We were not sure it would be a good idea to
cruise the Indian Ocean in January. Would the temperature at the equator
contrast too much with a cold winter's day in England? Then there was the
invitation to swim with stingrays. Would they be friendly and, if not, how bad
was their sting? In fact the fish were the most amiable we have encountered. It
was windy enough to keep cool in the shade and the air conditioning aboard ship
compensated for the heat outside.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A short cruise to the Baa Atoll brought us to the
uninhabited island of Milaidhoo - declared to be the very best for snorkelling
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. Shoals of brightly coloured 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.