Planet ocean

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Until now we had only seen pictures of Male', the capital of the Maldives. But it really does look weird. A small island surrounded by coral reefs and absolutely crowded with skyscrapers. From our anchorage at the neighboring island of Hulhumale' we can take a cheap ferry to Male'. This takes about 20 min. The first impression is – motorcycles wherever you look. Since Phuket and Port Blair we are used to a lot of crazy traffic, but Male' beats it all. According to our local agent everybody owns at least one motorcycle, many even two. In addition there are plenty of cars and delivery vans and you can imagine the commotion. Since the island is so small there are only very narrow streets and you can actually reach any point on the island by foot within 20 minutes. But why walk when you can drive!?
In Male' there is a small fruit and vegetable market where only products grown on the Maldives can be sold – with a few exceptions. We didn't know how many fruits and vegetables are grown on the Maldives islands. There are some islands which allegedly have a very good soil. We especially like the bananas which you can buy as a whole bunch. They have a refreshing taste with a slight lemon note and don't spoil for a long time on board. There are also two supermarkets where you can buy products from overseas. They are not cheap but our European taste buds sometimes long for butter, muesli or cheese. We were really shocked about the tourist shops which sell plenty of sea shells, bleached corals and even shark's jaws. Actually we thought that it is not allowed to collect or take things like that with you. Apparently they are sold anyway. Repeatedly we see small groups of tourists from resorts with their Male'-guide, who takes them to those shops. On the other hand you can also see shops which sell handicraft like small sea animals made out of wood. We like this better.
The prices in Male' have risen a lot in the last few years. Apartments get more and more expensive because everybody wants to live in Male' but there is not enough space. So 16 years ago an artificial island was vreated – Hulhumale, where people can live since approximately10 years. Many move there because there is more space and better life quality. Also the island in the north of Hulhumale' is currently banked up. 16 years ago the building of Hulhumale' took about 6 years and was mainly accomplished by hand, nowadays it will take about 3 months to create the new island thanks to a excavating ship from Denmark. The coral reefs surrounding the new island of course will all suffocate because of the high sedimentation rates ...
Also the yachts are getting soaked more and more. If you want to stay in the Maldives longer than two weeks you have to pay for permit, clearance, tourist fee and lots of additional things. This sums up to a pretty big amount and empties your pockets. But we want to see the special animals and places of the Maldives under water and therefore we have to accept it. So lets start and jump in to see the beautiful coral reefs and their inhabitants ...

Big tree in a park in Male
Motorcycles in Male
Male - captial of the Maldives
excavating ship Leiv Eriksson