Terry & Fiona
Thu 14 Apr 2011 06:22
03:36.9 n
072:43.5 e
Another motoring session through the reefs inside South Ari Atoll from Danghethi on the SE to the Conrad resort on Rangali Island in the SW of the atoll, a tiring 12 nm.
We've been using Google Earth hooked up to a GPS feed to navigate as it is more accurate than some of our charts. its limitations were brought home to us when we passed an uncharted reef (on MAxsea) close to starboard. looking at GE, I'd missed it as it was hidden behind some clouds. only looking very closely would you recognise it as a reef from the photo.
The reef however IS shown on our paper chart and on the OpenCPN software - which strangely uses the same chart data as MaxSea, so what is going on there?
Anyway, to more interesting things.  We picked up a buoy next to the 'house' gulet that does day and sun-down trips. No-one bothered us during our 2 night stay. we introduced ourselves at reception and they just said 'welcome'! no papers or passports required. This is a large resort spread over 2 islands and a complete mini atoll. there is boat transport set up to transfer guests from one island to the other so they don't have to walk too far. SeaPlanes are frequently landing and taking off.  It’s a stunning location with prices to match. 2 nights bed and breakfast would have cost over USD 1000 for 2. allow another 300usd per day for drinks, lunch and dinner and you might be near the mark. There was a cocktail reception (free-flowing wine) the first night and we stupidly owned up that we were not proper guests so we could not participate. There are quite a lot of people here so the staff can't really recognise everyone so we could have got away with it but we're just too honest! more disappointing was that we were also refused the 50% off Happy Hour prices advertised in the menu. oh well. we used the pool rinsed off in the fresh water showers and used towels. we snorkelled on the reef behind our mooring and enjoyed our own food and drink on board. We met another boat that had visited here and had spent several hundred dollars on food and wine here. they said it was superb but a bit beyond our budget, I'm afraid.
We saw a  black tipped reef shark here  about 5' / 1.60m . I didn't jump in to measure it, nor to test the theory that they don't attack humans.
it was very hard to tear ourselves away this morning, but we have to continue on.