I initially thought I would not go scuba diving at Maafushi, Maldives even though it is supposed to be a great spot for diving. I then thought I would just go and ask how much would it cost. I hoped it would be too expensive and I would walk away! No such luck, the first place I asked at was quite reasonable, they quoted me 80 US dollars for two dives. In the end I could not dive with them because they were full by the time we decided to register. When I told guys at my hotel about the rates, they said this particular diving center was new. Their tone sounded a bit cautionary. It didn’t work out anyway!
I then went to Maldives Passions. They quoted 70 dollar per dive per person (without taxes) and even this was fine with me. Both my nephew and I decided to take a recreational dive, the hitch was my nephew doesn’t know how to swim. If you can’t swim you get to do only the bubble maker! We decided to go together so I also did the kiddie dive. I paid 100 US dollar as advance in the evening. We were to dive at 11.00 am the next day. I asked for a camera too, as this time I wanted some pictures of the event.
I have to admit I was anxious even though this was the second time I would dive. I had done one dive in Havelock in 2011. I had not opted for underwater pictures then. All evening and part of the night I kept thinking why can’t I be content with snorkeling? It required no special skills and it was such fun. I was telling myself that in future I would restrict myself to snorkeling. My nephew on the other hand was cool, his motto- no point in taking any tension. Actually he was a good influence on me.
The day of the diving arrived calm and fine. We went for a light breakfast. After that I stayed in my room till it was the time to dive. My heart was trying to come to my mouth forgetting that it has dived before. When it was time to clear out I was happy, finally I would be done with it.
When we reached the shop, we were told that we would have to wait a bit as the dive master, Adham Rafeeu was, well out diving. I went and deposited myself into a hammock in front of the shop. The wait was not long. I thought I was wearing a wet suit but I was told that the water was pretty warm. They charge separately for the wet suit so I asked them if they would waive if off? They told me not to worry about all that, we would do costing after the dive.
Then came the time to breath with the regulator. I so love breathing with my nose and I so hate it when I am not able to do so. As this was a bubble maker we were not going deep, even like 10-11 meters. I was actually relieved. So, initial instructions were less rigorous than my last time.
When it came to breathing in water I was not feeling comfortable. When I said so the Adham, he quipped- “you are only breathing in, you are not breathing out!” There it was, as simple as that. Once I started breathing out inside the water, I was fine. In spite of having dived before I was so nervous I forgot to breathe out!
Soon, it was time to go for the actual dive. I remember the weight belt from the previous dive. I put on the cylinder on the land at Maafushi, and how heavy it was, I almost staggered even though I had to take just a few steps to the sea. There were two of them for two of us. When I saw this I asked why could I not go deeper as I could swim, Adham told me that the other diver Rene was an apprentice! I told him, I was happy to follow the original plan. Rene was a young girl from Norway and I had a great dive with her.
The underwater world was as fascinating as ever, full of fish and colors. The view from above never ever lets you see what a beauty it actually conceals! I was most fascinated by a set of corals whose tips seem to glow! I also strangely felt responsible for my nephew even though I could do nothing for him underwater. But he was always ahead of me, I could see he was doing fine. There was a short span of time when my head was getting crowded with negative ideas, like what if there was a ship above us, what if my air flow was interrupted! Thankfully these thoughts went away soon.
I don’t think we stayed very long under water but then it is the best; to come out and start breathing through my nose again! Rene told me and Adham that I behaved well through the drive, I gave her no trouble at all! She said many times that I should consider doing a certification course! Now why do people put ideas in my head?
My nephew told me later that at the start Adham took him out of water. He was asked to go slow and not run through. I somehow missed this entire phenomenon.
In the end they did not charge me for the camera saying it malfunctioned underwater and there were just too few pictures. I was welcome to the pictures without any extra charge. Now that was mighty nice of them, I would have not known the difference. When I said so I was told true to their name diving was a passion with them and not just a source of money. Thank you Maldives Passions for the great time you gave us.
I am Mridula Dwivedi and I started blogging on 'Travel Tales from India' in June 2005. I renamed it Travel Tales from India & Abroad in 2016. Within a few months of the launch my travel blog found a mention on both the BBC and The Guardian. I also featured in a National Geographic Skoda Yeti Video.
I quit my job as a professor in May 2015. I am having a blast ever since. I do not miss my work but sometime I do miss my salary! Somewhere along the journey I ended up acquiring a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur! I now wonder why?
You can write to me at mridulablog at gmail dot com For advertising queries please check out my advertising page.
Logo image credit Shutterstock.
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