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What lies beneath

Nowhere on earth is better for marine life than the Maldives, where whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles dominate the underwater kingdom. Leanne Bracey discovers there’s a whole new world waiting for her in the big blue

’Go go go!’ shout the diving guides from the top of the boat. I rush to pull on my snorkel and flippers and, without hesitation, I jump into the water below. Suspended there is a six-metre-long whale shark. Slowly, it heads down to the cool confines of the seabed, its individual white-spot markings fading away, safe from the prying eyes of snorkellers and divers, who come in our droves to see these gentle giants of the Indian Ocean.

Taking a snapshot for my memory bank, our encounter lasts a minute, if that, but it’s enough to humble. I never thought I’d go any further than a casual dip in the lagoon – now, I want to immerse my entire being and delve into the deep blue sea. It’s my first time in the Maldives, a South Asian country made up of more than 1,200 islands, located in the Indian Ocean, south-west of Sri Lanka and India.

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