8 Days in Paradise - Uligan Maldives
Mon 10 Feb 2020 06:35
Our 8 days here seem to have passed really quickly and we feel fully recovered from the first Leg of the journey and ready for whatever Leg 2 has to throw at us - we know it is going to be a tough one and if the weather Gods are kind to us we hope we can get to Port Ghalib in Egypt in one go but may end up stopping in Djibouti if conditions are not good or we need fuel and a rest.
Days have been spent swimming and snorkelling and carrying out essential boat maintenance in readiness for the Red Sea. Last Friday we were invited by our Agents Assad and Hammidh to join a group of local men for spear fishing, we sped across to a deep channel between one of the other inhabited Islands and an uninhabited one and the guys jumped in armed with their spear guns, I followed but currents were strong between the islands so I soon re-joined the boat but there were fish everywhere and very soon large Jackfish, Grouper and Red Snapper were being thrown into the boat. Next stop was the beautiful uninhabited Island close by and while the spear fishermen continued their hunt we walked around the Island and admired the sunset. We were invited to join the spear fishermen back in Uligan to eat their catch which was to be prepared by their wives.
Once ashore we ended up having 2 meals as we were invited to join the celebration of a man who had just graduated and been offered a scholarship to study in either UK or Australia, his mother had put on a feast for the Town with various tasty rice and pasta dishes with fresh tuna and chicken curries was followed by a selection of homemade deserts. Next stop was the spear fishermens where we ate the fish selection they had caught which had been cooked using a Maldivian recipe for fish Curry which has been voted by the BBC as number 5 in the World's Top 10 Best Curries and it was delicious, this was served with the beautiful home made Chapattis. I was told by Assad that the Maldivian's love to eat and eat 5 meals a day - so I guess we were only doing what the locals do!
I also learned from Assad that the Maldives are opening their doors to tourists who want to experience the 'real' way of life on these Islands and people in villages like Uligan are running guest house accommodation for visitors to experience the local culture and food. This is proving popular with people from India and a budget airline is running cheap flights from Cochin. Not everyone wants to be closetted away on a 7 star resort where you are unlikely to ever get the chance to visit and meet these lovely people and experience their generosity and smiling faces.