So there was this excursion organised by our resort that we signed up and paid good money for to see for ourselves what creatures lurk in the Indian Ocean.
We set out bright and early and crossed lagoons and channels to first see manta rays in the wild – some of them can be as wide as 4m across. But the boat ran into some engine problems and after some fixing, we sailed again just prior to noon to catch whale sharks. We saw one about 5m long up real close!
I came face to face with it after I clumsily slid off the speedboat into the ocean and landed in its path. I was surprised but so was the whale shark. Keke! I darted away as quick as whatever wits I had left would allow me to. It looked friendly and I didn’t feel too frightened but I sure did not want to collide with it. It swam away pretty quickly and went deeper into the ocean where no annoying snorkellers could follow. I was the 7th one off the boat, so I guess it would have noticed the 6 persons dropping into its field of view from the surface and probably be rolling its eyes at us if it could. Tourists! Tsk, tsk!
There was a spot in the ocean we also unceremoniously tumbled into to see graceful turtles swim. The tides were strong there, and there was a bit of difficulty in ensuring that the snorkel pipe is clear of saltwater so you can breathe! For all that effort, I saw two turtles. There were dolphins that leapt out of the waters in the distance, and dolphins that swam with our boat. It was fun to see that interaction. Unfortunately, our group didn’t get to see any manta rays cos they were just not around. Otherwise, it would have been awesome. Next time, maybe.
[First published: 14 Dec 2013]