We Went Sailing in the Maldives with Blue Horizon
We Went Sailing in the Maldives with Blue Horizon
Imagine taking a 10-hour flight from the cold grey London skies and arriving in the Maldives to be picked up at the airport by your sailing boat for the next 8 days. Well, that’s exactly what happened when we went sailing in the Maldives with Blue Horizon.
We were invited to go sailing in the Maldives by Blue Horizon to experience their yacht charters and see what the Maldives has to offer. Two members of our SailChecker team went on the trip (myself and Chris our CEO), along with our sailing in the Maldives competition winners. We held a competition to win a cabin on the charter back in September and our two winners were able to join us.
Sailing in the Maldives
The Maldives is a vast country made up of small islands, some of these islands are local islands and others are owned by resorts. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has over 1,000 islands in 26 atolls, covering an area of over 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq miles). The capital of the Maldives is an island called Male. This island is where you will find all the central businesses and it is like the control centre of the country.
Here there is a separate island which is connected to Male by a bridge, this island is home to the airport and a small terminal. Everyone who arrives in the Maldives arrives through this airport (Male International Airport), then either catch a seaplane or takes a boat to their end destination, or you can go sailing in the Maldives.
1. Day 1 - Airport Pick Up
Arriving In The Maldives. After arriving in the Maldives a little late (delayed flight) we were met by one of the Blue Horizon crew who was waiting for us in arrivals. We picked up a local sim card and crossed the road to a dock, we waited there for a small amount of time and our catamaran arrived and docked opposite arrivals. We were met by our crew of three (skipper, chef, crew), who helped us with our luggage as we arrived on the boat. We met the competition winners who had arrived earlier than us and we set off on our journey.
Discovering The Islands. We travelled past the island of Male and past various small islands and resorts. We reached a small deserted sandbank where we ate lunch and got our first taste of the delicious food and warm ocean water. We went snorkelling and explored the sandbank until we ventured on to our overnight stop. Our overnight stop was just off an island where locals had brought with them floodlights and were playing football and having a bbq.
Top Tip For Sailing in the Maldives: Pick up a local sim card in the airport, to have mobile and internet access on your trip. You can purchase sim cards for as little as $15 for over 15GB of mobile data and calls.
2. Day 2 - Manta Rays and Dolphins
Sailing in the Maldives. We woke up to the view of an empty island with a small number of trees in the middle, which was a great view to have breakfast, which was made up of oatmeal, fresh fruits, juice, coffee, toast, and eggs. After breakfast, we got our tender to the island and walked around admiring the clear ocean and white sand.
Wildlife. As we embarked on to our next stop we took to the open ocean, we stopped to follow a group of manta rays swimming in front of the boat, we saw a pod of dolphins, and a turtle. We stopped for lunch and then got in the water to snorkel, see the colourful variety of fish, turtles, and marine life which inhabits the reefs.
Local Islands. We made our way to a local island for our next overnight stop. We anchored off the island and took our tender to the beach. We spent a few hours walking around the island with our skipper who doubled as a tour guide, walking with us around the island. The local islands in the Maldives are colourful, often with only one long street down the middle, and little dirt roads off them where you can see the ocean on both sides. The local island we stopped at was called Fulidoo, we stayed there until after dark when we went to a section of the beach and feed stingrays. They came right up to the beach and we fed them from our hands.
Top Tip For Sailing in the Maldives: The Maldives is a Muslim country when exploring local islands it is advised to cover your shoulders and knees and dress conservatively.
3. Day 3 - Uninhabited Islands
Manta Rays. We woke and ate breakfast with views of the islands before embarking on another wildlife experience. We took to the tender with our snorkelling gear and went in search of Manta Rays. It wasn’t long until we found one very close to our boat, we carefully went past it and quietly slid out of the boat into the water. The Manta Ray was swimming in a straight line and we put on our snorkelling gear and watched it swim past underwater. This was a magical feeling seeing them swim past in the wild so calm and quiet.
Sailing in the Maldives. We later started our journey to our next overnight anchorage spot. We travelled for around three or four hours until we reached a magical uninhabited island called Rakeedhoo. We had to go through a channel to get there as the water was so shallow. When we arrived there was another boat moored off the island from a resort, so we waited on the boat until they left. As we waited we just admired the view, from the deck of our catamaran you could see three different shades of blue water, from dark blue to bright blue, and clear.
Exploring The Islands. We made our way onto the island and set out walking all the way around it which took well over an hour. The island had big beautiful palm trees and a forest in the middle. The atolls in the Maldives make the ocean calm within them, with outer reefs protecting the islands from big waves. This island was on the edge of an atoll and you could see the waves crashing on the outer reef from the backside of the island.
4. Day 4 - Local Islands
Sailing in the Maldives. Our wildlife adventures continued on day four when we swam around the boat close to the island and spotted Eagle Rays and other marine life. After breakfast, we headed to another local island called Thinadhoo.
Local Island. This island had a small port which was mostly filled with fishing boats and small ferries. We explored the island which had a number of dirt paths and hotel resorts. The island had lots of beaches, some owned by the resorts others were public, there was a bikini beach (where bikinis are allowed) and others where bikinis weren’t allowed. We went snorkelling off the island and saw lots of marine life, reefs, and a reef shark.
Sand Bank. Later in the afternoon, we visited small sand back in the middle of the atoll. When we arrived it was full of resort guests but they all left around 4 pm and we had the island all to ourselves. One advantage of sailing in the Maldives is that you can visit places after or before the resort guests arrive. Having places to yourself and quiet islands without lots of people. Resorts offer day trips to many islands and experiences these are usually within certain hours, so visiting outside of these hours means you have places all to yourself when sailing in the Maldives.
5. Day 5 - Swimming with Sharks
Swimming With Sharks. On day 5 something magical happened and experience I will always remember. Again we left our overnight anchorage at around 7:30 am and travelled to an island resort, where we anchored our boat and took the tender to a mooring buoy less than 100meters off a resort. We had barely been there 5 minutes and nurse sharks suddenly surrounded us, we slowly and carefully slid into the water with our snorkelling gear on and watched around 20 nurse sharks of all sizes swim around us.
Sailing in the Maldives. After we got back into the tender, resort boats started arriving filled to the brim with people, and around 40 people got into the water. Yet another reason to opt to go sailing in the Maldives and arrive first to have amazing experiences.
Guraidhoo. We ventured to another local island in the afternoon, this island was a lot larger than the ones we visited before. This island had numerous hotels, the main street, football pitches, a school, and restaurants.
6. Day 6 - Dolphins
Dolphins. There is nothing like waking up and seeing a pod of over 50 dolphins. Located just off the islands close to the outer reef these dolphins were just swimming around, they followed us in front of the boat, beside the boat, jumping out of the water, just swimming along with us.
Sailing in the Maldives. After breakfast we travelled to another reef in the middle of nowhere, which is a popular diving spot, this coral was colourful and filled with marine life, fish, octopus, eels, and many more animals. Later in the day, we went to another reef, with a wreck, turtle, and fish.
Gulhi. We stopped at another local island which was known as for its surfing spot, swimming area, and even had ‘Instagram’ swings.
7. Day 7 - Overnight Anchorages
Sailing in the Maldives. On day 7 we took our usual morning swim, and saw lots of marine life before having breakfast outside on the dining area of our catamaran, After breakfast, we went in our tender to an island resort close to the beach which had a reef and snorkelling along seeing turtles, blacktip sharks, and much more fish. This island was a resort called Taj.
Overnight Anchorages. Each night we anchored off a local island or resort island which offered us protection from the winds and waves thanks to the outer reefs. The local islands and resort islands all had ports or docks which were used for seaplanes docking or ferries mooring up to, but we didn’t stay overnight in these marinas. They were all on the small side and our catamaran was large. Male has a large marina which was the home base of our boat and many other boats sailing in the Maldives.
8. Day 8 - Sailing in the Maldives
Sailing in the Maldives. We had a midday flight out of Male, so we left our overnight anchorage early in the morning and made our way to the airport island, passing by resort islands, deserted islands, Male, and island being built (yes they are man making new islands).
Airport Departures. Once again our catamaran docked just opposite the airport terminal and we said goodbye to our fabulous crew, and competition winners and made our way to departures. With all the magical experiences and things, we had witnessed sailing in the Maldives.
Maldives Yacht Charter. Sailing in the Maldives might not be your first choice of sailing destination or way to spend your time in the Maldives but it is definitely a unique and wonderful experience. A way to see places without crowds, explore different places each day, see wildlife in its natural habitat, and explore local islands.