They say Diving in the Maldives is one of the best dive experiences. Since this was my first dive, registering that fact took a long while!
It didn’t hit me till I saw the tiny islands from my airplane window.
The water! Oh so brilliant blue! Indigo and Blue, Indigo and Blue! Less than a kilometer away that too!
I had never set foot on a boat before, let alone an island. Fun trips in Goa and rafting on multiple occasions are a different thing altogether..What am I talking! Here I was on what is probably the world’s most beautiful string of islands! I was in the Maldives!
Among the bunch of islands collectively called Maldives, my dive center at the Embudu Village was located a hop, skip and jump from the Taj Exotica Resort Island.
While waterborne, Motion sickness is a grinch. They say its all in the mind really, but after a meal, when the boat you’re traveling in impersonates a pendulum, the mind has no say. However, the 45 minute boat trip from the airport to our island was tackled with, without any mind/body revolts; they didn’t get the time to react, too struck by the beauty of the blue.
We were to dive the following day as there is always a twelve hour gap between your flight and the dive, so everyone jumped in with their snorkel and mask. It was two at noon, the sun was at its zenith and I was too overwhelmed with the scene. It almost felt like a soap bubble, broken if touched! However, Anees and my dive buddy Remu pushed me and then I finally jumped in.
Potent salt water! In my nose, mouth and eyes! It didn’t help that I was an average swimmer and the fins I was wearing suddenly seemed to pull me down! Panic! It took me a while after that to adjust breathing with the snorkel and keep afloat while moving the fins. But as I gradually calmed down and opened my eyes, the scene I witnessed blew me away!
A huge shoal of Groupers inches away from my nose, a Parrot fish or two staring me in the face, a bored baby Shark with the look, ‘there comes another sloppy human,’ changing course, a Sword fish quickly darting by, a fleeting glimpse of a Sting Ray! A whole new World! But the corals; pink and lilac, they were the icing on the cake.
I was aware that over the next five days, we were to repeat the same tasks like in the pool back home, the thought of being in open waters made me very nervous though.But I need not have worried to begin with, everything was planned and organised so beautifully and each time we reached between 15-18 feet depth, you had just no space for worries. The extent of fascination was hypnotic!
Over the span of five days we saw a variety of stunning fish including Clown fish(of Finding Nemo fame), turtles, huge manta rays and a small but mesmerising ship wreck!
I panicked to begin with, was hesitant on the first dive, attempted to shriek underwater with glee while playing hide and seek with a clown fish, was reprimanded for chasing a turtle and finally was christened as a Diver while wearing a mask and snorkel with bear poured down through it!
Yay! Am officially a diver!
Post Maldives, I tried the dive center in Fathiye, Turkey; but the experience wasn’t as exciting as Maldives mainly because of the lack of corals and very few fish. But there’s lots more to see out there, many dive destinations like Egypt, Mauritius, The Bahamas and Thailand to name a few. But the first time I opened my eyes underwater and saw at least a hundred fish staring at me.. that sight, I shall never forget!
I started off with the best, looking forward to a lot more!
(Photo curtosy Anees Adenwala and Aniruddh Kasliwal)