Maldives Update. August 2006
Even though an anchorage fee for cruising outside of Male Atoll (approx $350 USD per island) has been re-introduced by the Ministry of Tourism, following problems with finding a huge drug haul earlier this year, cruising the Maldives is still possible. The anchorage fee ONLY APPLIES TO YACHTS CHECKING INTO MALE.
So to avoid this, you can check in at either Gan in the south or Uligamu or Kulhudhuffushi in the North, ask for a cruising permit for the atolls and just give Male a miss.
Abdullah, the Amsco Agent has given us the following information as an alternative to Male if you wish to cruise any of the atolls. Further information can be obtained from him. Abdullah is an educated, discreet man. It would be prudent to email him to find out about the current circumstances.
We were told that Kulhudhuffushi is a new harbour in the north that is protected with a new breakwater and yachts can come alongside the pier for water and fuel. It is also possible to check in here and obtain a cruising permit for some of the atolls north. Locals or safari boat captains are a source of good information re anchorages.
Kulhudhuffushi: is approximately 06.35N 073 02E.
On our return to Male in August 2006, we opted to wait outside the Commercial Harbour to check in. All our paper work had been completed by AMSCO and apart from waiting for two hours, check in was relatively painless, although the added expense of 50 USD for the hire of the boat the officials came out in was not welcomed.
We had little wind, which made looking out for traffic easy. Even in a strong wind, it is protected water.