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North to south continued

April 13, 2015

We are still heading south weaving our way between coral heads, leaping across 50 nautical mile gaps between atolls, squeezing between bolts of lightning and gliding amongst myriad colours of fish as we snorkel the passes. There are limited opportunities for intriguing photography as one either needs an underwater camera to photo the aquatic wonders or an ultralight plane and/or drone to capture aerial views which would be spectacular.  I have neither!

Sage at anchor

Sage at anchor

We experienced one dramatic sail when we made a two day/one night passage from Meemu Atoll to Gaafu Alif Atoll. We had a lovely 10 knot westerly pushing us, and our companions onboard Silver Girl, along at a comfortable pace.

Silver Girl wit Ann and Chris onboard

Silver Girl wit Ann and Chris onboard

It was a wonderful sail during the day.  Then as we were making the last part of the trip across open water, night fell and the drama began. Off in the distance ever darkening clouds, hints of thunder and lightning. The radar indicated an enclosing circle of heavy rain and the lightning and thunder rolled closer. Soon enough the wind rose to 40 knots and we were desperately clinging at the sails to reduce their volume yet relishing the freshwater rinse. But the lightning took all the fun out of the freshwater rinse.

Luckily we escaped unscathed but frustrated at the loss of wind an hour later when the storm passed. Another boat, Pipistrelle, was not so fortunate. Pipistrelle suffered a direct lightening hit. Pipistrelle is a newer Wauquiez and much more electrically reliant. The lightning took out all instrumentation, the alternator, the genset and the electronic self steering. As she was motoring at the time she was hit she no longer had control of the engine as all engine controls are electronic.

Pipistrelle with Bob and Elaine onboard

Pipistrelle with Bob and Elaine onboard

Neither Bob nor Elaine were injured but nevertheless quite shaken by the experience. They managed to limp into a harbour at the north end of Gaafu Alif Atoll called Kudafushi. Meanwhile Sage and crew were struggling along trying to make use of a dying wind that was turning southerly and a current that was not helping.

By the end of the day we managed to drop our anchor in Kudafushi and much to our surprise there were seven other foreign boats anchored there! Since starting our southerly sojourn through the Maldives, apart from Male, we have only seen two other boats so it was very much a surprise to see so many foreign boats in one anchorage. Of course, the conversation centred on Pipistrelle’s adventures and in what way could we all help.  In the end Pipistrelle was able to jury rig the electronics enough to continue on south towards Gan.  Somewhat crippled on some of her systems she has made it south here to Fares Mathoodha where they are bringing in a new alternator so that Pipistrelle can generate enough power to keep her 6 months worth of freezer inventory from spoiling.

Boat and weather woes are not the only thing keeping us occupied. Kudafushi was a wonderful gem.  Great snorkeling and diving, a well protected anchorage and a welcoming town.  Each of the towns we have been to in the Maldives have been pin neat with wide streets covered in blazingly white coral sand along with walled homes that hide some real gems.  We did visit a few homes and the one below has a lovely garden with gazebo and an incredible fully air-conditioned home.

A lovely home worthy of placement in a place like Laguna Beach, CA!

A lovely home worthy of placement in a place like Laguna Beach, CA!

Garden and gazebo

Garden and gazebo

Gateway entrance to a Kudafushi home

Gateway entrance to a Kudafushi home

The layout of the homes here reminds us of Mexico with the walled perimeter and gorgeous interiors with plenty of vegetation and outdoor living.

Our only other unusual adventure was one day, with our sailing friends Ann and Chris,

Ann and Chris waiting in the bar for the buffet to start

Ann and Chris waiting in the bar for the buffet to start at the Medhufushi Island Resort

we headed to a friendly resort for a buffet lunch at the Medhufushi Island Resort and a laze around the pool.  Wow, we did the buffet justice and then with the temperature on our boats hovering around 38C at midday we lounged around the pool savouring the copious amounts of fresh water.  What a luxury.


Poolside - what a luxury to have a fresh water shower for 3 minutes!

Poolside – what a luxury to have a fresh water shower for 3 minutes!

The view from the bar!  The only place in the Maldives to get a drink as it's not available in the stores

The view from the bar! The only place in the Maldives to get a drink as it’s not available in the stores


So our last jump is to Gan. Gan is where the star is on the satellite image screen shot and it’s our entry point into the southern hemispehere as right now in the anchorage we are only about 20 miles north of the equator. This will be our last stop in the Maldives before heading south….




14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2015 12:59

    Great story! I hope I’m the first to read it!!!!

    Sierd Sent from my iPhone


  2. Darrel and Loretta Smith permalink
    April 13, 2015 14:29

    What an exciting adventure!  Love to read about your experiences and see the beautiful photos. Thanks! Take care you two. Love, Loretta & Darrel

  3. Patrick Georget permalink
    April 13, 2015 20:45

    Thanks Tony and kony! Look like very very Nice Maldives! Amazing clear water, isnt it? .good to meet People in this paradise. Maldives will be desapear soon under water, so you have that privilège to see that place? Enjoy kony and Tony! Big kisses to you! Patrick.

    Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 05:54:52 +0000 To:

    • April 13, 2015 20:59

      Interestingly the Maldives are sinking in the north and rising in the south as the Indian plate is overriding the southern plate. I don’t have the technical expertise here but it is evident in both the north and the south. One can see an entire ring of reef around the southern atolls which is not visible in the north. Perhaps there is a political reason for this as the north supports the current regime and the south the imprisoned ex prime minister!

      Tony Gibb/Connie McCann Onboard SY Sage +9609165820Sage

  4. April 13, 2015 23:15

    Going to Gan:

    Tony, your pictures leave me gobsmacked as usual. It looks like a sailor’s nightmare for navigation but well worth the effort upon arrival. I also appreciated the essay on the value of keeping things fixable. Self-reliance is so important. Looking forward to your next post as usual. The funny odour in the locker…don’t worry, it’s only me.
    Best to you both.

  5. Anne Boldt permalink
    April 13, 2015 23:16

    Tony, I think your picture from the bar is so exquisitely paradisal.. Is that a word?
    Annie B.

  6. April 13, 2015 23:22

    Wow sounds like a fab adventure! I am living in the Maldives and have to say i think sailing between the islands might just have to join my to do list whilst I am here 🙂 Great pics by the way. Happy travels!

  7. Louise permalink
    April 14, 2015 08:47

    Where to next?! Diego Garcia? The Seychelles? Mauritius? I have a friend in Reunion if you want a local contact.

  8. April 14, 2015 19:21

    Duly received you postcard . Thx.for the warm feeling ,
    Here it was still quite cold . Now , summer is back .
    On the weather forecast we often see hurricanes over
    ” your islands ” so, not surprised by your ordeals,
    very glad to read that you both are still sailing.
    All the best from Janine&Gilbert.

  9. Judi permalink
    April 18, 2015 18:42

    Thanks for the opportunity to be an ‘armchair’ traveller.

    • Bob Townsend permalink
      April 19, 2015 12:10

      I totally agree with your feelings about being an arm-chair traveller. I am awestruck with this adventure. I read every single missile that comes my way, and thoughly enjoy every one. I almost feel that I am there. I am honoured to have made a small contribution to this journey. Keep on going. Keep on the blog. Warmest regards, Bob.

  10. May 7, 2015 10:04

    Good pics.

  11. Donald Innes permalink
    May 11, 2015 07:06

    Tony those were some wonderful pictures, thanks Mate
    Hope you two are well inspite of the flies
    By now you guys know NDP won Alberta election with a majority
    just wonderful news eh
    Take good care
    much Peace

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