Travel Uncertainties During Covid Times, And Diving In The Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives


Travel Uncertainties During Covid Times, And Diving In The Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives

One night, tired from a day of diving, I was lying in bed half asleep watching the news.
I saw a report that the country of Turkey was going into a full lockdown, including closing its airports.

Half asleep, a thought crossed my mind that we might be affected by this lockdown, because our flight home from the Maldives was scheduled to connect in Istanbul and then again in Germany.
But my tiredness took over and I drifted off to sleep without discussing it with Jules.

The next morning, we woke up early as we did every morning here in the Maldives.
We enjoyed watching the sunrise from our over the water deck, while drinking our morning tea.
I packed my diving gear before walking over to have an early morning breakfast.

I only needed to pack my camera, dive computer and diving light, because I leave all my diving gear at the dive shop.
Having breakfast early allowed me to digest the food a little before diving.

Just as we finished our breakfast, I got an email from our airline, asking us to call them urgently.
The email had no more details, which was not a good sign.

In the past three months, our airline has changed our flight schedule and connections five times.
Each time they sent us an email with the new schedule, asking us to contact them only if we were not happy with the new schedule.
But this email had no new flight information or changes, which did not bode well.

I tried to call the airline, but was put on a long waiting line with an estimated fifty minute wait.
I had no time before my dive boat was leaving, so I left Jules to take care of it.

Jules spent the whole morning on the phone with our airline.
Like I suspected, Turkish Airlines had canceled our flight with no possibility of making a new booking.

No matter how much Jules tried, there was no way to return home with our airline or any of its Star Alliance partners.
Eventually, the only solution was to accept a refund for our return tickets, leaving us in the Maldives without a flight back home.

Jules searched online and found a new set of flights connecting in Doha, Qatar, which had available seats on the same day as our canceled flight.

By that time, I had already returned from my diving trip.
Jules made the new booking and had to accept that this was part of the comedy of mishaps that one has to endure when traveling during a global pandemic.

But we are SO grateful to be here, and no matter how much we have to jiggle and adapt, we are delighted that we have had the opportunity to come here.

Somewhere I saw an advertisement for diving, saying that without exploring the underwater world, one cannot really understand and appreciate our planet.
I have to agree….

Diving in the Lhaviyani atoll is different from the south.
I saw a lot of beautiful spotted eels, which are called “honeycomb eels.”
I also saw big lobsters, an array of shrimp and very different coral than the coral in the southern part of the Maldives.
I am looking forwards to diving in the different Atolls of the Maldives in the future, realizing that each area will have its own unique marine life.

With love and light,
Tali

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