One can find anything between a one-man canoe and
a container cargo carrier in the Maldivian waters, depending on
where one decides to go in the Maldives. However, when one has to
make a decision as to what the star performers are and what the
attention grabbers are on the seas, there are a few honorable
The star performer in Maldivian seas is easily the
uniquitous Dhoani. The Dhoani is a unique craft. Each Dhoani is unique
by itself in that it is normally hand-built by master craftsmen who work
without blue prints and with only the general directions given by the
prospective owner as to the dimensions of the vessel. Built of strong
wooden planks, which are shaped and pegged to each other round a strong
wooden frame, the Dhoani is built to sail in almost all weather
conditions. Dhoani are used as fishing vessels and as inter-island
ferries throughout the Maldives. It is a well known fact that most
sea-wise persons choose a Dhoani over any other type of vessel when the
sea gets rough. Traditionally sporting a lateen sail that is extremely
versatile, the Dhoani has also recently married well with the marine
diesel engine and has become the work house of the sea in the Maldives.
Custom-adapted Dhoani serve the tourism industry well as diving boats,
excursions craft and supply tenders.
Powerboats of varying designs and sizes have become
almost a new culture in the Maldives, especially with the advent of a
serious tourism industry in the country. In a country where the
International Airport is on an island all by itself, and where all the
tourist resorts are on separate islands, the Speed Boat have come into
its own in a manner that is purely Maldivian. In addition, the Speed
Boat performs well in its more conventional roles in recreational
activities like pleasure cruising and water skiing.
When the windsurfer first arrived in the Maldives,
some daring young persons began using it as a means of getting around.
After a few hair-raising incidents, this highly unconventional practice
was banned - a fact that the new visitor must remember, for the
temptation is ever so strong. Though now restricted to tamer seas within
the house reefs of individual islands, the windsurfer was made famous
throughout the country because of this.
Getting around in the Maldives is not restricted to a
boat either. Very competent parties operate seaplanes and helicopters
that make island hopping easier and faster than ever before, not mention
the additional bonus of the breathtaking view of these magnificent
islands from the air.
Though bound to the sea by nature, the Maldivian is
certainly not immune to the wheel-mounted internal combustion engine. It
is quiet normal to have the latest sports car whiz past one on the roads
of some of the bigger islands, especially on the capital island of
Male'. Motorcycles and scooters of all imaginable forms and bicycles are