For the 5th Maldivesurf season in the Central atolls, that was the earliest departure ever. Eventually, that 11-day trip on MTC Cruiser (Vaareydhuni refurbished) was completed without a drop of rain and a sight of any other surf safari boat. If the swell remained in the 2-4ft league with light NW winds on the first 8 days, it finally reached a peak of 4-6ft with unreal 20 second period. Between Mikado's left, Malik's and the newly discovered "Haimark" facing Hadigilla, that's the 1st time lefts get predominant on rights for any Central atolls cruise.
Domestic flight connections between Malé and Laamu being not as quick as before, the french dentists group had to spend 6 hours in Malé upon arrival. Some took advantage of that stop to get an uncrowded surf in Malé while others were walking around town. Thus, the trip started at YinYang because YinYang never gets flat even on a 0.7m SSW swell and 9 seconds. There we surfed for 4 days in the 2-3ft range with 2 glassy days. Much is happening around the Hithadoo Pass at the Olhuveli Resort (www.sixsenses.com/Six-Senses-Latitude-Laamu/index.php) is about to open next October. The good news is that SixSenses headquarters are planning to set-up some surf service with speedboat transfers but the bad news is that it will be 5 star, so expect rates to be upmarket. It brings some wealth to the neighborhood and Maamendhoo island now owns a deep water harbor were Fishing Dhonis can anchor. For those who remember the jammed channel between the 2 islets with zillions of ropes, noisy boat operations, especially from Horizon Fisheries canning ship, that's history ! No more flies too !
As expected, Mikado did not delivered the goods, the light / mid North wind blowing strong enough to bring cross-wash on the rare set waves. However, Finnimas lefts really act as swell magnet and on the best days, it produced long racing 3-4ft walls and at worst, 2ft offshore peaks, that you could ride like a good beachbreak wave. Things are changing here too since following Anni new president election in October 2008, both neighbooring islands with farm and fish factory have been closed. In Thimarafushi, you can navigate on internet through Wi-fi ! Wi-fi is spreading over in the Maldives ! As in April 2008, SE winds did show up so we could surf twice Malik's lefts on the western Pass. Waves breaking really close to shore, we decided to walk through the village and there we met Abdul Majeed. He's a 42 years old local "surfer" riding with a basic scooped wood plank and no fins for years.So we did a little trade for a bodyboard and Fabien left his to Ashraf so the bodyboard community is spreading in Maldives. By the way, the group was made of 3 longboarders, 3 surfers and 2 bodyboarders.
Once we spent some time celebrating TomTom's birthday so we could kill the only bottle of alcohol onboard (wondering what happened to the other bottles) and once Etienne and Cedric caught some decent fish ( 1 good-size batfish, 2 big jobfish, 1 Emperor...), it was high time to get ready for the miracle swell who was forecast since the trip departure. After tough negotiations regarding the location we were gonna milk that swell, we headed for Hadigilla (ex-Bibeacons) for 2 epic days. Not only the rights were cooking, but we had a go at the lefts opposite the pass : first time ever ! Believe me or not but we always overlooked that spot that is often plagued by onshore winds and wrap so much that you can't even see how it breaks. Each rider anchored to one spot (natural footers on the rights and goofies and bodyboarders on the lefts) until everyone had spaghetti arms ! Before we made it back to Malé after 12h cruise mostly at night, another premiere ! A few hours before embarking on 09h30 EK Emirates flight.
For more, click and watch 120 shots slideshow.
P.S : check the boyz as well in Malé shot with a GoPro (not bad for a small camera but it requires really good light and Lithium batteries) and Davidoo, Ocean Dancer Boss who caught on SUP !