After the liveaboard I went to Ulkulhas, an island with a great beach and not many tourists at all. Every day I was in the water for hours freediving and enjoyed the big reef where you could see turtles, sharks, jellyfish, and so much more. Being on an island there you can experience great environments under water just off the beach was marvellous.
The island was beautiful but unfortunately not really suited for tourists yet. There was a lot of mosquitoes, hardly any restaurants and almost no one spoke english. So it was a little bit less fun being on this island but the beach is pristine.
Everything on Ulkulhas circles around prayer times and it was a lot of activities around the mosque. The atmosphere was very traditional contrary to other islands. There seem to be a divide in the country in how much Islam should affect normal life. On some islands niqab is the only choice for women and on other women walk around showing their hair, working dressed in military uniforms. Alcohol is banned on public land but the beaches are full of young people smoking hasch. The country has only been a democracy for a few years and I don’t know if it even should be called that.
Being a healthcare professional I tend to see the state of the people and there are no old people. Not the ages that I see every day in Sweden – they just don’t exist. Almost no one has been out of the country and it’s a very different dynamic than I’m used to where the men work on different islands or on boats and the women sit at home. A funny fact which I got from the locals is that divorce is very common. People seem to be very happy with life and enjoy what they have here, the sea and the sun and tourism. The Maldivians are friendly and laid back. They work hard and some try to keep the traditional values and some seem to look forward to change.