How I was travelling to local island Rasdhoo in Maldives
07.12.2016 - 08.04.2017 30 °C
Rasdhoo Island situated on Alif Alif Atoll and it is one of the most popular diving places in Maldives. It is only 56 kilometers far from its capital Malé. The size of the island is rather small — 500 х 600 meters. Currently the population is more or less than 1500 people. However, you won’t feel this island crowd.
The beach is not so long, but its clean and there is shadowr. Now you can freely accommodate under the crowns of trees and escape from the burning sun. Thus, by the beginning of the next season, the beaches of this island will not give in Thoddoo and Ukulhas.
The island is well maintained. The locals clean up the territory in front of their houses every day. Something new appears and the old is renovated. It’s nice to see that nothing in Maldives stands the same. There is all necessary infrastructure for tourists on the island:
— groceries and corner shops. Here you can buy everything from fruits and beverages to the beach accessories. It’s very convenient if you forget anything at home. Quite high prices comparing with other South Asian countries.
— souvenir shops. There are 5 or 6 of them on the island. Try to bargain as their prices are high!
— several cafes and restaurants. Currently there are 5 cafes on the island and almost all of them are tourist oriented. Prices for lunch/dinner is 8-15$ per person.
— diving centers. There are 3 diving centers on the island, and you can even stay at one of them (it is intended for unpretentious divers). In the building of another, which was moved (and now owned by Rasdhoo Beach Inn), there will also appear rooms for divers in a short time.
— ATM (issues only Rufiyas, the commission is 150 Rufiyas when withdrawing cash, and not depend on the amount withdrawn);
— local department of a mobile operator (Dhiragoo). Here you can buy a sim-card with mobile data package, there is free wi-fi in every guest house as well.
— hospital. You can have a consultation in case of not very serious injuries or diseases. Otherwise you should go on a speed boat to Male.
— post office;
— police station.
LOCAL LAWS AND TRADITIONS
Every Friday almost every Maldivian goes to mosque. What is more on these days ferries don’t run. I would not say Maldivians are very religious (in comparison for example with Saudi Arabia). Women walk completely covered but their faces are often open.
It is prohibited to appear in a swimsuit in a public place (as on every other local island). But this restriction does NOT concern the beach areas and territories adjacent to the guest houses. Nobody will beat you and say any bad word about you if you’ll decide to walk around in a swimsuit. But it’s better to respect the local laws.
Only on Rhasdoo I've seen local women smoking shisha. The peculiarly of this shisha is that they put Tabaco leaves and cover them with coconut coal. It's hard to describe the taste, it's not so scented as a familiar shisha with flavor tobacco. And the effect is stronger so that you can feel it after several inhalation. The men were very impressed of me because it's common that only women smoke it.
The most popular place among the locals is a stadium. The games are played here strictly according to the schedule:
— early in the morning — till 9.00 — cricket;
— from 16.00 till 19.00 — junior football league;
— from the 19.00 till 22.00 — adult football league.
This is one of the diving centers of the island. The owners are from South Africa. However the foreigners are allowed to run their business not in all spheres. For example, if you decide to open your own guest house on the island you’ll have to find a local partner. And if you’d like to open a hotel in that way you don’t need any local partner.
For example, one of the shops is owned by a Bangladeshi. By the way there are many people of this origin on the island. They are mainly working low qualified jobs which are not popular among the locals. And the number of non-locals is always increasing (some data is estimated by 100.000 with a total population of 450.000).
They are actively integrate into society, bringing their families or making up new ones (with Maldivian girls), but they are pretty stable for now. We’ll see what is going to change. They speak rather bad English but they’re learning Dhivehi (the Maldivian language). They are diligent enough but you have to explain everything primitively to make them understand you. Difficulties happen but what can you do.
What to do in Rasdhoo?
Rasdhoo is famous for its house reef – it is stone thrown away from the beach. It’s better to swim there at the time of a high tide. At the edge of the island there is rather a strong current so it’s better to swim towards one of the points (depending on the direction of the current), then drift and don’t move – and the current will carry you by itself. A pole sticking out of the water points out one of the squares, and the another is in front of the place where the bikini beach ends.
Besides you can go on a trip to the three diving points. To tell the truth, these points are awesome! Moreover there are manta points where you can watch giant manta ray. This is spectacular! You can also see turtles, sharks and cuttlefish.
There are 2 uninhabited islands – Madivaru and Madivaru Finolhu. These islands is a distinctive feature of Rasdhoo as not every island can boast such beautiful picnic islands. To Madivaru you will be taken byboat. And you can just by foot to Madivaru Finolhu from there.
I would say that the beach on Rasdhoo is not worse than on the other popular islands. Yes it’s smaller than on Thoddoo or Ukulhas but it is clean and well-maintained, almost without dead corrals. The enter to ocean may be embarrassed by the seaweed but it is totally safe and don’t cause any discomfort.
There is small but very colorful reef with plenty of fish. When we swam towards it, almost nothing was there, but then from somewhere there appeared a huge number of fish. More islands can be find here.
Among them there are such small green fishes which are striving to bite a piece off you, but you shouldn’t be afraid. They eat only dead skin. This is such a "peeling" procedure.
It’s probably because of the noon time or the current shifted so that the water was not really clear.
Also by the water (it’s strongly recommended to do it at the time of a low tide) you can walk to another sandbank, which is located just near the lagoon.
At the time we snorkeled the island had filled with the locals (we or the only tourists), along with children. I would not say that was a problem, but it was quite noisy. Therefore it is better to go there in the morning.
The water near these islands is striking by its unnatural color. I've been to so many places on the Maldives, but never have I seen such a color anywhere else. So beautiful are the transitions from one shade of blue to another.
But we came to Rasdhoo to dive. So in the evening we came to one of dive center and agreed on our trip.
About half past eight the next day, we were already on our way to our first point - manta point. The depth there is 12 meters, the current is slow. This is the only one place on Rasdhoo Atoll where you can see these sea devils. We were lucky, and we were able to see four manta rays.
As the point is on the northern part of Atoll, we floated near the same uninhabited islands. Thanks to the cloudy weather, the color of the water near them was simply fantastic! You can see it perfectly in the photo (no filters were added).
Our next point is just near Madivaru and it is called Madivaru Corner. It is trully included in the TOP 10 of the most beautiful dive points on the Maldives. Besides a lot of corals and fish we managed to see about two dozen sharks. Was it scary? No! Interesting? Definitely yes! In addition, we saw eagle rays, which usually swim in small groups.
The greatist advantage of Rasdhoo is the availability of diving points for beginners. Even plunging for only 8 meters you can see the beauty of this wonderful Atoll! So do not be afraid then you will have something to remember.