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
Nakaiy
Approximate Description
Dec. 10 – Dec. 22
MULA
strong winds, rough seas
Dec. 23 – Jan. 05
FURAHALHA
strong north-easterly winds, rough seas
Jan. 06 – Jan. 18
UTHURAHALHA
clear blue skies, strong winds, rough seas
Jan. 19 – Jan. 31
HUVAN
calm seas, blue skies
Feb. 01 – Feb. 13
DHINASHA
north-easterly winds, moderate seas, plenty of sunshine
Feb. 14 – Feb. 26
HIYAVIHA
seas are calm, days and and nights are hot
Feb. 27 – Mar. 11
FURABADHURUVA
frequent, short, sharp bursts of thunder and lightning
Mar. 12 – Mar. 25
FUSBADHURUVA
usually clear blue skies
Mar. 26 – Apr. 07
REYVA
if storm occur they may be severe
Apr. 08 – Apr. 21
ASSIDHA
begins with storm, then becomes hot and dry
Apr. 22 – May 05
BURUNU
begins with a storm and strong winds, then becomes calm
May 06 – May 19
KETHI
dark clouds, frequent rains
May 20 – Jun. 02
ROANU
storms, strong winds and rough seas
Jun. 03 – Jun. 16
MIYAHELIA
storms, rough seas and strong westerly winds
Jun. 17 – Jun. 30
ADHA
south-westerly winds and light rain
Jul. 01 – Jul. 14
FUNOAS
storms, rough seas, frequent sudden gales
Jul. 15 – Jul. 28
FUS
wet and overcast
Jul. 29 – Aug. 10
AHULIA
less frequent storms, calmer days
Aug. 11 – Aug. 23
MAA
generally calm
Aug. 24 – Sep. 06
FURA
isolated showers, usually dry with light north-westerly winds
Sep. 07 – Sep. 20
UTHURA
strong north-westerly winds
Sep. 21 – Oct. 03
ATHA
generally clear and calm with isolated showers
Oct. 04 – Oct. 17
HITHA
light winds, isolated showers
Oct. 18 – Oct. 30
HEY
strong winds from all directions
Nov. 01 – Nov. 13
VIHA
calm days
Nov. 14 – Nov. 26
NORA
light winds, some sun and showers
Nov. 27 – Dec. 09
DOSHA
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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