Palm Tree Night

Maldives – 3


Fish chirrup! On the reef while snorkeling, I heard 2 sounds created by the sea life: fish crunching constantly on coral, the strange burbly sounds that happened now and then. I couldn’t see any indication of what was making the sounds, and underwater sounds are very hard for humans to tell which direction they are coming from. After recording and observing for a while, my recording assistant Nico the Australian noticed that it seemed to be a territorial sound. When one species of fish darted into the space of another, the sound would happen. Our guess was the Humbug Dascyllus, a zebra-striped damselfish, or a solid black one that looked just like it, perhaps the Twospot Damselfish.

Crab Singing

On a short trip to a very small, uninhabited island near Vaavu, we discovered a large hermit crab who immediately vacuumed himself back into it’s shell when we picked it up. The Maldevians in our group all started making the sound below to try and coax him out – apparently it sounds like the ocean to the crab.

Palm Tree Night

Two soundmarks of Vaavu, and likely most of the islands in the Maldives, are the wind in the palm trees and the waves on the sand.

Male is a city of almost 100,00 fitting onto an island less than 2km square. There are many people walking (very slowly for my speed-obssessed North American feet) but it is the perfect tempo for the heat and the setting. Voices of people speaking the local language dhevehi are the most common human sound. Dominating there, however, are the motorcycles which are constantly filling the streets, as well as small cars and delivery vehicles. Engines and horns are the prevailing sound mark of Male, and the clip below was a jam outside my window one morning.

Another soundmark, this one a signal, is the call to prayer broadcast over loudspeakers. The Maldives is a Muslim country and five times a day, many men follow the call and go pray in the several mosques in Male.