Terry & Fiona
Mon 18 Apr 2011 14:09
We weaved our way through the atoll from Buruni in the north to Veymandhoo in the south. fortunately the charts were accurate and all dangers were shown to be in the right place. To go around the outside of the atoll would have nearly doubled the distance.
By the time we got to Veymandhoo we had a decent SW breeze - right on our nose. the boat channel into the lagoon was clearly marked and gave easy access. there is also now a new harbour here, but we had no information as to depths in the approach or inside. so we anchored in the lagoon. the winds remained fresh most of the time we were there and we had to re-anchor 3 times to make sure we had enough swinging room to cope with wind from all directions. One day we had grey leaden skies and torrential rain, more like england than the Maldives! what a shame we couldn't spend the day in the pub and eat fish and chips!
The second evening we were visited by Ismail, a man in his early 40's welcoming us to Veymandhoo. He used to be the island chief until the recent reforms which now mean that each island elects 5 or more councillors to run things. Ismail is somewhat unhappy about this - probably because he has lost his position in the community, although he still seemed to have some kind of municipal job. He showed us the book he has been keeping of all the yachts that visit the island. -- there aren't many! the last one was in December. Once again, we are the first yacht to stop this year. The next day we went ashore and immediately noticed the huge amount of rubbish around - one of the things that Ismail blames on the new political order. We had a look at the harbour - huge with depths of about 2.5m right up to the quay, meaning it was probably deeper further out. We resisted going in as it means we get non-stop visitors - all usually very friendly, but they come at all times allowing no privacy and means that Fiona has to be 'dressed' at all times. t'shirts and shorts are not considered appropriate for a woman here. showering on deck would not go down well!
there is a hospital here and several well stocked shops. diesel is available in cans and we were given some rain water to supplement our tanks. the water de-salination plant was broken down. there are a couple of cafes and a restaurant which we failed to find until Ismail showed us, despite the signs on the walls with direction arrows! the café by the hospital we found to be very scruffy and the whole island seems to have a rubbish problem. the streets are kept quite clean - a womans job to keep the area in and around the house free from litter and leaves, which means that all the men and boys drop their rubbish EVERYWHERE, Ismail's youngest son thought nothing of dropping a half eaten packet of crisps in his grandparents garden, presumably expecting his grandmother to pick it up.
Ismail showed us around the village - the houses that he and his brother-in-law are building, helping each other for the last 10 years! he took us to a café for 'short eats' run by his cousins and then to a shop. he was very generous with his time and is desperate for more visitors to the island.
The contrast between Veymandhoo and Burnuni were stark. The rubbish in Buruni was being effectively dealt with and the water de-salination plant fully operative. Veymandhoo has a water plant, but its broken down. the government is supposed to fix it.....
apart from the rubbish we enjoyed our stay at Veymandhoo and our small interaction with another Maldivian.