Forty Maldivian women scuba divers assembled and descended into the blue on Saturday, to celebrate the fifth iteration of the annual PADI Women’s Dive Day.
This is the fourth recorded time Maldives have participated in the special dive organized by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), an event that aims to connect female dive communities from around the globe and their shared passion for the ocean.
Similar to the previous year, several members of ‘Moodhu Goyye’, an unofficial community of local women who share a love for the sea and water sports led by female industry professionals, participated in the dive.
The Moodhu Goyye event kicked off around 0700 hours on Saturday morning and ended late in the afternoon, one being at the picturesque reef of Miyaru Faru while the other took place at Kuda Giri Wreck in South Male' Atoll.
Maldives hosted many such dive events this year, including at Vaavu Atoll, Rasdhoo Atoll (Alif Alif Atoll), in addition to the two held in Kaafu Atoll.
Shaziya also highlighted that the divers took care not to produce any waste or take single-use plastics on the trip.
“Our lunch between the dives was prepared by the Maafushi (Kaafu Atoll) women’s community. We took our own utensils and plates, in order to minimize waste as well as to ease the workload of the kind women who cooked for us".
Acknowledging the co-sponsors of the dive, Sea Gear, Maskula, Island Bazaar and Maverick Water Sports, as well as the several dive centres that provided the diving gear and boats for the event, Shaziya expressed hopes for an even more colourful Women’s Dive Day in 2020.
“We are planning to make a women’s world record dive next year”, she stated, urging more women to experience scuba diving and join the event.
“And we’re hoping more girls of different ages will join”.
Noting that the number of participants had dropped from 50 in 2018 to 40 this year, PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem revealed that they originally hoped to break the record for the highest number of women diving at the same time, at Saturday’s dive.
Although they were unable to meet the numbers due to current weather conditions, Zoona and Shaziya have high hopes for the following year’s event.
"We are hoping more mothers are convinced that the ocean is a safe place and diving is a career that females can choose from,” added Zoona.
Launched in 2015, the PADI Women's Dive Day features a range of events from beginner to advanced dives as well as underwater cleanups. According to PADI, the global event continues to grow annually, with record-breaking participation last year as 104 countries hosted over 1,000 events on Women's Dive Day 2018.