And What About the Weather? (Nakaiy Calendar)

The Monsoon Seasons

The seasons in the Maldives are dictated by wind direction. We call them monsoons but to many people that also has connotations of rain and storms.
The Maldives has 2 main wind directions or ‘monsoons’; the Iruvai Monsoon comes from the NE (basically from the direction of the Indian subcontinent and is generally dry and settled, as it passes over a large land area, and relatively small water. The Iruvai is said to start on December 10, and runs for approximately 4 months until April 7.
From mid-April the wind tends to come from the SW- picking up a lot of moisture as it moves over the Indian Ocean. This monsoon is actually started in India. As the air starts to warm up over the Indian sub-continent (North-hemisphere summer), the air mass rises sharply and there is a rush of wind to replace it. Because it is coming from the SW (moisture-laden ocean) – it brings rain. Winds in the Maldives are generally at their strongest in May and the rain starts to fall. The Hulahangu monsoon is known as the wet monsoon because of this. This monsoon runs for approximately 6 months.
4 months for the Iruvai and 6 months for the Hulhangu? We must take into account the changeover period between the monsoons. The wind can change frequently during this time. Just like an ‘Indian summer’ in other countries, these weather patterns change from year to year, but are fairly consistent in the long run.

The Maldivian Nakaiy Calendar

Approximate Date
Approximate Description
Dec. 10 – Dec. 22
strong winds, rough seas
Dec. 23 – Jan. 05
strong north-easterly winds, rough seas
Jan. 06 – Jan. 18
clear blue skies, strong winds, rough seas
Jan. 19 – Jan. 31
calm seas, blue skies
Feb. 01 – Feb. 13
north-easterly winds, moderate seas, plenty of sunshine
Feb. 14 – Feb. 26
seas are calm, days and and nights are hot
Feb. 27 – Mar. 11
frequent, short, sharp bursts of thunder and lightning
Mar. 12 – Mar. 25
usually clear blue skies
Mar. 26 – Apr. 07
if storm occur they may be severe
Apr. 08 – Apr. 21
begins with storm, then becomes hot and dry
Apr. 22 – May 05
begins with a storm and strong winds, then becomes calm
May 06 – May 19
dark clouds, frequent rains
May 20 – Jun. 02
storms, strong winds and rough seas
Jun. 03 – Jun. 16
storms, rough seas and strong westerly winds
Jun. 17 – Jun. 30
south-westerly winds and light rain
Jul. 01 – Jul. 14
storms, rough seas, frequent sudden gales
Jul. 15 – Jul. 28
wet and overcast
Jul. 29 – Aug. 10
less frequent storms, calmer days
Aug. 11 – Aug. 23
generally calm
Aug. 24 – Sep. 06
isolated showers, usually dry with light north-westerly winds
Sep. 07 – Sep. 20
strong north-westerly winds
Sep. 21 – Oct. 03
generally clear and calm with isolated showers
Oct. 04 – Oct. 17
light winds, isolated showers
Oct. 18 – Oct. 30
strong winds from all directions
Nov. 01 – Nov. 13
calm days
Nov. 14 – Nov. 26
light winds, some sun and showers
Nov. 27 – Dec. 09
light north-easterly winds
Take this all with a grain of sand. Large weather patterns affecting the Bay of Bengal for example will have a diluted effect in the Maldives. We are generally considered to be out of the cyclone belt but there have been some nifty storms with cyclones damaging islands forcing evacuations as the islands basically disintegrated due to the persistent pounding of waves in a different direction from normal.
Our own observations tell us that the Nakaiy periods are maybe 6 weeks later than the dates posted above. For example as I am writing this update (Feb 2, 2013) we have strong winds from the NE and bright blue skies…. indicative of the December Nakaiy. The ocean swell outside the atoll is rough, however the inner reefs are quite protected due to the eastern fringe islands, so the conditions inside the atoll are quite flat, however there are large swells outside the atoll breaking on the ‘futtaru’ or outer reef. Currents right now are very strong in the ‘kandu’ channels which is typical for the Maldives in January/early Feb. We are aiming to time our dives here so that we are not exposed to the full power of the tide + ocean current. The few days following a full moon generally also increase current strength.

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