UN­DER THE SEA

It is a whole new world out there. Filled with ex­cite­ment, mys­tery, and a pleas­ant sense of un­ex­plain­able tran­quil­lity, the deep blue seas of Oman have a lot to of­fer to those look­ing for some­thing, any­thing in them.

HI Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - STORY SHRUTHI NAIR

Look­ing to cool off this sum­mer? The Day­maniyat Is­lands off the coast of Oman might just be your per­fect get­away.

Iwas on the beau­ti­ful Day­maniyat Is­lands last month, on a bright, sunny Fri­day morn­ing. Hav­ing reached there in less than two hours by boat from Al Mouj Ma­rina, I was sur­prised by how much time we had to spend at the is­land and was also a lit­tle wary about what my two bud­dies and I would do there for so long. We had our shares of oohs and ahhs on our way to the is­land, amused by the clean and clear ocean. In some spots we could see the crys­tal clear wa­ter and the fish swim­ming be­low and, in other ar­eas, it was an eerie dark­ness that gave me goose­bumps.

Since nei­ther of us knew swim­ming, we pre­ferred to re­main closer to the shore, though we all had the burn­ing de­sire to ven­ture into the gor­geous ocean and see what lay within. That is when, as though he read our minds, the friendly guides who were with us on the boat threw a few snorkels to­wards us be­fore jump­ing in, all suited for their sea ad­ven­tures. When I told them that we couldn’t swim, he said we didn’t re­ally need to know swim­ming to go snorkelling. Over­joyed, we pulled the gog­gles over our heads, fit the mouth­pieces prop­erly as in­structed by the men and then at­tempted to look un­der­wa­ter. Mind blown and breath­taken (fig­u­ra­tively), I kept go­ing deeper and deeper and found that the high con­cen­tra­tion of salt in the ocean man­aged to keep me afloat. But as I be­gan to go deeper, I felt like I needed some help just to feel con­fi­dent, Ay­oub, an ex­pert scuba diver, came to help me and with him by my side, I went com­pletely un­der­wa­ter. There were a range of feel­ings that kept over­whelm­ing my senses in reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, from the ex­cite­ment and adren­a­line rush whilst swim­ming with the fish in the clear blue-green wa­ter, to the ut­ter amaze­ment at the gor­geous aquatic life I got to see down there, and fi­nally, the state of peace I’ve been long­ing for since for­ever.

The un­der­wa­ter world is a mag­i­cal new di­men­sion. The fauna are dif­fer­ent – the bright coloured, bold pat­terned fishes, the flora is dif­fer­ent – huge coral reefs, plank­tons, and aquatic plants float­ing serenely, but most im­por­tantly, it is what you feel when you are in there that is dif­fer­ent. It is calm and quiet, not in an eerie way but in a more tran­quil man­ner. It feels like med­i­ta­tion in a bet­ter world. While you spend hours ad­mir­ing the beauty of the un­seen world around, you might even catch your­self lost in thought. But don’t be too lost like I was. I started get­ting a lit­tle tired, after what seemed like a few hours un­der wa­ter for me. Ay­oub took me to a nearby rock and I put my head out of wa­ter, tak­ing a while to come back to re­al­ity. I saw my friends perched on the same rock and their eyes and the look on their faces told me that they were feel­ing ex­actly the way I was. We stayed there qui­etly with­out speak­ing not want­ing to break the pleas­ant si­lence but agree­ing tele­path­i­cally that this was one of the best ac­tiv­i­ties that we tried in a long while.

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