Diving off the Maldives

Known as the ‘tortoise shell turtle’, hawksbills have been exploited for their beautiful shells for ages – they’re critically endangered today
Photographer: Jyothy Karat

THE FANTASTIC LIFE AQUATIC 

Two girls on a boat talk about diving into the cyan waters of the Maldives, and other shenanigans of life on a liveaboard

WORDS ALISHA WADIA
PHOTOGRAPHS JYOTHY KARAT

“The Maldives is probably the worst place to learn scuba diving!”

I couldn’t quite believe that statement when I first heard it. A tempting underwater Eden of exquisite beauty, it’s one of the planet’s most overwhelmingly diverse marine ecosystems. There’s some stellar statistics to back that up, too – the largest group of corals in the Indian Ocean is hearth and home to myriad mega sea creatures, whales and dolphins, rays and sharks… Five of the seven known turtle species live here, not to mention the hundreds of tropical fish.

Yes. Clearly, these waters are much too distracting, much too pretty, really, to pay a scrap of attention to mere things like dive instructions. That, and the strong currents that pull you every which way, making a dive lesson a difficult task.

But that’s exactly what we’re here for, photographer Jyothy (Jyo) and I. Me to grasp the basics of scuba diving and get certified, while she, being a certified diver, to dive right in, so to speak, as we drift past deserted islands on the Blue Force One Liveaboard. We’ve quickly succumbed to the easy rhythm of being divers on a liveboard, eagerly waking up to prepping for dives and getting unshakably addicted to being under the sea, punctuated mostly with impressive bouts of eating. Spending our days and afternoons barefoot and falling asleep on deckchairs, and nights enlivened by stories of dolphins shoving sharks away to rescue divers, torpedo rays triggering 400-volt seizures, and pitiful attempts at foosball and karaoke in Russian.

A blissful week of rinse and repeat.

Read Alisha’s and Jyo’s dive logs as they explore the magical underwater world, in LPMI’s January 2017 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.