Under the surface...
The sky’s the limit when it comes to new travel experiences – or so it was until recently. Now, travellers hungry for new experiences are turning their gaze into the depths of the ocean to gain ever more diversity from their holidays.
Thanks to technological advances and our increasing interest in underwater life, practicalities no longer stop us from enjoying the watery world that awaits us, even without donning a wetsuit.
For a few ideas of what’s on offer, the Flexicover team team has dived deep to find some of the globe’s top oceanic experiences.
A massage in the Maldives
The Indian Ocean is home to many a paradise island, yet perhaps none is more deserving of that title than Huvafen Fushi, or ‘Dream Island’, as it’s known in the local language. Not only is the island a treasure trove of natural beauty, it is also home to the world’s first underwater spa. Set 100 metres out to sea, the Per Aquum Lime Spa has two treatment rooms built eight metres below the water’s surface, each illuminated by filtered light streaming through a bank of windows. Choose a hot stone massage or bespoke facial, to be enjoyed while gazing at the stingrays, clownfish and pacific blue tangs meandering past (or Nemos and Dorys as they are now commonly known).
Underwater dining in Dubai
Dubai is synonymous with opulence and luxury, but luxury perhaps doesn’t get more creative than at restaurant Al Mahara. Situated in the ‘seven star’ Burj al Arab hotel, it is accessed by a simulated submarine voyage leading diners to tables situated around a huge floor-to-ceiling aquarium. Although the menu is arguably a secondary pull-factor, it’s no less decadent. If you have no qualms about eating fish while surrounded by them and can stomach the prices (reportedly $600 USD for a meal for two), this is an unmissable experience for seafoodies.
A sculpture park in Lanzarote
If you dive off the coast of Lanzarote, on approaching the seabed, you might just stumble across a motionless crowd of human figures. This is Museo Atlantico, an underwater exhibition cast and posed entirely from life, placed there by British artist Jason deCiares Taylor. A poignant comment on the refugee crisis and its disconnection with the ‘Instagram Generation’, this eerie creation is well worth discovering. The sculpture park will be added to over time making return visits in the future certainly worthwhile.
Barracuda Point off Malaysia
For a lighter underwater experience nothing beats marvelling at the creations of Mother Nature. Adult barracuda are known for their fearsome appearance and furious behaviour. However their meeker offspring swim together in large schools for protection against predators. It’s these schools that create the swirling, shimmering underwater colonies of silvery fish that seemingly move as one. Mesmerising to watch, diving with them makes for an awe-inspiring experience. The best place for it is on Sipadan Island off the Malaysian coast. Here, thousands of barracuda can be seen in tornado like formation along with turtles, whitetip sharks, batfish and more.
Shipwreck diving in Australia
There’s something undeniably spooky about wreck diving be it witnessing the stillness and solitude of a once life-infused ship or thinking of the lives lost on board. Having said that, it doesn’t take long for these metallic giants to morph into teeming hubs of marine life. One of the best places to see nature’s watery repossession is on the wreck of SS Yongala in Australia. This ship went down during an unexpected cyclone in 1911 taking 122 lives with it. One point to note is sea currents and the depth of 28m make it an advanced dive and it is best to check with your insurer beforehand because you may require specialist wreck diving cover. However, this is regularly voted one of the best wreck dives in the world.
If you’re keen to see under the ocean waves and experience the beauty and serenity that comes with scuba diving Flexicover policies cover this activity up to a depth of 30 metres (if PADI or equivalent qualified, or accompanied by a qualified instructor and not diving alone) automatically for free!
So wherever you’re planning to head this year it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.