The Dive Files
So, to fill in some time in the islands before work starts (Sunday), I decided that it could be nice to go for my Advanced Open Water Diving Certification. Basically this means I can dive deeper (to 30 metres), navigate underwater, drift dive, night dive etc. The team is pretty crazy on the island (photos to come) – we have a Dane, a Maldivian, a German and 2 Italians – and so you always have a good trip. I have a small confession to make. Tried to do the dive on Friday, however the sea was very rough and for the first time in my life I was not feeling very well at all on the water, so I stayed on the boat and felt very sorry for myself. However, today washed the slate clean: the dive (for those of you fascinated by fish) was beautiful – I had to do some tests first to make sure I wasn’t susceptible to ‘nitrogen narcosis’ – passed the test and on we went. Right at the beginning of the dive we saw a few White Tip Reef Sharks… fortunately not too big – probably a couple of metres long; 3 beautiful Eagle Rays; a sting ray; a blue & white ‘painted’ lobster; and lots of lots of fishes. I finished the last of my dives today after doing a wreck dive, a navigation dive, a multi level dive and underwater photograpahy and fish identification. A few pics are attached for those fishy fans. Casey, sorry for not organising this with you in Oz but you have to agree the Maldives isn’t a bad location for diving!
Cris and I went on a double dive last Friday which was beautiful. We saw lots of sharks, sting rays, a turtle, big painted lobsters, nudebranchs, and more. In between the two dives, we saw a large school of dolphins swimming not far from the boat, so we slowly followed alongside them. At one point one of the dive instructors thought it could be a good idea for us all to jump in and try and snorkel up close to them, so everyone leapt overboard as quickly as they could and started swimming like mad in their direction, but try as we might, they kept us at a safe distance. It was like they were saying, ‘catch us if you can’. To cut a long story short, after a hopeful 5-10 mins of snorkelling around, we gave up and got back on the boat and motored off to the next dive. The Maldivians call the dolphin “Father of Peace”. So, even if we didn’t see them close up in the water, it was a beautiful sight and everyone was happy.
As it rained quite heavily late this week, the mosquitos have come out in force. And they seem to all be looking for me. I have to plaster myself in mosquito repellent before I go anywhere, as I have discovered that the varmints love my blood here as much as anywhere else I go. Apparently the black ones can carry Denghue fever as well… always wanted to play Russian Roulette with itchy bites. Everyone else seems to be safe, so I suppose I could consider this my star contribution to the Maldives…ridding the rest of the population of the problem by letting them feed on me. I have started itching just thinking about it. I am waiting for my mosquito shroud before I venture out onto the beach after dark… just kidding.
Nights are often spent in the bar playing games or chatting with people over a cocktail, or drinking Cris’ bottles of NZ Sauvignon Blanc (courtesy of his beverage allowance). The sky is so open and clear here… I suppose there is not too much to pollute it. The food is dangerous – we eat from the buffet in the main restaurant at night so there is a lot of variety and some beautiful food to choose from. Life is tough! More to come…