Sunday, September 11, 2016

Blue all around - Scuba Diving & Snorkeling in Maldives

Travel creates memories, but adding an adventure to it creates extraordinary memories that last lifetime. I and Nitin, both are crazily waiting for our next venture to scuba diving and snorkelling. Rising sun, fairly visible from our beach Bungalow, is not the only reason we have got up so early that morning. Butterflies in the stomach is another reason of our inability to have sound sleep this night. But truly, these butterflies are adding an unknown spice to our fun.

View from room in Paradise island resort - Maldives
Snorkeling adventure

After done with the breakfast at ‘Bageecha Restaurant’ in Paradise Island resort, we went back to the room to get ready for the very first activity of the day, Snorkeling. We had our own equipment’s ready for the activity. What all you need is just a mask and a snorkel, that costs us around INR 1,000/- only Snorkeling Kit (check price and reviews from amazon).

While snorkeling on beach of Paradise island resort - Maldives
It is not at all necessary to know swimming for snorkeling, and Paradise Island offers us with a great opportunity to snorkel as water is shallow up to a large distance.

beautiful view of water bungalow from reception - Paradise beach resort 
I being afraid of drowning, made sure to get rid of my fear by joining swimming classes a month before this trip. I never wanted to come empty handed without experiencing the color and life of this underwater world. We are now ready to put on our masks and snorkels, to have that first glance of underwater beauty.

The water is so clear and feels so light (as the body floats on water due to salinity) that swimming is such an easy task now. At first it was little strange feeling, but later I was enjoying. I can see the corals beneath me. The corals are so nearby due to shallowness of ocean.  I could see the corals around us up to the extent of our visibility.

Fishes of different colors and size were all around us. I observed that these water animals do not have fear of humans swimming with them. We just need to keep in mind not to try to touch them or harm them. Mostly the white and brown fishes are encountered in shallow water.  They look so adorable. Loving the view, one trial of snorkeling was not satisfying us. We decided to go for snorkeling once again in the evening.

Multiple shades of blue - Shallow water till rocks - Paradise island resort - Maldives

THE ‘ScubaDiving’
Another mind blasting experience is THE ‘Scuba Diving’. Paradise Island resort provides you with excellent dive masters who will be joining you while you dive. Extra care and precautions are taken while scuba diving.

As per the allotted time we reached the Dive Center. Though it started raining, but the instructor told us that it is safe to dive even if it raining, but the clarity of water narrows down to some extent. Two more buddies to join us called up at the dive center about their inability to go for dive. So our ‘Group Dive’ eventually has become our ‘Personal Dive’ now. ;-)

I and Nitin, were already aware of my fear of water. As already mentioned, to overcome my fear of water I had joined swimming classes one month prior this trip. Ha-ha.

Nitin has no fear of water, he just loves swimming. What he is worried about is his encounter with sea creatures. And what if he gets hit by any big fish or may be a shark which we saw on previous day at feeding point. Omg!  We are so totally opposite, because I was already loving this feeling of looking into the eyes of these sea animals.  Sighting of specific marine life such as turtle, shark or stingray is never a guarantee at any specific time.It all depends on your luck, what you get to see.

Our instructor prepared our gear bags and took us to the starting point. He told us some actions and their meanings, to be followed under water. We are now helping each other wear our gear bags and other equipment including swim suit, oxygen cylinder and some weights. “Oh my god, it is so heavy”, I asked the instructor. He held my hand and took to me inside the water and said “Still heavy?” Actually these weights are there to help you keep down inside ocean, which will not be uncomfortable once you are in water.

It is necessary to pass the preliminary test otherwise they will not allow you to go further. As there is always risk into ocean if one got panic attack. I pass with flying colors. This is the moment when we are actually inside the ocean now. Wow. 
In few minutes, I was already feeling my throat dry. But this is again a natural phenomenon because you are breathing through your mouth.  As we have started from the shallow water, I can see the ocean bed. Instructor through his hand actions asked me to hold the rope, and move forward holding it. I held the slippery rope. I was falling on the ocean bed on each trial to move forward. Err. It is such a creepy feeling.

It is so quiet inside that you cannot hear anything except your own sound of breathing. Dare to Dive, is a memento in itself. Colorful fishes started to emerge and going by our side actually increases the beauty of inside world. It is all bluesurroundingyou.

But, the moment came when I could not control my fear of water. Falling each time when I was moving forward is another reason I wanted to quit. I realized that it is not about swimming it is about fear of water. So you should always get rid of your ‘fear of drowning’. I started indicating the instructor to help me go back. Instructor filled my gear bag with air and in few seconds, I was floating up in the middle of the ocean.  Stupendous!

He dropped me back to the starting point. Nitin continued his journey with the instructor.

(Post continued by Nitin)

After much convincing Sapna is not ready to go back, so half-heartedly I started my adventure to further ocean.

Rope is really slippery through which I am dragging myself forward. Fishes on shore are smaller and as I am moving forward much brighter and bigger fishes were on the way. I was feeling little afraid with these sea creatures around me (Afraid of Creatures). But overcoming this, decided to go further after taking a halt. I must say sea life is beautiful. Suddenly to my surprise a small shark crosses me(You can also see small sharks and stingray near island). I was stunned for a moment and as soon as I regain my conscious I realized she has gone far enough and surely not harming me. Again I decided to go further.

Enjoying my view for about 100 meters, what I saw is out of my expectations, I am actually on a cliff under water and now further it is endless water. I don’t have to go further, I have to go down through the cliff.

Now I told my diver by action to go back as I am really scared now. But seeing that I am afraid of depth of water and no health issue, he took me down the cliff holding my hand.
I actually realized the true beauty of underwater world. Water is crystal clear and corals are so fresh with lots and lots of marine life. Colorful fishes all around me of different sizes.

After about half hour of admiring ocean beauty we went back to our starting point and on way encountered a stingray, which suddenly set off at jet speed and vanished in water.  

(Back to Sapna)

The experience which Nitin was unable to put aside from his mind, which I would love to redo in my next coming trips overcoming my fear of water, make us realize that their exist altogether a different world of water on planet earth.

Snorkeling area in front of beach bungalow - Paradise island resort - Maldives
Points to Remember

1.  Having your own equipment’s gives you freedom to snorkel anytime at your own convenience. If handled with care, they can be used in multiple holidays.

 2.  Renting option is also available at the resort, but that will cost you very high as Maldives is an expensive destination. (Snorkeling equipment will cost you approximately 8 US Dollar per day per person. Snorkeling with an instructor can cost you around 20 US Dollar per person for 1 Hr session).

3.  Make sure that snorkel mask (or dive mask), before going for the activity should fit comfortable on your face. Different sizes of masks are available in the market (also in the resort). Fit the snorkel with the mask and practice breathing with your mouth. You should be comfortable in breathing before diving/ snorkeling. Don’t wear your mask too tight. After use, the mask should be washed with fresh water.

 4. Also this activity is not only meant for swimmers. A non- swimmer can also go for it without any fear. One instructor has expertise in guiding 4-5 divers per session. So he/she will always be there by your side while you dive. It is also necessary for all new divers to follow him and respect all his commands. 

5. They will get your medical certificate undersigned beforehand, so diving rules are meant to be taken care by every individual, which includes:

      a. Make sure you are not drunk
      b. Inform your dive master if you have taken any medicine
      c. Do not go for diving if you are pregnant or planning so
      d. Not to board flight 24 Hours after and before the scuba diving.

6. Maximum depth allowed for diving is 30 meters only, for divers holding ‘Advanced Open Water Diver Certification’, as per Maldivian government regulation. Maximum depth allowed for other divers is 18 - 20 meters

7. Different package for Diving are also available at the resort. You may go for your personal dive experience, or in a group of four to five. ‘Get yourself clicked while you dive’ option is also available, where the instructor will be carrying his camera to capture your amazing moments. Scuba diving (including both equipment and activity) costs us around 170 US Dollar when opted for diving in a group of four. (Non refundable if you are not able to go)

Most beautiful hidden beach at the back of Island - Paradise island resort - Maldives
Paradise Island Resort at Maldives, also offer activities such as Sailing, Dolphin Watching, Windsurfing, Canoeing, Jet Skiing, and many more. Make a note that these water trips at any resort are required to be booked in advance by 1 day at least.

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  1. Is it important that a person should know how to swim ?

    1. No Ankit. It is not at all necessary for a person to know swimming before going for Scuba Diving.
      What is must is that you should not have fear of drowning.

  2. Hi,
    Is there any sport activity free of cost in paradise resort.
    And are drinks included in full board meal?

    1. Free Sport Activity Depends on your package.
      and Drinks are included in All Inclusive Package.

  3. I really liked your work here. Would you recommend Maldives for a family getaway or is it better for a romantic trip ?

    1. No Doubt Maldives known to be one of the best destination for honeymooners is preferred by couples at the most.
      But a family outing can also add on to your experience. It all depends on the aim-set while planning your trip

  4. Making a plunge the Maldives resembles no place else. The Providers group are experienced, multi-lingual and can enable you to investigate Maldives scuba jumping at its finest. However, I would like you to use this link best best for getting some other knowledge about maldives scuba diving packages.

  5. Extraordinary memories are the memories that everybody needs. I really like different interesting ways to spend time on holiday. Scuba diving sounds really cool. I will definitely try it.

  6. Beautiful! This was an extremely awesome post. Much obliged to you for giving these details. spss help

  7. Your mention of scuba diving and snorkeling in the Maldives has sparked my wanderlust, and I can't help but be intrigued by the underwater wonders of this tropical paradise. Your firsthand experience and insights have truly painted a vivid picture of the marine adventure that awaits in the Maldives.