The final blog of the Maldives Trip 2018

Dive Day 6, trip day 8 (Saturday)

Dive 1 the last dive ☹ (Embudhoo Express) Sadly this was it, our final dive was about to happen. We were woken as always with a lovely fresh brew of tea in our cabins, a little later than usual as we had all (apparently) been very good all week! 0645 came the rat tat tat at the cabin door and our friendly crew man was standing there with his usual big grin on his face. Briefing next where Albert gave his usual spin on the briefing with his wit, banter but great information. We always knew exactly what to expect and do once we left the lounge heading for the Dhoni. Cameras all in our grasp we headed out and began kitting up. Once we hit the spot it was all go go go and we all jumped into the clear blue waters for the last time this trip. What amazing things were we about to see and witness? This was a channel dive so we all ascended quickly to ensure we all hit the right spot at the right time. As we approached the rocky bed we prepared our hooks to hook in and I grabbed my camera. There were amazing sights to see with the passing shark life, eagle rays, grouper and barracudas drifting past merrily as their days began. I was snapping away content in the thought that I would surely capture yet more great memories. To my left was Hayley with her ‘Eeyore’ Donkey which she had been determined to take on her final dive, accompanying Roger on his last until Silfra. All was going so great until…………dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun! The true horror of the rookie mistake dawned on me. Looking at the back of my camera I saw the horrific scene we all dread to see when we are in the midst of capturing these memories on film. NO SD CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How could this happen? I’m a professional! This DOESN’T happen to a professional, DOES IT? Luckily my amazing friends in Chris, Ian and Alison offered up their shots once we surfaced and I came clean. I had already shown Hayley mid-dive what I’d done to be met with a huge chuckle at 25m which even I could hear through her regs! The dive passed without further incident and we drew the safety stop out as long as we possibly could, none of us really wanted to surface. Another awesome dive spotting all manner of creatures.

A list of just some of what we saw on this dive: Grey reef, turtle, school of eagle rays, school of barracudas, grouper, octopus etc etc

There were some incredible photographers on this trip that have produced some real works of art. I hope that non-one feels left out as I couldn’t possibly put them all in to this blog but I have put a couple of my faves here, I hope you don’t mind. Sophie and Albert are both incredibly talented photographers and I could have flooded this series of blogs just with their work however I’m sure that if you google both Sophie Grisard and Albert Saiz Tezanos you will easily find some of their incredible shots. Tony Felstead, you’re an awesome talent too and also amazingly clever at fixing other peoples cameras too when some heavy handed Scuba Instructor messes around with his SD card ;-).

The evening came as the day drew to a close so what were we to do tonight? Oh why the hell not the cards for humanity had to make another appearance at the request of Kerstin who had gained a very quick understanding of the game. How anyone could play this game in a language other than their own is beyond me but she gave it a great go although it was quite good fun sometimes explaining some of the more crude words this game has to offer. Google came in handy a few times as well! Jen had been a bit of a champion on the previous night showing her ‘dark side’ with a long list of profanities, filthy phrases and statements that would make anyones hair curl! Tonight was a night for Kerstin though as she brought great fun to the nights proceedings. The team of Tony and Clare had joined in for this, the last nights game, bringing a slight edge to the game with their outstanding partnership.

The end of this incredible trip was now drawing to a close, sadly. The Maldives crew who had just a few days before been brought together had become a family. Even those from other countries joining the boat from far and wide, who had travelled independently of the Oyster team, had become a part of that family with many laughs and incredible experiences under our wings.

This entire blog is devoted to those amazing friends I made on this awesome trip beginning with the Oyster guys, Alison, Chris, Hayley, Ian and Fiona, Jen, Kerstin, Natalie and Richard. Then we have the new Oysterites, Tony and Clare, Brian, Roy, Claudine, Lyndsey, Bill and Jenky.

The crew were just amazing under the Captaincy of Capt Hussain, Cruise Directors Sophie and Albert and the amazing dive guides Ali and Thithi. The others I would also like to give mention to were 2nd captain Adam, Dohni Captain Ibrahim, Deck Hand Dohni Hussein, Compressor boy Rihan, Chief cook Tanhura, Assistant cook Priantha, Barman Indi, Waiter Jaleel, Cabin boys Ahmad & Hakim.

I would like to take this opportunity thank each and every one of you for making what was an incredible, life inspiring trip. I’m sorry if I haven’t been able to mention every event and funny incident, there were far too many to include all of them but they are all deep in my memory. Also if I haven’t mentioned each and every one of you throughout the text, I apologise also, you all played a massive part in making this a very special time and I really hope that I have the great privilege of travelling with you all again sometime soon in the future.

Take care and happy diving. Thank you. From myself and of course Roger, signing off.

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