast guard for illegal fishing and they have
Fast Ride to the Maldives
been impounded since November. The fishermen are not allowed ashore and can only swim once daily near their boat. The government supplies them with food and other essentials. But from the aroma emanating from the boats we could tell that there hadn’t been any rain for quite a while.
After a second day of snorkeling around Coco Island off a small catamaran the Voyager heaved anchor en route for Kenya. Captain Dag made an announcement as soon as we left: the Somali pirates forced a change of routing for our ship. Two days previously the pirates had fired on the USS Nicholas, a Navy frigate which of all things was on anti-piracy patrol. The Nicholas chased down and captured some of the pirates. This took place right along our proposed route to Kenya. So upon the advice of the Coalition Forces who patrol the Indian Ocean, the British Security Operations and the ship’s insurance company it was decided that in the interest of safety we would have to cancel our calls in Kenya and Tanzania. Instead we would pass around the east side of Madagascar and stop in Mauritius and Reunion Island. While we were very sorry to bypass
Glenmore & Suzanne
Romance on the High Seas
Kenya and Tanzania, we looked forward to returning to Mauritius and to discovering what Reunion had to offer.
There are more photos below