Until the early 70’s the famous wooden traditional Maldivian Dhoni (or Doni) was the only way to get around the islands, very slowly, and was mostly used by Maldivian fishermen.
The Dhoni is the most ancient known vessel in Maldives. The shape of the Dhoni was probably inspired by a Dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel.
Dhoni traditional boats were made of coconut palm wood and were using a lateen (or latin-rig), a triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast.
Originally wooden sailing vessel, nowadays these boats are motorized and even sometimes built using fiberglass.
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The most famous place in Maldives for building Dhonis is in Alifushi in Raa atoll . A Dhoni vessel is usually completed in 2 months. Originally Dhonis were built without plans and young apprentices were trained and learned orally the technique and craft secrets from skilled craftsmen.
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The lines of Maldive fishing boats are very sophisticated. They are designed to withstand extreme oceanic conditions. The masdoìni (Dhoni used for Tuna fishing) has a keel section that is flooded to keep the bait-fish alive. Nowadays , Dhoni are still used for passengers transportation, cargo, fishing and leisure.
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Dhonis excursions are a must experience in Maldives, for a peaceful, cheap, relaxing and traditional getaway . You can enjoy all kind of pleasure trip using a Dhoni , here is a list of all excursions available:
whale shark cruise
local island visit
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