The Risk Of Island Hopping During Covid Times In The Maldives


The Risk Of Island Hopping During Covid Times In The Maldives

When we booked our diving trip to the Maldives, we decided to stay for a month, splitting our stay between four different island resorts.

Since this was to be our first time in the Maldives, we wanted to experience as many resorts and different diving destinations as we could.

We knew that there were risks involved with doing island hopping during a pandemic, instead of staying at one resort for the whole month.

The first rule required us to do a Covid PCR test before taking the seaplane from resort to resort.
We could minimize this, by choosing to stay in resorts belonging to the same ownership group.

In this case, all that would be required is a short visit to the resort clinic to “assess” our health condition.
The risk that we took was that if any of the guests in our resort, or if any of the resort’s employees tested positive for Covid, we would not be able to go on to the next island.

At the time, we did not give it much thought, and coming from our first resort, we had a PCR test which took only minutes before we were cleared to continue on to this, our second resort.

But when the time came to go on to the third island, we were told that we could not leave this island.
A person at our resort has tested positive for Covid, and we are not allowed to continue on with our plans.

At first I felt disappointed, when the front desk told us that we had to stay for another week, and even possibly for two more weeks, if the test results do not come back negative from the isolated person.

But as we tried to reason with ourselves, we realized that it is not really a big deal.
All the resorts we booked cost about the same.
The diving at this Vilamendhoo island, is wonderful.
In fact, it might even be better than the diving at all of our other resort choices.

The food is good, the room is very comfortable and clean, the massages are great and there are lots of places to sit and relax, read and lounge after diving and snorkeling.

We will not be charged for the last minute cancellation at our third island, because it was not our choice to cancel.
We wanted to go, but we have not been allowed to go yet.

I continue to dive twice per day, leaving on the 8:00 A.M. boat every morning.
Sometimes I dive with only two or three people, and sometimes with a bigger group.

I love the smaller groups, because the currents are very strong in this area of the South Ari Atoll, and people often cannot easily control their position and buoyancy. I have to watch everyone to avoid getting kicked in the head by their fins, or having other divers drift into me.

But I do enjoy each day of diving very much.
Even though this is a fairly large resort which is also pretty booked up right now, we do not really feel overcrowded.
There is never a line to the buffet at the restaurant in the adults only section of the resort, and it is always quiet and peaceful.

So much of our stress is generated by our own minds.
We do not like it when things do not go according to our plans.
We get nervous when our minds judge any situation to be a disadvantage.
But this is a reminder to me that we are all connected and affected by one another, directly or indirectly.
No matter how much I wish to isolate myself from the mass consciousness, if one brother tests positive for Covid, I cannot go on with my travel plans.

When I checked the local news in Colorado, I saw many road accidents caused by the melting snows and reckless driving, and I feel grateful to be here, where there are no roads, no traffic signs and not even one car.

The experience reminded us of our Saigoku walking pilgrimage in Japan last year.
Nothing went according to plan, and almost every day we got hotel cancellations that required us to rebook or change our walking route.
But we felt grateful to be able to be walking in Japan, when the rest of the world was going into lockdown.

On the dive boats, I often chat with the other divers about the Covid situation in their countries.
In Poland, I was told, they have a partial lockdown and only essential businesses like food and food markets, are allowed to be open.
All other shops are closed.

In Germany, many of the divers expressed their frustrations with how poorly the European Union is doing with vaccinations.
They say that it is ridiculous that they advertise on TV the importance of being vaccinated, when they do not even have enough vaccines to offer to those who are willing to get “the jab.”
Germany, they told me, has been under a lockdown since November of last year (it is now late April), with slight variations between a “total lockdown” and a more “relaxed lockdown.”
Upon their return home, they will be required to show a negative PCR test and they will have to self-quarantine at home.

One of the dive masters from Spain told me that he was sent home when the resort closed last year.
He walked the Camino de Santiago during a Covid lockdown, where he saw almost no other people, except for a few Europeans.

A Japanese dive master told me that she flew on the last rescue flight to Japan when the Maldives closed, and lived with her parents until the resort reopened six months later.

Other dive guides told me that when they get their one month per year of vacation, they do not plan to go home to visit their families.
Going home means that they will have to quarantine for two weeks in a special facility, and that will leave only two weeks of vacation time.

Trying to live your life during Covid times has proven challenging for most people.
Many lost their jobs, their businesses or had to take cuts due to lack of business.
The world seem to have pressed the “pause” button indefinitely, and we are all eagerly awaiting the time when the reel will start playing again….

With light filled blessings,
Tali

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