For people who have no prior experience of underwater diving or even swimming, walking on the seabed might sound scary. However, on the coasts of Grand-Baie in Mauritius, everyone can experience this ‘other world’.
Upon crossing the threshold and entering Grand-Baie in north Mauritius, we were soon on a motorboat, moving a little away from the coast, where the water is nor too deep neither too shallow.
The cool wind and kilometres of water meeting the sky at the horizon is a sight to behold. But at the same time, it is spine chilling to know that you will be submerged underwater in the moments to come.
After receiving a pre-departure briefing on the gears, local marine life, safety procedures and on the underwater walking trail, it is difficult to tell if it was anxiety or excitement that gave rise to the adrenaline rush.
Underwater sea walking is one of the most unique attractions in Mauritius, especially for non-swimmers and people with no prior experience of diving, as the activity does not require any knowledge of these sports.
As we proceed to go down the ladder to get into the sea, our guides hold a heavy oxygen mask over us and slide it on our heads just when we are about to fully submerge into the water, so that we don’t feel the weight of it under the sea.
It takes a couple of seconds to realise that we can actually keep our eyes open and breathe normally like we do on land. By this time, the heaviness of the mask already pushes you down towards the bottom and soon you are standing on the seabed!
While walking on the seabed, there is a weird yet good feeling of lightheadedness and being distanced from the world. You cannot actually hear anything because of the surrounding vacuum inside the oxygen mask. Coupled with weightlessness the experience is akin to walking on the moon.
As we take a walk amidst corals inside the crystal clear water, a shoal of neon-coloured fishes swim away from us. Our guides then lure them towards us with some fish food – it feels so good to see the marine life in their natural environment.
As our instructor signals us to go up the ladder to get back to ‘our’ world, we don’t want to leave this magical world behind.