Monday, March 16, 2009

Transport in the Maldives

You would expect plenty of boats in the Maldives...
Rightly so! The Maldives cannot survive without boats and there are many. Let us first look at the few.

The star performer is the traditional Dhoni. Each traditional dhoni is a unique vessel hand-built by a master craftsman even though a mass-produced fiberglass version has recently been introduced. Built of strong wooden planks, shaped round a strong wooden frame, the dhoni is built to sail in all seas. They are used fishing vessels and as inter-island ferries throughout the Maldives. Traditionally sporting a versatile lateen sail, the dhoni has also married well with the marine diesel engine and has become the workhorse of even the tourism industry.

Then there is a powerboat. In a country where the international airport is on an island all by itself, where the entire tourist resorts are on separate islands, the speedboat reigns king. It also performs well in recreation.

Getting around in the Maldives is not restricted to a boat though. Sea planes offer an even faster and scenic alternative.

On some of the bigger islands, especially on the capital island of the Male the latest sports cars compete with motorcycles, scooters and the sedate taxi. And it is quite probable that the world record for bicycle=per-capita is held by the Maldives!


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