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Take a glimpse into the colourful underwater world of the Maldives

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The reef life: Here a host of activities opens up the colourful underwater world in the Maldives

You can glide into the water to explore a colourful aquatic world. No, this is not snorkelling. It is the seabob, a high-speed motorised boat, usually fitted with an eco-friendly propulsion system called the E-jet power.

Designed as an underwater scooter, the speed is regulated by a control grip, and you can either bob on the surface or manoeuvre your way deep into the waters.

The seabob is among the many water activities you can explore at the Maldives. If you are not too adventurous but are fascinated by the marine world, then go for the Whale Submarine in Male, which provides a 45-minute underwater tour of the Indian Ocean.

Take a glimpse into the colourful underwater world of the Maldives

The submarine, which is air-conditioned, can carry up to 50 people, and plunges to a depth of approximately 30 metres.

Those who want to enjoy an individual experience, can opt for the popular snorkelling. On a pleasant Sunday afternoon, we set out for snorkelling from Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives.

Before entering the water, we were given simple instructions. However, most were forgotten, despite our guide’s attempts at reminding us. We couldn’t be blamed because as soon as we lowered our faces into the water, we saw an incredibly colourful world of sea creatures and coral. Giant turtles, one of the most sought-after sea animals in the Maldives, and reef sharks such as blacktip and whitetip sharks (Maldives has over 25 species of sharks). We were told not to be afraid of them as they are considered harmless unless disturbed. We saw shoals of Dorys, the same ones animated in Finding Nemo. There were also manta rays, stingrays and more. For the more adventurous, there is scuba diving.

Through the looking glass

Those who prefer not getting into the water, but still want a view, can set out in glass bottom boats, through which you can see fish. Then there is sunset sailing, primarily a dolphin cruise. We got onto a 21-metre-long yacht and travelled to the middle of the ocean, with wide expanses of blue surrounding us. We sailed through a channel where we hoped to catch a glimpse of dolphins, while we savoured cocktails and snacks.

For those interested in water adventures, there is a lot to choose from, apart from the usual kayaking, parasailing and surfing. There is catamaran sailing — a catamaran has two hulls with the sails in the middle — and kite surfing, which has a specialised kite and a boat, propelled by wind and water.

For water skiing, you sail on a board that is pulled by a boat and jet skis. Knee boarding, on the other hand, has a buoyant, convex board fixed to a motorboat. You ride on the board while it is towed by the motorboat... it seems quite tough, yet thrilling from the looks of it.

Take a glimpse into the colourful underwater world of the Maldives

The Maldives is conscious about conserving corals. At Shangri-La Resort, as part of their Reef Care Project, which aims to spread awareness on marine conservation, you can plant corals, which though a conservation activity, was no less adventurous. Each of us was given a branched coral which we had to stick on to an eco-friendly base using eco-friendly adhesive. The instructors educated us on coral reefs. They are underwater ecosystems, comprising reef-building corals, which are marine invertebrates. Coral reefs cannot withstand too much heat, and global warming is leading to coral bleaching. After this, we put on our snorkelling gear and dived into the waters of the coral nursery at the Serenity Bay Water Villa.

The cost of water activities ranges between ₹4,000 and ₹6,000 per person.

(The writer was in Maldives at the invitation of Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa)

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:47:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/the-reef-life/article30512863.ece

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