Saturday, September 25, 2010
Kudahuvadhoo, Dhaal Atoll - July 2009
For that first hour, the majority of which was in darkness, we chatted away about the possibilities of what might await us. Our guide knew a little more than us for obvious reasons and let us in on the secrets of a very seldom visited, unnamed surf break that worked beautifully when the swell was big. He also mentioned the amazing fishing in Dhaal and the stark beauty of some of the uninhabited islands in and around Kudahuvadhoo (“Kuda”), the Atoll capital. But pretty soon that sun was up and the tropical heat blazed down on us from a cloudless, blue sky as our launch carried us amongst reefs (Faru), sandbanks (Fingahlu)and palm tree covered islands and on towards our destination.
It was unanimously decided that we weren’t going to wait around for the weather report and would just go ahead and arrange fishing gear for the evening. Fishing gloves, strong line and round, plastic contraptions to tie our lines onto were procured; along with a fishing dhoni (wooden boats), food for the evening and the inevitable bucket load of bait that we’d be needing. With our dhoni stocked and enough fishing tackle and bait to see us through to the next millennium, we headed off into the late afternoon.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Once back on the boat, the heavens opened once more – drenching us, but also putting the cap on some incredible diving and a memorable morning amongst the natural elements.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
And as good an excuse as any to get off the mother island and away to the south; hunting for surf, a bit of fresh seafood and some chill time somewhere a little less frenetic than Male.
Both pretty stuffed after a hot and tiring week at the coalface, it wasn't long before we were both sprawled out on top deck, hats covering our faces and light sea-breeze bringing welcome respite from the searing midday sun. Needless to say, we didn't see much on our way down, apart from a very decent 2-3 foot of swell breaking off Kandooma, and arrived at Guraidhoo at 4ish. The ferry was packed to the rafters with folk coming away for the Eid break and they poured out onto the island now. It suddenly dawned on us that a spot to sleep for 2 nights might not be that easy to come by. Fortunately we were lucky enough to bump into our old mate Adam at the Surfers Shack and he arranged us a twin room at Riptides, which suited us down to the ground.
The rest of the evening past uneventfully and by 7am we were back on the Male bound ferry boat, relaxed and recovered and into the final stretch of 2010.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The Players: Aussies, Kiwis, Saffers, Yanks, Russians and English.
The Venue: Central Atolls (South Male/Meemu)
The Drink: Katemba (Red Wine & Coke)
The Dream: Five days of 'Good, clean living'
It all kicked off on a breezy, sundrenched Male morning with the loading of boards and the collection of our last guest from the airport. Within minutes of his arrival we had all been ferried out to the awaiting Safari boat, handed a cold beverage and and made our way onto the top deck. Surf in Maldives and their entourage were underway with a decent sized south-east swell due to arrive tomorrow and fill out by Wednesday...
Day 1: Male Airport - Kandooma/Guraidhoo (South Male)
Well, the swell certainly hadn't struck by the time we reached Guraidhoo (Natives), but we live in hope and five of us paddled out into 1ft surf off Kandooma Resort for an aperitif. The break didn't get any bigger, but we all had an absolute jol riding party waves and just generally stuffing around getting used to the boards. By 6pm the surfers were back aboard the safari boat and a cheeky tropical sunset set the tone for the rest of the night.
Day 2: Guraidhoo - Muli (Meemu)
Day 3: Muli - Formula One break - Rabban Dhihuraa
Most of the afternoon was spent cruising across to the other side of the atoll where we 'moored' (anchored) just off another uninhabited island. The snorkellers amongst us hadn't seen much action yet and were gone before we even had the anchor down. The reef turned out exceptional and untouched, and teaming with fish. This session was followed by another quick game of skim cricket, a few cold ones and a serious hand injury to our mid wicket fielder after another searing pull shot from Bombski. The late evening was spent around a freshly prepared fish braai (barbeque), laid out amongst home-made candles and palm frond cushions, and put to bed with night fishing and a full round of cigars.
Day 4: Rabban Dhihuraa - Kandooma - Riheveli
Day 5: Riheveli - Male - Dhonveli
And so it happened that the most epic surf conditions of my two years in the Maldives were to happen on our last morning at Kandooma Point. The waves mellow and nobody else in the surf; Amber, Andy, Wardy and myself paddled out to meet the advancing train of picture perfect wave trains. Despite being a fairly heavy break onto a shallow reef, they averaged 3-4 foot and broke beautifully from right to left. Without a breath of wind and not a cross current in sight, we sat and chewed the proverbial cud for close on 3 hours before finally calling it a day on a cracking surf trip into the central atolls. The rest of the day would pan out pretty chilled in comparison despite a stopover at Chaaya Dhonveli.Until the next time...
Good clean livin'!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
The wildness of the Indian Ocean has calmed down, the wind and rain seem to have subsided for the time being and everything is back to normal on Male, the island capital of the Maldives.
Got a call from James mid-morning and snuck down to Male Point (‘Towns’) to have a look at conditions. With the sun out, a light westerly blowing and 2-3ft swell it was a great opportunity to get into the waves after the massive conditions of the last week. I spent perhaps an hour catching cheeky lefts with a young Brazilian girl called Mariana and then went off to meet my girlfriend for lunch. Life is good in the archipelago.
“Boat-trips (Surf In Maldives Pvt Ltd.) and the occasional surf camp are the only ways to surf this unique group of 1,200 coral islands based around 26 atolls. Typically the reefs passes are deeper than in Indonesia and the South Pacific with classic set-ups abounding. Swells travelling south-west across to Indonesia bestow part of their energy on this chain before continuing their journey. Separated into the North Atolls and South Atolls (the south has the most spots) the region boasts year-round swell with high period being March to April. Two monsoon seasons, the north-east monsoon from December to April and the south west monsoon, from May to October breaks up the surfing season shifting the focus from north to south accordingly. Predominantly reef-passes, waves like Sultans and Tiger Stripes have developed deserved reputations for epic barrels and raw Indian Ocean power. Sea temperatures remain steady at about 27ºC or 81ºF.” Magic Seaweed
Guraidhoo, South Male Atoll – Stepped off the ferry to the sights and sounds of another beautiful evening in the rural islands; surfboards being off-loaded, a man-made tidal pool with sharks and turtles, the chatter of locals and the gentle murmur of the Imam’s call to prayer. Apart from the island being home to the local mental asylum and a few scary looking loafers, the streets looked relatively safe and clean and the waves curled and crashed at Riptides and Natives breaks, in the distance.
Four English folk, two locals, a Brazilian, a Finn, a Sri Lankan and a South African clambered aboard a local ferry at 13h30 local time yesterday, lightly laden apart from a barrage of boards of all shapes and sizes. Reef breaks were everywhere; with The Taj Exotica, Embudu Island Resort and Anantara all showing off waves. Our local Saturday surf dhoni always heads for the same North Atoll breaks and we decided there and then that the next time there was any big swell around we would definitely venture due south.
After a very relaxing and uneventful boat ride south, we docked at Guraidhoo at 15h30. Bags and boards were off-loaded and dumped at our accommodation for the night and within half an hour of coming ashore, we were whisked off to meet one of the local Guest House owner we were hoping to do business with in the future. Once done with business it was time to get down to some serious wave hunting and we climbed aboard what looked like the original catamaran to be taken across to the waiting surf dhoni. The original plan was to check out Riptides, the Guraidhoo home break, but the waves were so good at Natives (Kandooma Resort corner) that we stopped right there and splashed in. An Aussie, a Norwegian, an incredibly beautiful Danish lass and heavy, 6ft barrels greeted us. Life was good! With a good two hours of banter, epic sets and wipe outs requiring a good dosage of testicular fortitude we pulled ourselves back aboard the waiting dhoni and set-off, quite literally, into the setting sun.
Once back amongst the group, a few fresh fish were purchased along with the necessary spices, as we looked forward to another cracker evening out amongst the palm fronds of the tropics.