Why Maldives is truly a paradise for underwater lovers

Snorkelling with a turtle!
The Star/Asia News Network

Maldives is known to many as heaven on Earth and it's not hard to see why.

It is such a beautiful place and its sea life is magnificent too.

My wife and I went there recently; specifically to Maafushi Island.

It is a 45-minute boat ride to the island from the international airport at Male.

The weather was good when we arrived at Maafushi, which is a small place of about 1km both in width and length.

Our hotel offered water activities like snorkelling and diving to guests, so I quickly booked a session for the next day.

Our first snorkelling session was at a shallow (1m to 3m in depth) area in the middle of the sea.

There were lots of colourful fishes of various sizes and shapes just swimming around us.

It was really a marvellous place to snorkel.

We moved to another spot to see turtles and swordfish.

Shortly after that, the boatman took us to a sandbank in the middle of the sea for lunch. It was such a surreal experience.

I went on a diving trip by myself the next day.

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The boatman took me to a spot where I was able to descend 30m underwater, even with heavy undercurrents.

Luckily, visibility was good.

There were so many big sharks swimming around me that day - what an experience! Later, a school of eagle rays came swimming past me.

I was taken to a spot where there were supposed to be plenty of Manta rays, but unfortunately there were none that day.

We moved to another location and I saw some baby sharks after diving 25m down.

I had so much fun diving that I booked a night dive session on the same day.

We started our trip at 7.30pm and headed to a coral reef and shipwreck area.

We managed to see some coral, plankton and other sea creatures like mantis prawns, octopus, eel and crab. It was a feast for the eyes!

On our last day, we tried our luck again with the Manta rays and this time, a huge one swam past us.

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Its movement was so graceful - it was such a delight to see.

We spent another half an hour searching for more but we couldn't find any.

We climbed back into our boat and lo and behold, we saw a few Manta rays and schools of yellow fishes on the surface of the water. We were so happy.

Later in the day I saw even more colourful fishes, a unicorn-shaped fish and octopus too.

It was the perfect ending to my diving trip and holiday.