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Published: July 30th 2014
After an incredibly relaxing first day on the island, where we had loaded up on breakfast, snacked on granola bars for lunch, and eagerly awaited dinner, we were ready for some fun. For dinner, we each wore a dress and had a happy hour fruity drink. Then we walked to the pier to take some photos and just love the idea we were in this incredible place. Dinner the second night was not as good as the first, but it was still good enough.
It had rained intermittently during the afternoon, but we were still so happy with the weather - we had been told that it would rain and thunder every day. That night, however, the sound of rain against our roof woke us all up - it was absolutely insanely loud! I, of course, was ecstatic, especially when the thunderstorms started. That was the icing on the Paradise cake. I love thunderstorms!
The next morning we headed for breakfast and prepared for our first excursion: turtle snorkeling! We were all so excited, especially Jamie, who had fallen in love with turtles after visiting a sanctuary in Oman. Unfortunately, she tends to freak out when she first gets
in the water. I was one of the first to jump in and somehow managed to swim far from the boat without intending it. When I looked back the guides were helping to lower her in the water from a sitting position and she clung to the side of the boat for dear life. I swam back and indicated to the guides that I would stay with her. She swam out to me and the instructor and we were trying to get her to put her mask on and look down - I thought if she could see the incredible beauty beneath her, she would be fine. After a couple of minutes just trying to get her breathing under control she was perfectly fine. I swam with her for five minutes or so and then we both just went our own ways to observe the incredible marine life.
The coral here is amazing! The water is so clear (though I think not as clear as it could be due to the previous evening's rainstorm). I saw hundreds of fish - probably about 20 different varieties. I did not see a turtle though. However, I kept getting further from the
group and at one point I saw kind of a dust up ahead of me. Curious, I swam towards it and saw a black tipped reef shark. Super cool! And I quickly swam back. It is so amazing because the coral reef is about 3 to 6 meters deep, and then it just drops off into an abyss. I mean seriously just drops off. Dark blue waters were right next to us and who knows what awaits you below. Apparently, whale sharks! Our instructor and another couple were lucky enough to glimpse one just before we left the first spot! LUCKY!!!
One our way to the second spot, Joevet and I saw a big turtle swimming at the surface and that was my sole glimpse of turtles during turtle snorkeling. However, I was more than happy with the various fish that I was able to see. A couple of finding Nemos in their anemones, some beautiful zebra striped fish with yellow faces, lots of tetras, etc. I was still super happy with the shark! Jamie was much better getting in this time even though she and a few other women got in from the sitting position. The guy came
Off to see the dolphins
Jamie had a fear that this would be the last photo of us....
to help me and I just looked at him and jumped in - he laughed. Jamie took some photos with her underwater camera; I can't wait until they are developed! Jamie and Joevet didn't stay in very long on the second spot, but I was the last one back on the boat. I probably could have stayed all day.
On the way back, Jamie got seasick. Joevet and I stood at the bow, while poor Jamie was sitting out next to us trying not get sick. It sucks that what is fun for me (boats going up and down on the waves, like a roller coaster) is painful for her (my sister is the same way). We got back to shore by about noon and went back to our room to chill. Joevet actually went out side to swim more, but I'd had my fill and needed to rest. I wound up doing a couple hours of work before heading to the bar to send my reports and get a drink. I came back before dinner for a nap and we had our last supper. Afterwards, they had a shark feeding off the pier which was pretty cool. Lots
of the same black tipped reef sharks I saw earlier in the day. Joevet and I stayed up until really late to watch the beautiful stars and chat; we wound up seeing a few shooting stars!
The next morning, we got up super early to go on a sunrise dolphin cruise. Jamie had debated on going and ultimately decided not to because she still didn't feel 100%. It turned out to be the right choice! The waves were huge and choppy - again, I loved it, riding the waves, up and down, especially standing up - but she would have been miserable. In addition, we did not see one friggin dolphin. Not one! I know that there is really nothing the guides could do about it but it was a bummer, especially for Joevet who'd never seen them in the wild before. I've seen them hundreds of times after living 10 years on the beach in California. Oh well, what can you do - I think it was the waves.
So, we came back and after breakfast, I took a nap. Then we headed out for a couple of hours on our beach for a last swim and
tanning session. Yes, I don't tan, so sunblock it is! We packed up our stuff and said our goodbyes to our beautiful home. We got a nice lunch with drinks before checking out and getting our boat. The reception had set everything up for us - our boat came at 2:45 and took us to the local airport where we were the first to check in - luckily! The rest of the plane came immediately afterwards - a giant Chinese tour group. Apparently, this is a popular destination for the Chinese, complete with most items written in Chinese and many direct flights from China.
After flying over the beautiful islands one last time, we landed at Male, got our bags, and proceeded to the international airport. We checked in and all got window seats, but then they would not let us back outside. We could not understand why! I was bummed because I wanted to go to the post office and get some postcards to send out. Oh well. Then we went through immigration and sat at a restaurant for a couple of hours, going over our photos, having a refreshing drink, doing a little shopping, and just waiting
for our flight. We got ice cream just before boarding at Swenson's, a treat for Joevet.
I didn't sleep at all on the flight, but was so happy to come home in Qatar, landing at 10pm, saying goodbye to my friends, and getting through customs rather quickly. On the way home, I realized just how far from paradise I was as I was basically run off the road three times and arrived home in a rage. You know, the usual. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!
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