was going on this trip. I saw pictures of the beaches with the white sand and
the green water and I couldn't wait to go swimming! What Google Images didn't tell me was that the Maldives islands are Muslim, therefore you are forbidden to lay on the beach in your bathing suit and if you would like to go swimming you have to do it with all your clothes on. I was only slightly annoyed when we got there and the island of Male, where we were tendering to, was not very pleasant. It all seemed like it was a big disappointment until we realized that if you take a ferry to one of the other nearby islands, you could swim and lay out all you wanted. So we took a 45 minute ride over to an island that I can't remember the name of and it was absolutely amazing. It was just what Google Images promised me. The palm trees, the green water, people lying around drinking out of coconuts. It was unbelievable. I spent three hours swimming and snorkeling. The water was like bath water, only a little warmer than Hampton Beach, NH. I swam over the reefs and saw tons of fish all different colors. I even saw a manta ray. I think the last time I went snorkeling I was probably 10 so it took some getting used to. It’s completely counterintuitive to breathe through your mouth while your head is under water. I choked a couple of times before I got into the groove. I was gently floating on the surface of the water looking at all the underwater creatures when all of a sudden the water got really cold. I looked ahead of me and noticed that the sea floor completely dropped away and I could no longer see the bottom. It was like the Grand Canyon of the ocean and I had just swam out over it. Turns out you can be scared of heights in the water too because this is when I started flailing and hyperventilating. Penelope, the girl I was with, had to calm me down and tell me to float on my back for a few minutes while I caught my breath. She held me up while my heartbeat slowed down and then we calmly swam back to shore. I guess it all takes some getting used to but I’m still glad I did it. We had a nice, relaxing ferry ride back and it wasn’t until later that evening that I realized my skin was on fire. Probably one of the worst sunburns of my life. It was everywhere. I looked like I was wearing a big red body suit. Even as I sit here typing I can feel the heat radiating from my arms and butt. The problem was that I spent the entire day in the water where it was nice and cool and never noticed my skin getting hot. I don’t have this problem at home because the water is too cold to go in so you can always feel your skin baking in the sun. Lesson learned. Now I have 2 days at sea to stay inside and cool off before we get to the Seychelles and hit the beaches again. Happy Holidays!