After finishing my live aboard earlier this week, I was looking forward to some time off to relax & spend a bit of time at home with the husband. After a couple of relaxing days at home, air-con on, watching TV, I started getting itchy feet. Maybe a bit of play diving is in order (number one on the list of perks of this job, we can dive for free on a day off!)

The bounty of long relaxing days off, which are not to be sniffed at, are not however entirely unexpected. It would appear that during my week on the high seas, the travel restrictions placed upon certain countries has started to take its toll in resort.

However, albeit in reduced numbers, divers are still around, hardy souls that we are. It was exactly the same after the revolution, the non diving tourism dropped dramatically and beaches were deserted. Pop your head into the dive centre however, and there are people.  People who look happy to be outside the confines of their hotel, soaking up the relaxed but vibrant atmosphere that dive centres emit. In our courtyard, those same divers are having a cheeky inward giggle at their fortune. Not only are they diving with the Best Dive Centre in the World 2011 (that should be enough on its own!), but the diving is some of the best for years.

The fewer boat numbers has meant that it is quite normal to be the only dive group on a dive site, with one of my colleagues even reporting being the only people on Shark Reef (that did take a genius bit of timing and a sprinkle of good luck!). And the sightings this season just keep on coming. It’s unlike any other year I can remember. The mantas obviously like the quiet as they have normally left us by April. But nope, at the moment they are still seen every other day. Whale shark sightings are up on the last few years and turtles are positively abundant.  Last week on VIP One we were stalked by Stonefish, normally a rare find, and the Crocodile fish, normally a photographers muse, were treated like a common anthea by day four.

With this much stuff to see, and being given the chance to enjoy some ‘me time’, whether that’s chilling at home, stretching out by the pool or play diving on the boats, it may be difficult to persuade me to come back to work! Well, maybe just part time then?

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