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Past & Present Liveaboards of Maldives by Reiner Schaetz

The Republic of Maldives or locally Dhivehi Raajey had awakened from its sleeping beauty hideaway onlybeginning of the 1970's, to open its marine borders for international Tourism.
Although, the very initial development of islands around Male' into Tourist Resorts in 1972 like Kurumba, Bandos and Villingili was followed soon by the establishment of the first local Safari-boats, as locally built boats are called in Maldives today, accommodating tourists for activities such as cruising,scuba diving, wave surfing, fishing and sailing.
Despite a very few small foreign Yachts catering occasionally for Tourists those days, the true pioneer of locally built Safari boats was Mr. Ahmed Adam of H. Hickery with the establishment of a converted localfishing Dhoni (boat) built entirely out of local coconutwood in 1973, the second year of Tourism in the Maldives.

The boat carried the distinctive name ALADEEN, the first of its kind. As thatboat was facilitated with one main cabin accommodating up to six foreign guests in bunk beds right below a center-elevated deck and in addition upgraded from using Latin sails to diesel powered Japanese-made Yanmar 2-T engine, such modernized version as unseen before eared itself the well deserved nickname Yacht Dhoni. The boat offered one common pump toilet, fresh water from island wells was stored in locally built cans and jerry cans carrying a maximum of 400 liters onboard with three unskilled crews operating the Yacht Dhoni. Provisions were limited to strictly Maldivian cuisine and re-provisioned while traveling from one island to another. All high-tech the boat owned those days was its diesel engine, there were no desalination plants, built-in soundproof generators, attached stylish bathrooms with hot water, no general electronics relating to the boat operation and nowadays guest comfort.The boat was steered by its traditional local Hunganu rudder and controlled by the captain's mighty foot.

Although, those days it was a locally praised Yacht Dhoni, it actually impressed by its practical simplicity, guests were synthesized with the Yacht Dhoni as they were with nature around them. Guests brought their own diving equipments, including compressors and the day to day vacationwas all about activities such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, local fishing, visiting inhabitant islands with their native population totally unexposed to foreign visitors as well as visiting and camping on deserted islands as most of those were unexplored those days. ALADEEN Yacht Dhoniserved during her first three years of operation to game fishermen using local fishing methods. ALADEEN also sailed a well-known German photographer to his first island shots, which remain published even today.

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