Bryan writes... A few years ago I realised that I'd started travelling
more for "people" than for "places". This is one of the most beautiful
places that I've ever been to, but the memories that will define our time
here will be shaped mainly by the people who we've shared our time with.
One of the websites we've found to be most informative for cruising
information (www.hackingfamily.com) quotes "Getting to Chagos is difficult
enough that only genuine, blue-water cruising boats can manage it...", which
of course we find very flattering, but this results in a great sense of
camaraderie between the temporary residents.
There's a fairly good social life too. Roughly every other night there's an
invitation for sun downers on someone's boat, an occasional dinner
invitation, or a beach bonfire / bbq.
Communication around the anchorage is on channel 16 VHF radio, and there are
many invitations for snorkelling, walking around islands or just generally
I find it fascinating speaking to the other yachties, not just about their
experience and learning from them, but also about how they come to justify
their cruising lifestyle. As a quick survey of the seven yachts currently
in the two anchorages in Soloman Atoll there's a balance of "living the
dream in retirement" (two boats, both from NZ), "living the dream before
kids" (two boats, one American, one NZ/Brazilian), and then a couple of
boats of "this is what we do", including one Canadian couple who've been
cruising for 26 years! All of the boats here except us are couples (without
kids), and five of the sixteen people are kiwis; only three of the seven
yachts here don't have at least one kiwi on board!
We fit into the "we're real new at this, all advice welcome" category. When
we first set out, Helen and I spoke about this being a once off experience.
We'll still be back in Dubai in September in time for the new school year,
but now we talk about how we'll do things differently when (not if) we do
We know that when we leave here in roughly ten days, we may not see any
other cruising yachts in the Maldives. Most cruisers skip it, because the
government fees are so expensive. We know it'll be a completely different
experience, mixing with more Maldivians and less Kiwis!