Dining On The Cheap

Boating can be an expensive lifestyle, but yachties are notorious for taking advantage of anything with the price tag of ‘cheap’ and ‘free’. For those who don’t follow us or our Followtheboat Facebook page updates (click on that link, you don’t need a Facebook account to see the updates), we recently benefited from the generosity of Maldivian hospitality:

20130318-DSC00744And I thought the Indian hospitality was great… yesterday ended up on an unfinished resort island. The operations manager spotted me snorkelling at the other end of the island, drove round on his moped, picked me up and gave me a complete tour of the resort.

In the evening he came over to Esper with two friends, armed with gifts, phoned up a passing trawler which sidled up to us at anchor and heard a loud ‘thud’ as his fishing friends dumped a MASSIVE red snapper on deck for us! This thing was so big I had to use a hacksaw to cut through the bones. Point blank refused any payment for it, they were all just happy watching Millie go bezerk over an animal bigger than her!

After that wonderful experience we moved on and moored up in a lagoon by Makunudhoo Island Resort. Again, Facebook followers will already be familiar with our arrival:

The drama after the storm continues. 0800hrs we made it to our destination and conned our way in to a lagoon. With me on the bow and Liz on the helm we tried to find the recorded 7m depth. When it went from 15m to 1m, and me with a bird’s eye view of fish swimming round coral, the whole bay reverberated with the sound of my voice shouting “REVERSE!!!” and our insurance policy flashed through my mind. Three hours sleep in 24 hours and we’re both too wired to sleep. Ah, boating, eh?

Anyways… having confirmed with the manager by phone the day before that we did not wish to pay the $75 ‘landing fee’, that we would just be anchoring but would make up for it by using the resort facilities (bar, restaurant etc), we dingyied ashore to explore this little hideaway.

Esper at anchor in Makunudhoo

Esper at anchor in Makunudhoo

The friendly manager came out to greet us and took us to reception, whereupon he asked “how do you want to pay for your landing fee?” Eh? Turned out the $75 ‘landing fee’ didn’t apply to the boat, but to people. Seventy five dollars to come ashore. Each. One hundred and fifty dollars to come ashore and drink a $50 bottle of wine, and perhaps eat a $60 meal? Three-hundred odd dollars just to rub shoulders with drunk tattooed Europeans? Pass me the painter, I’m rowing home.

Today we made up for it. Having eaten half the snapper already, Liz marinaded the remainder. We pulled out our ‘new’ BBQ and mounted it on the back of the boat. Now this BBQ is a copy we got made whilst in India. The American-designed original will set you back around $300. Our price? $50! Fifty dollars for materials and labour, and we have a shiny new gas BBQ!


The BBQ performed marvellously. The snapper kebabs, marinaded in a coconut fish curry sauce (to remind us of India), cooked slowly as we quietly guzzled vodka, lime and sodas with the sun setting behind little, fluffy clouds.


Fish complete, we then served our snapper kebabs off our new teak cockpit table. “New teak cockpit table?”, I hear you cry? “That must have cost you a fortune!” Perhaps in the UK, yes. Maybe £300? Not in India! No, our new, customised, two inch thick teak cockpit table cost us just… $50!

The common denominator in all this is our man Bryan of s/y ‘Suryani’. Bryan was our guru whilst in India, and it was he who took the BBQ and copied the design. It was he who measured up our cockpit and got us a hand-made folding table. He didn’t supply the snapper, but I reckon he saved us a fair whack. Something along the lines of:

ItemShould Have CostCost Us
Drink$50 cheap wine$10 Indian special vodka


*Absolutely no idea how much a whole 5kg fresh snapper would cost in the west.

Experience of eating fresh BBQ’d snapper at sunset in the Maldives off a posh table: PRICELESS!


I don’t want to harp on about money, but I do like a bargain!

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6 Comments on “Dining On The Cheap”

  1. I was a bit full with the stories of the miserables, now we changed course in the other direction to the land of rich & astounding prices..Sounds a bit like Gullivers travels…150 dollars to land, to go to eat out ashore is something all liveaboards dream !!! Of course a nightmare… I shall keep few thousand miles away from that..Keep your sprits up my friends, shore looks quite nice from distance, all you need is on board… Regards, Yener.

  2. hi hi my dear friends.i read all about your adventures and i wait to anoter chepter every day.miss you.have a wonderfull time .xxxxx

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