Thursday, 23 April 2015

Kudahuvandhoo Island, Maldives

Continuing our journey south, we spent two nights in the protected fishing boat harbour at Kudahuvandhoo, South Nilandhe Atoll.  As you can see from the image at right, the local people gave us a very warm welcome.

Our second day there was "National Language Day" - a celebration of local culture that included a special lunch time meal at the school, with all the food cooked and served by the children's families.  The children dressed in traditional costumes, instead of the standard all-white uniforms.

For the entry here, once again we sounded the pass through the reef before entering, using a Laylin SM-5 handheld depth sounder from the dinghy.

This is another harbour that offers a typical minimum of 3.5 meters at low water.

We berthed stern to the quay, with the bow tethered to one of the buoys provided within the harbour.  Handling that maneuver was a first for us, with only two on board we needed to get it right first time.

Once we had the bow tethered we paid out line and reversed towards the dock, then used the dinghy to land the stern lines to the wall.  Managed to avoid tangling lines with the propeller, no stress at all ....

One thing about the Maldives, when you pass a line ashore to someone on the dock, they often actually know what to do with it.  On this day the guy who put his hand out for our stern line whipped a perfect bowline onto the wharf ring in about 5 seconds flat.  If only that happened all the time !

Solar Power Plant Project

The Maldives government has committed the nation to being carbon neutral by 2020, an adventurous target.

Kudahuvandhoo is home to a pilot project to test PV (solar) power as an augmentation to the existing diesel generation systems.  We met Joachim Gaube and Harald Gaube, German engineers who planned and implemented the PV project here.  Panels installed on the schools, the power house and the hospital have produced 44,000 kilowatt hours in two months, saving around 15,000 liters of diesel fuel.

Through their connection with the school we were invited to the "National Language Day" celebrations.

The children had also prepared displays of traditional cultural items - old lamps, tools, boat building equipment and the like.  Funny how old you feel when the "museum pieces" on display are the same age as some of the tools on board your boat !

Note - traditional wooden boat building has all but disappeared here, replaced by that devilish fiberglass.  Drums of acetone and rolls of woven roving and matt in every shed I passed.

Lunch turned into a real feast, shared with the students, teachers and our new friends Harald and Joachim.  Interesting to note that their PV project was funded by the German Government.

We met the school principal and many teachers, a large proportion of whom were from southern India.  Many of these had their own children living with them, also students in the school.

The Maldives has implemented the Cambridge educational model, with many subjects being taught in English and most of the text books being imported from the UK.  To our eye the program is a great success, producing many confident and well rounded students with great language skills and a thirst for knowledge.

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