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We can finally travel again! We would like to know about your travels and adventures not only in Malaysia but also abroad. If you don’t feel like traveling yet, that’s okay, because you can always tell us about your past vacation instead. Your story – experiences, tips, advice – should be between 700 and 800 words in Word or Text format. Please attach some photos (1MB, captioned) in a separate email. There is no payment for submissions, and we reserve the right to edit all submissions. Email star2travel@thestar.com.my with subject “Readers Share”

Three years ago, my wife suggested that I go on vacation to the Maldives and I accepted the idea without enthusiasm. I didn’t think we had much to do in the Maldives back then. Luckily my wife diligently did all the research on the island and was able to put together a wonderful itinerary for us.

We flew to the Maldives after a short visit to Mumbai in India. As the flight descended, the view of the ocean and the islands brought me immense joy.

We landed at Male airport, which was small and quiet, but there were plenty of helpful ground staff. Our hotel was on the island of Maafushi, 45 minutes from Male by speedboat. The weather was fine, the sea was not rough and the trip was pleasant.

The island was small – about 1 km² – and there weren’t many vehicles around. The place was also very clean and the hotel employees were happy to help us whenever we asked. The hotel organizes activities such as snorkeling and diving at an additional cost. But the price was about the same everywhere on the island, so we didn’t have to worry about getting ripped off or cheated.

Our first snorkel was in a shallow area in the middle of the sea. There were lots of colorful fish of different shapes and sizes swimming around. It really was a great place to dive.

After that, the boat took us to another area that was also shallow, but here we could see turtles and even swordfish. The corals were a little pale though, possibly due to environmental changes.

We were then taken to a sandbar for lunch. It was quite a surreal experience: we were in the middle of the sea, sitting on a sandbar, enjoying the food, the cool breeze and the wonderful view.

Eagle rays (left) and mantis shrimp are just a few of the things the writer saw while on vacation.

On our third day in the Maldives, I went diving. I was the only hotel guest to go there that day and had the best time of my life. I went down 30m underwater with strong undercurrents and had to cling to hard corals to avoid drifting.

Luckily the visibility was great as I saw so many huge sharks swimming around – amazing!

Later, as my guide and I were drifting with the current, we came across a school of eagle rays.

Our second dive spot was where you could sometimes see manta rays but when the guide checked he didn’t detect any that day. So we went to another place hoping to find baby sharks. But while we were drifting we saw a turtle resting on a coral reef and when it started swimming we swam with it.

Unfortunately it wasn’t for long as my 45 minute session was ending and it was time to go up.

Because I was so happy with the experience, I arranged a night dive the same day. We started our session at 7:30 p.m. in an area with a coral reef and a wreck. Visibility was good but the current was a bit weak.

We managed to see lots of bright creatures, corals and plankton as well as mantis shrimp, eels and crabs. It was truly a feast for the eyes. On the last day I went for another dive. We went to another manta ray spot, this time to a place where small yellow fish “clean” the bodies of manta rays. Luckily for me, a large manta ray passed in front of us. Its movement was so graceful that it only glided, not swim.

We spent another 30 minutes finding more manta rays but couldn’t spot any more. However when we came up we saw a few and even a school of yellow fish from our boat. I was so happy!

On our second dive we saw more colorful fish, unicorn fish, octopus and other amazing creatures.

At the end of the day I was so happy with my snorkeling trips and all the other things we did on the island. I have so many beautiful memories of the Maldives which hopefully will last a lifetime.

The opinions expressed are entirely those of the reader.