"A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles" ~ Tim Cahill
02.02.2013 - 02.02.2013 30 °C
If you haven't seen Life of Pi, you really should! It's a beautiful movie about a boy cast away on a lifeboat after his ship sinks with a cast of characters represented by a Bengali tiger, a zebra, a hyena and an orangutan. He lives at sea with these characters until he finds shore. I won't spoil the rest of the movie for you but I will say that the first week of my trip felt a little like 'Life of Pi' minus the shipwreck. Alain and I boarded the 'Sachika', an Italian-run live aboard in Male to dive the Indian Ocean around the Maldives. We were excited to get in the water with all the exotic creatures of the Indian Ocean (whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, grey sharks, white and black-tipped reef sharks). We weren't disapointed. We saw the most beautiful creatures! We spotted everything we wanted, even a whale shark! Everything that is beautiful and rare comes with a challenge though! We had to fight currents that tore off my fin on one dive, had us climbing up a reef wall inch by inch like we were climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard and getting separated from the group on another.
What we didn't expect was the cast of characters we'd meet on board! We met a French couple, living in the Middle East who shared their incredible stories of love, life and travel. There were a group of Italians who did not speak a word of English so we only got to exchange the occasional "Boungiorno!". The neurotic New Yorker who never really seemed to be disconnected from his computer unless he was 30 meters under the water. The crazy Russian who was geared from head to toe in the latest equipment and apparently dived like a Navy Seal but couldn't help himself from getting into constant trouble under water. Then there were our dive masters, Olga, who spoke in riddles when telling us what the dive conditions were going to be like and Antonio who made fun of us all under water and kept us laughing even under the most stressful circumstances!
Along with this quirky cast of characters we were treated to the most amazing surprises throughout the trip. We were given a tour through one of the islands that is completely Muslim by our guide, Didi and got a glimpse into the life of the locals. We visited the most beautiful uninhibited island where we had an amazing barbeque on the beach, complete with wine and cake to celebrate our friend, Lionel's birthday (which we also celebrated under water with a big happy birthday poster). He said he was so surprised that he lost control of his boyancy and flooded his mask!. Alain even got to play some soccer on the beach with the crew. Olga warned us that is was a dangerous sport on the island and sure enough, someone broke a toe! Alain came away without injuries though! Whew!
What an experience! I have to say, we loved every minute of it and were sad to leave the boat and its cast of characters at the end!