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Published: March 26th 2015
The morning we sailed from Sri Lanka we entered the High Risk Piracy zone. We were given a two page list of information and instructions regarding security measures being put into place. We will be cruising in this zone until we arrive in the Coromos Islands off Africa in thirteen days.
The Silver Whisper’s exterior lights are all turned off from dusk to dawn. The ship is equipped with deafening acoustic sound devices. Also the high pressure water hoses are in place to prevent pirates from boarding the vessel. Additional security agents boarded our ship in Colombo, Sri Lanka and will remain on board until we clear the high risk area. They patrol the decks 24 hours a day and enforce the blackout policy.
We have to keep our curtains closed and not use balcony lights. We rather like it when all the exterior lights are off as it makes for great star gazing and moonlight dining.
In 2009 while transiting the Gulf of Aden our ship was near Captain Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, when it was hijacked. Here is the link to our blog about that particular cruise. Https://www.travelblog.org/Africa/Somalia/Somaliland/blog-395291.html
Our captain's name is
Angelo Corsaro. Corsaro is Italian for Corsair which of course means pirate, especially the North African Barbary type. So I guess he is the best one to take us through these pirate waters.
The good news is that in the last year or so, there has been a dramatic decrease in hijackings mostly due to the security measures that have been put in place.
Talk about culture shock! Visiting the Maldives and Seychelles is like time traveling between two different worlds. Both islands are world famous diving and fishing destinations but that is about where the similarities end. The Maldives are a very conservative Islamic country which practices Sharia Law while the Seychelles are a predominately Christian country and very secular.
We anchored off Male which is the capitol city of the Maldives. It is one of the densest cities in the world and it is the flattest country on earth. Its highest point tops off at 8 feet. With rising sea levels, the island chain is expected to be underwater by mid-century.
The outer islands of the Maldives are vacation paradises with top notch resorts. However these are also being threatened by stricter laws
They might be needing float planes soon as the islands are sinking.
which would forbid liquor and spas. Water, water everywhere and not a drop of alcohol to drink. Local Maldivians are not allowed on these islands unless they are employees and travelers are not allowed on many of the islands that practice Sharia Law.
We went ashore and visited several markets. There was a political protest going on with lots of barricades and police in evidence. Our visit was a short one.
The Seychelles, sometimes called " Garden of Eden," are stunning, mountainous islands laced with coral reefs. In Mahe we attempted to hire a boat to take us snorkeling on the gorgeous reefs. But for some reason the prices have skyrocketed since our last visit in 2010. Even the taxi prices are exorbitant. So instead we paid $.40 and took a crowded city bus over the mountains and across the island to one of the fine sand beaches for a swim in the beautiful water. We returned to the Seychelles Yacht Club for lunch and a walk around town. Soon it was time to re-board the ship and head for the vast continent of Africa.
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