I’d noted a contradiction in an earlier blog about who sank the “British
Loyalty” oil tanker in 1944. Different sources told me the Japanese or
It turns out that everyone had a go. Firstly the Japanese hit it when it
was enroute from India to Mauritius. It limped into the lagoon in front
of Gan, the WWII British base. The Germans then torpedoed it from a
submarine, through a hole in the submarine defences. Still floating, the
Brits towed it further up the lagoon. Two years later in 1946, the Brits
used it for target practice and finally put it to rest on the lagoon
Helen and I wondered at the line up of medium sized freight boats anchored
in the lagoon in front of town. They seemed to spend quite a bit of time
out there, but not doing anything.
It turns out that they are fish processing / freezing boats- the local
fishermen drive right up to them with their day’s catch, and sell it right
there and then. When the boat’s full, it returns to Male or the local
processing / exporting center.
On a dive with Helen the week before last, I noticed a very odd starfish.
It had one normal length ‘leg’, and four tiny little ones.
It turns out that that if this particular type of starfish loses an arm
‘in battle’ (errr, that’s what the book says..., maybe they arm wrestle?),
not only can the amputee grow a replacement arm, but the amputated ARM
itself can grow another FOUR arms! My book goes on to say that “starfish
also use it [the regenerative function] for reproducing asexually”. I
guess they don’t brag to their mates about that though...
The older local houses have walls made from coral blocks. The new ones
are made from concrete block. The ones in between are made from a
combination. My agent and friend here explained the elaborate process of
making the lime that bonds the blocks together. I can’t remember the
details but it involves baking sea shells with palm fronds for days on end
to get the bonding agent that remains a stark white colour after many
years of exposure to the elements. Laith commented that if it was up to
him, he wouldn’t allow concrete block construction to soil the coral block
It turns out that it’s illegal to collect coral for construction purposes.
In the past, when practiced to excess, has caused soil erosion. They
don’t have too much soil here in the Maldives and so try to look after
what they have. The sand for construction is now imported from India.
Imagine selling white sand to Maldivians... Now that’s a marketing