Pristine beaches, turquoise water and paradise are some of the words usually used when describing the Maldives. The Royal Island Resort was my island and it definitely felt like it was mine. It truly was deserted. Stepping out of the villa straight onto a private area of beach and a few steps to the sea. The warm sun soaking everything it touched. The sea disappearing into the horizon. What to do for the next 6 days?
I’m not one for sitting around on a sunbed so the purpose on this island was to snorkel, a lot. As well as seeing the array of tropical fish what I really wanted to see was a shark, a ray and most of all a turtle. My tactics were simple, spend as much time as possible in the sea and visit different sites on the house reef. Would it work?
After a couple of days getting some odd looks testing out the new snorkel in the warm tropical waters and becoming familiar with the best spots on the reef the shark appeared and scared me straight out of the water. It was definitely 10 feet long or perhaps it was only 4 feet! It paid me no attention and was soon out of sight but I was certainly more wary of heading back into the deeper water, especially where the house reef disappeared into the abyss. Anything could have been hiding down there waiting for me and it probably was.
A couple more days passed when a journey to the open ocean via boat ensured the ray was spotted burrowing into the seabed. The strong sea currents made avoiding the corals and swimming in the right direction a challenge. I was quite thankful to get back to the calm waters of the house reef.
Something was still missing. Was I being too optimistic expecting to see a turtle, I thought so whilst packing on the final morning. I had a couple of hours before departure, was it worth getting everything wet again? Yes I decided. I was at the reef pier ready to climb in and realised I had forgotten my camera. Should I go back? I thought. As soon as my face entered the water it appeared, a turtle. It felt like it had been waiting for me. If only I had gone back for my camera. I realised if I had I would have missed it. A reminder to immerse myself in the experience because a picture of a missed opportunity will be quickly deleted. My memory will last a lifetime. You will have to trust me that I saw a turtle. If you want to see one for yourself visit Maldives.
Would I go back to Maldives, yes. Will I go back, probably not. The journey each way from the UK is about 25 hours via a coach, three planes and a boat. This is a long time for a beach holiday. If you can stick with it you will relax and the turtle might just be waiting for you too. Just make sure you remember your camera.
Have you ever forgotten your camera and missed capturing that vital piece of evidence? What did you miss? Did anyone believe you?
Next blog: Travel Plans for 2017.