Scuba diving is fast becoming one of the most popular water sports in the world today. Some divers rely solely on fins and their strength to glide around the water while scuba diving, but others choose to use small motorized vehicles to propel them further along. Still, others attach themselves to devices that keep them tethered to a boat floating above them.
is still an evolving form of undertaking. Still, there are some general classifications that have appeared over the short time that scuba diving has been a valid term in use that aren’t limited to the terms as follows, such as recreational diving and technical diving, though they can also be taken to mean military and commercial diving as well. More and more of the population are taking up scuba diving as it becomes more popular and available.
The category depends upon the choice of the diver and the supplied equipment used depending on the diver’s particular need; all these things come together to better allow the diver to understand what they do and how to do it better. Most new scuba divers are recreational divers, as it is becoming a very popular sport or hobby.
Want to head off somewhere to get away from it all? We discovered a way to experience beautiful beaches and luxury yachts while enjoying our love for each other and unforgettable scuba diving adventures simultaneously. Yes, our holidays this past year were in the Maldives. This is not a new destination for us – in fact, this would be the 6th time we have been out here on the ‘other side of the world, and boy, is it worth the trip. Scuba Diving
The flight to Male is typical of a long international journey until the final approach, when the landing strip is in sight. OK, it is an actual runway – gone are the days of compressed coral runways – the Maldives have invested in infrastructure. As we walk the tarmac toward passport control for the sixth time in ten years, we can’t help but notice how well this tiny island nation has adapted and oriented itself to tourism. Every few minutes, another passenger jet was landing or taking off, yet there was only this one terminal building, and except for a few lines causing a wait of approximately 30 mins, there were no hassles at all.
After coming out of customs and meeting the welcome wagon, we are whisked off by a boat that takes us on a 5-minute ride to our awaiting Yacht. This is luxury, and up until now, it was all-inclusive!
On board, the crew greets each new guest as though you were a member of the family and assure you that you need not worry about your suitcases, dive gear, or anything else… sit back, meet a few more of the guests, and enjoy the complimentary drinks – after all you are now really on vacation. Scuba Diving
After some briefings, introductions, stories, food, and libations, we all head off for a good night’s rest because tomorrow morning bright and early, we will have sailed to our first dive site for a checkout dive. Now, for those of you that are not familiar with the practice… a checkout dive has a dual purpose. The first is to test your gear in a protected area with few surprises such as surges, currents, or large pelagics surrounding the boat. The second is more for the crew, your dive masters, and such – to ensure that you are a capable and responsible person/diver that will not cause them too much concern on this cruise. When the checkout dive is over, most of us have spent a good portion of an hour underwater; we arrive back on the Yacht to find a sumptuous breakfast ready for all and a few non-divers already sitting at the dining table awaiting our company so that we can all enjoy some good food, drinks and talk about the past hour’s adventure. That’s the thing about dive trips… we always find something in common to discuss and enjoy with fellow divers – it is strange that this sort of thing is rare on similar journeys with surfers. I guess divers share a common bond due to the diverse adventure each dive brings and the potential for danger that delivers adrenalin rushes daily on demand. Anyway, after breakfast and a nap it is dive time again because while you were enjoying your meal and relaxing, the Yacht has traveled to the following dive site – a completely different sort of adventure awaits. The dive bell rings and in moments, we are all headed back down into the big blue. Naturally after listening carefully to the dive briefing and the Q&A session that followed. This dive, a drift dive, was like floating through an underwater botanical garden filled with colors that we do not experience in nature above water. It is simply gorgeous and breathtaking but fortunately – we have enough air to last an hour and after sucking down so much compressed air that you could have filled the Michelin man twice, you surface and it is time for lunch. What a day this has been thus far. I don’t even care what weather we are having anymore… let’s dive. Scuba Diving
So, after a beautiful tropical lunch, the yacht heads south in search of whale sharks – the largest fish in the sea and we along with our fellow divers, head back to the poop deck for a much-needed nap. This is GREAT – I could practically dance to the rhythm of eat-sleep-dive-eat-sleep-dive; oh yea, bring it on!
In the early afternoon, it again dives time. No whale sharks in sight yet but we have another 6 days to go so.. no rush. This dive was outstanding. It was a wall dive and a drift dive with beautifully clear water and 30meter visibility (approx 100ft). If you ventured away from the wall into the big blue you might catch a glimpse of something significant swimming gracefully out in the open water and consider that at that moment in time you were no longer at the top of the food chain but, these thoughts are fleeting and swimming near the wall brings so many more delightful ideas to mind that you can quickly get rid any any remaining jet lag as you breath the nitrox strapped to your back and wonder out loud how beautiful this underwater world is. During moments like these, I make promises to myself to do this at least once each quarter, not realizing that twice a year is usually the most we can manage given the career paths we have selected. Thank goodness we can dream and here, at 30m (approx 100ft) underwater, as I type this into my new underwater blackberry, I think about nothing and everything all at the same time… I am narked! High on the good things life has to offer and then as our hour of underwater pleasure comes to an end, we ascend to the surface to taste some special cookies and fruit on the Yacht before reading a chapter or two and dosing off for the rest of the afternoon. What a life!Scuba Diving
The yacht motors onward – another destination awaits us. This next island is a protective lagoon where we all decide to swim, frolic and free dive. It is such a primal pleasure to enjoy the tropical sun and beach for a few hours – it is pure enjoyment and relaxation on a different plane. Who needs the ‘real’ world. By now, we have stopped thinking about the news of the day, newspapers, radio and tv are quickly left behind during a week like this – what a difference it makes…
The next thing I remember is waking up on a beach and staring out across the water at the gorgeous Yacht anchored in the sand – thinking about how our holiday could be any better. We swam for the boat and 20 minutes later were back on board feeling fit from the exercise and ready for dinner. Scuba Diving
Dinner was beautiful, all guests showered and dressed for the occasion. Some wore silk others were clad in linen and a few from the west were in t-shirts and shorts. Still, all were in good spirits and dedicated to having a good time together – afterall we are all on the same boat for a week – and it’s so much nicer to get along setting all land-based differences aside. Discussions are usually personal yet void of politics and religious topics. Hence, people see inside each other for a moment during meals before heading off to bed. OK, there is a bit more to say here.. cocktail hour can also be a blast. After dinner, drinks are usually lots of fun. Still, this evening we watched a fantastic presentation of how a man with a dream built a beautiful luxury yacht on an island in the Maldives using only local labor and plans that were still finalized long after the construction. We had read and heard about the Tsunami but until now, we had no idea of the impact on this nation of islands in the Indian Ocean. Each of the islands is less than 2 meters above sea level! Each island flooded during the Tsunami some for 5 minutes, others for 20minutes or more. Since the water came from one direction and moved through the atols there was minor permanent damage, but many ground-based items were damaged beyond repair or even lost. Although there is a law regarding minimum height for power generators and other infrastructure key to operations on the islands – the Tsunami brought a new level of realization to the Maldives that perhaps one should not try to save a few pennies by placing the power generators, computers and other essential equipment on the ground instead of up on a platform. Anyway, back to our adventure… The presentation was also a slide show and we were able to experience the emotional roller coaster ride the owner and yacht builder had as 2 hurricanes blew away the building protecting his boat during construction not once but twice as well as the experience of the Tsunami just after the Yacht had been launched. What an ordeal – the story had us in tears a few times and all guests felt a much deeper bond with the ship from that point forward. No longer was this simply a boat that we were on for a dive trip, this was something more, something unique and certainly not for everyone. With these thoughts, I dosed off for the 4th time that day only to wake up for our morning dive some hours later.Scuba Diving
I should explain that this beautiful luxury yacht is made of several types of wood rather than fiberglass – it was built in 2005 and launched in 2006 for the first time. Hence, it is a new boat with new technology
chartered by divers for 6 months of the year (the best months for diving the Maldives). It is really like no other dive boat I have ever experienced. I would not recommend it for the budget diver or backpacker.Scuba Diving
I would highly recommend it for someone that enjoys luxury scuba diving with a touch of class.
OK, back to the adventure. The following morning we awoke to the sound of a bell and a crew member calling out “good morning” there was hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to enjoy before heading to the dive briefing. by now, you are probably getting the idea that a routine was emerging. Every day we experienced a similar schedule. What kept our interest was the variation in menus each meal, the scenery, the incredible variety of dives and course, what each of us saw, did and experienced underwater. These are the types of holidays one does not want to end. Long live the captain, crew and the owner of this beautiful floating holiday was the toast of the evening that night. I can’t wait to return and, as I mentioned earlier… if you want more details – leave a comment and let me know. Scuba Diving, Scuba Diving, Scuba Diving, Scuba Diving