The Magic of Snorkelling
Seven Holidays - Your Guide to Maldives Resorts & Holidays


If your first ever snorkelsnorkel is in the Maldives you never forget it.


The lagoon

You sit down in the water just by the beachbeach and pull your flippers on. Then you turn and make your way across the shallows to the edge of the lagoon. Before you’ve gone a body length you realise that there are fish right next to you; good-sized fish with the translucent colour of sand through water. Perfect camouflage.

Something else is flashing colour at you, the beautiful and endearing Picasso triggerfish, darting in and out of your vision.

At the first coral boulders, loosely scattered around the sand, are some tiny fish defending some crevice territory. Others are resting on top pretending they’re not there, while a pair of butterfly fish dance a ‘pas de deux’. A couple of dashing blue surgeonfish pass by your mask and entice you further towards the massing corals.




The living corals are coming in different shapes and sizes. Brain corals next to table corals next to leather corals, all aptly named. The surfaces below you are alien: wrinkly, splayed, round and crunchy.

The fish are in profusion now, your eyes taken by a group of psychedelic wrasse, then a grey boxfish with white spots and the weirdly elongated trumpetfish. You can’t know what they’re up to. You can only watch and admire as they go about their daily business of feeding and not being fed on. You take a look up at where you are going and a forbidding darkness is beginning to loom ahead.

Unsettled, you wonder if you should maybe head back now but your attention is caught by a rasping, crunching sound and you look around to find a large parrotfish gnawing at a coral, its solid body rippled with pastel pinks, yellows and greens. And suddenly a mighty disturbance as a blue-fin jack flashes over the corals in pursuit of a fusilier.

You fancy you’ve seen everything but you haven’t even reached the place where experienced snorkellers start – where you will head straight to from now on. And it’s a shame because there is so much in the lagoon to linger for, but the drop-off draws you out with a constant promise of the real excitement.


The drop-off

You can’t repeat the first time you go over the drop-off – it’s a case of diminishing returns of excitement – but the first time is a thrill bordering on the frightening. It’s as if you throw yourself off a high building at night but continue to fly as the ground drops vertically away. The brightness of the sun bouncing around the lagoon is absorbed immediately by the blue depths and you are at once reminded of and grateful for the mass of the water holding you up.

Out over the reef edge you’re looking through your mask at another world. It is thriving and complete but entirely out of sight from above the surface. From now on it will never be quite out of mind. Below are not just ones and twos or small groups but huge schools of fish now streaming along in loose ranks, now suddenly, in response to some unseen danger, in tight formation turning and twisting en masse. Rainbow runners, blue-striped snappers and silver sprats flashing and shimmering in unison.

You begin to pick out different corals as you peer down at the reef wall: big boulders here, staghorn and branching corals over there, with some waving, soft corals and a big fan coral in between. Little red-toothed triggerfish are climbing all over it and you’d love to take a closer look but don’t know how. Another day you’ll learn to ‘equalise’ and skin divedive down.

Something catches your attention out of the corner of your eye from the open water. It is big and moody and your heart leaps. There it is again. My God, it’s a shark. A surge of adrenalin is around your body in an instant. Fight or flight? No question, you decide now is definitely the time to go back.

When you reach the beach again, you have calmed down. You see your partner lying back, reading a book on the sun lounger. You start to talk but there is no need. Your grin from ear to ear says it all.

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About the Author

Adrian Neville - Seven Holidays : Your Guide to the MaldivesAdrian Neville lived in the Maldives and writes the definitive guide book: "Resorts of Maldives", now in its fifth edition. Having tirelessly reviewed every single resort, he is now continually asked ‘which is the best Maldives Hotel for my holidayholiday or vacationvacation?’ Enter – his comprehensive independent guide to Maldives holidaysholidays and how to book your perfect holiday. We cover everything from the cheap island resorts through to the luxury five star Maldives resortshow to book your perfect holiday. We cover everything from the cheap island resorts through to the luxury five star Maldives resorts