What diver doesn’t dream of diving in the Maldives? And what scuba instructor doesn’t dream of working there? This one had her underwater dreams come true in January 2019 when starting a job at Sea Explorer Reethi Faru in Raa Atoll, the Maldives. I saw first-hand that everything I had ever heard about the beauty of marine life in the Maldives was true as soon as I did my first dive there. I had ten Manta rays swimming around me, some only inches away from my head. The dives that have followed since have not disappointed either. So many colors, so many sharks, mantas, turtles and more! But what happens back at the surface once the day’s dive is done? Here’s a little glimpse into living the instructor life on a small island in the Maldives…
As perfect as my postcard-worthy home may seem, it’s not all sunshine and butterfly fish. The truth is that there is also a flipside to this life, for example, life here can be restrictive. On an island measuring 600 x 300 meters, there is obviously a limit to spacial freedom. There is only so much one can explore on land here. Furthermore, the food is on a rotational schedule, meaning we eat the same meals on repeat every other week. After a few months, the food cravings really start to kick in, but where on such a small island can one
get the comfort food our bellies so desire? In comparison to other Islands, however, the dive staff on Reethi Faru are awarded more freedom. At least here we are free to grab a beer at the Sunset Bar.
Another aspect that often goes unnoticed is how long and hard a working week can be. During the busy season, it is not uncommon to work more than seven days straight. As a reward, forget having a weekend getaway, there’s only one day of rest before starting the next 8-day-week. Consider this together with the lack of movement or food choices and it becomes clear why island life can be exhausting.
Then – worst of all when living and working in the Maldives - is the fact that once having dived here, one is left completely spoilt! After getting used to seeing several mantas clean on a dive, or having groups of 10+ grey reef sharks swim around, what still qualifies as a ‘special dive’? What if we only see a single ray, or a resting nurse shark? Luckily, the possibility of a new and extraordinary encounter is possible with every dive. On the most unexpecting days I’ve been lucky enough to have pods of dolphins join us divers, or a rare sighting of a huge ornate eagle ray. The Ocean is full of surprises. Who knows what another week at work may bring? It is this excitement, this underwater magic of the Maldivian reefs we experience every day, that we live for on our island home. One needs to learn the art of island life and how to deal with the little space and repetitive menu. It’s an art that is not easy to master, but the rewards of living the dream are worth the effort.
Written by Sarah Emmanuela Miller
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