A short cruise is the best way of visiting the islands of the Maldives. Several islands can be visited in the course of a week. Many are uninhabited and unspoiled by humans.
While cruising to the Baa Atoll we visited the uninhabited island of Milaidhoo – declared to be the very best for snorkeling and diving. It was the opportunity for an introductory one-day scuba diving trip for $ 96. Instruction was given on the essential theory in the morning and then over the reef to share the waters with a multitude of fish at a depth of 30 to 40 feet.
We were weighed to give us neutral buoyancy and make it easier to stay submerged. It was remarkable how much our buoyancy changed as I breathed in and out. A full breath would make me less dense so that I ascended to the surface. Beyond the reef the sea was hundreds of feet deep, a point to bear in mind when breathing out and descending to a greater depth. I was careful to keep at the same depth as the instructor.
Shoals of brightly colored fish swam by within inches of me as though I were a piece of coral, which happened to be shaped like a human being with a mask on. A turtle came by; I followed, moving my flippers in time with his legs as he lazily swam along the reef. A stone fish lay in a recess in the coral and nearby a sea cucumber resembling a giant millipede in green.
Others on our cruise had donned mask and snorkel to view the fish in the shallow waters. It made the Stingrays more visible so there was less chance of stepping on them. It could make them very annoyed. When scuba diving it is not necessary to be so wary of the sun, but it is unwwise to swim on the surface for more than 20 minutes.
Once back on shore we would take a sandwich around the trees where barbecued fish were sizzling ready for lunch. Further tables were loaded with a variety of fruit and vegetables. We sat at trestle tables in the shade of the trees.