Into the blue

Hawksbill Sea Turtle copyright Thomas Udhayasingh
Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Seychelles 2017

Special occasions call for exotic destinations and the Indian ocean never fails you…

Maldives

Heading to the tropical paradise where the turquoise waters of the Maldivian lagoon offer a welcome retreat from the chilly winters of the Swiss alps, we start our snorkelling adventure. Known for its unique geography and topography, the Maldivian archipelago comprises of twenty-six natural atolls where crystal clear waters are home to a spectacular and vibrant marine life and the locals and fish swim with equal ease.

The irresistible hues of blues beckon us to plunge in and we set off with a personal guide wading through the lagoon and slowly swimming into the reefs as we are magically  transported into this serene underwater paradise and enjoy the most exhilarating experience, a first of many to come. Teaming with life and a world not seen by many, the oceans are adorned with a variety of fish effortlessly gliding in their tranquil abode. Snorkelling in the tropical blues we celebrate life once again, a feeling so sublime that we lose all sense of time and as we proceed further and beyond until we reach the point where the lagoon meets the ocean, the dreadful drop off where the depths of the oceans are unknown and the ocean bed not visible. A moment of realisation and reassured after a quick glance at the guide we learn to relax to witness the most breathtaking living planet.

At times the currents are strong and swimming against the currents can be a challenge and at such times we were glad to have the guide with us. We also learnt that high tides were the best times to snorkel as fish come in large numbers along with the tide.

The warm waters of the tropics are home not just to the most delightful fish but also a variety of colourful corals without which sea life is not possible. The corals provide a foundation under which the entire reef survives and act as a fortress for small fish. The soaring temperatures in recent years and the El Nino effect has caused the bleaching of corals, a form of stress response that has affected 85 percentage of the world’s corals.

With some more practise we dare to hire a boat and crew and sail further away from the safe lagoons and into the deep. A true Piscean jumping from the boat right into the Indian ocean, surrounded by water, no land in sight, no ships, no boats…just miles and miles of cascading waves and a faint horizon at a distance, the vastness of the mighty oceans reminding us how very tiny we are. Head under the water and snorkelling, we are once again welcomed by a variety of fish, octopus, starfish and ecstatic to spot the little ‘Nemos’ (clown fish) and ‘Dorys’ (blue tang fish) and even experience our first jelly fish stings.

Somethings in life cannot be rated and this was one such experience. Many thanks to the Dive centre, Como Hotels & Resorts at Cocoa and Maalifushi, Maldives and the very friendly snorkelling guides Zippe, Ibrahim, Abbas and marine biologist Lisa for the experience of a lifetime.

Sunny Seychelles

Recharged and rejuvenated by the experience, the irresistible blues beckoned us back and we returned to the Indian Ocean once again, this time visiting sunny Seychelles. Belonging to the African nations, Seychelles has some of the world’s most pristine beaches, spectacular flora and a diverse fauna. A landscape contrastingly unique with its tall trees, granite rocks, sandy white beaches and aqua blues.

Once under the water the fish lure you to swim further and beyond and this time swimming with turtles and a family of eagle rays was magical beyond words. The rays gracefully gliding close to the sea beds jet off at the slightest of movements whereas the hawksbill sea turtle are small, curious and equally graceful. The fish here are much bigger in size and we are glad to spot some corals not affected by the rising temperatures and what a difference they make to the backdrop. Besides the usual and more common fish we are lucky to spot a tiger fish with its zebra striped fins, a slight to behold. The octopus is very shy and looks best when swimming but retreats into safety at the slightest threat coiling into an unsightly brown mass. The strong jawed parrot fish constantly pecking into the corals with their beaks produce huge amounts of soft sands that we see in the worlds beaches. A yellow trumpet fish, moorish idols with their aesthetic yellow and black stripes, butterfly fish, a puffer fish, a harmonious colour palette painting the perfect picture of peace.

Totally in awe of the experience we realise with each journey that life is not about the wealth we amass but real joy is in the adventures we take and the memories we make.

Huge thanks to the staff at the Boat house, Constance Hotels & Resorts, Seychelles.

Au revoir until next time…

 

Copy right & Photo Courtesy ~ Thomas Udhayasingh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All smiles at the Expat-Expo, Zurich

 

different strokkes at the Expat Expo
different strokkes at the Expat Expo

 

           Stand 45, Stadthall Dietikon, Zurich, 3rd September 2017

Many thanks to all our supporters and everyone who took time to visit us on a Sunday afternoon and be part of our creative journey. Jan Landolt was the lucky winner of the prize draw and won a ready to hang artwork worth 150 CHF from our collection. We were the most artistic and colourful stand at the Expat-Expo, and attracted more crowd despite being bang next to stalwarts, Zurich International School.

Digital artist and our energetic partner Sophia, was there to demonstrate and answer queries about the digital process to very enthusiastic visitors. To know more about Sophia and her work visit her website  http://sssingh575.wixsite.com/my-art

ART EXHIBITION

Mother & Daughter art exhibition

Our first and a very successful event recently concluded at the Altstadthalle, Unter Altsadt 14, 6300 Zug in Switzerland.

The guest book says it all!  Besides the lovely compliments and encouraging comments from family and friends we had many visitors, total strangers who were taken aback by the quality of artwork, the realism, the vibrant colours, and the different genres of art ie; modern and digital art versus, the old school oil and acrylic paintings on canvas;  a contrast from ‘Wonder woman’ and ‘Super girl’to the very classical ‘Audrey Hepburn’ and ‘Charlie Chaplin’.  Not only was the medium of art different but it also catered to two generations in style and subject thus creating the perfect ‘Different Strokkes’ story.

The Magic of Maldives

An Island Paradise

Just another morning in paradise, the beginning of another glorious day greeted by a school of dolphins swimming across and playfully breaching, right in front of our water villa in the island paradise. A seemingly never ending show and what a treat it was watching dolphins in the wild welcoming an incredible day and a great photographic opportunity. Later in the day we learnt from the island officials that the pod consisted of over five hundred dolphins!

Ecstatic after witnessing the delightful show we sauntered our way to breakfast soaking into the beauty of the peaceful island when one of the staff pointed to an unusual creature in the shallow waters, peeking below we see a baby octopus, tentacles and all, a shapeless little creature that changed colours from a dark green-brown to a lovely orange-brown while moving.

The radiant afternoon sunshine beckoned to explore the island further and walking past a few villas we noticed something moving in the water, checking we saw a baby sting ray gliding gracefully on the white sandy surface. The crystal clear waters is home to many baby animals, a variety of coloured fish and baby sharks (about three feet long) that treat the turquoise lagoon as their nursery, safe from the predators of the ocean.

Later in the evening watching the sunset while wading through the water, a shell shaped object draws our attention. On closer inspection, we find a half buried empty clamp shell, about 10 to 12 inches with both sides of the shell still intact and linked together. Although a lot of similar clamp shells can be seen in souvenir shops this was so special, almost like finding a pearl in an oyster.

Heading for dinner and barely out of the villa, a quick movement under the water catches our eye; it is after sunset hence dark and although the lights under the wooden paths illuminate the lagoon waters below, we cannot see very well. At first we think it is a ray but then we realise the sprinting movement is a turtle, alas a bit too fast to be pictured.

Could the day get any better? Dolphins, octopus, ray, baby sharks, a clamp shell and a turtle!!!

Over joyed and overwhelmed we make our way to the restaurant, I am a bit surprised as we are ushered towards the beach, to a candlelit tent with champagne, cake and all! Speechless and totally taken aback, my husband confesses that he along with the island staff had planned the surprise. Thankful to my spouse and the exotic paradise for a very special day, we enjoy an exquisite Michelin star cuisine in the most breath-taking settings under the stars with the ambience of a moonlit night and the sound of waves (no this is not a Mills & Boon rip-off and honestly, who reads them anymore?).

I cannot but stop to marvel at the happenings of the day, a million dollars in the world could not recreate the special experience. It felt as though the whole universe had conspired together in presenting us with the perfect day, a celebration of life, the magic of Maldives.

Please see click on link to see pictures of all sightings mentioned, except the turtle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TV-tvKpypc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHEeDFKOBMc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvBJ-LGOgIA

Photo Credit: Thomas Udhayasingh

The Sound of Silence

enjoy_the_silence

So I am waiting at the repairs to pick up my phone and thinking to myself, now do I really need my phone? I survived two weeks sans the gadget, in fact I managed pretty well or rather better without my smart phone; I achieved more than I would on a normal day. I painted and sewed and packed and cleaned, and even experienced some guilt free mornings window-shopping without having the constant urge to check my phone for messages or missed calls. So why was I glad to get it back, or was I ??

Recent ups and downs, more downs than ups had seen me take my phone to bed and check my Whatsapp for messages at 3.00 am. And I couldn’t have been more thankful for Facetime and Skype on my phone for I have not missed out on any close contact with my family, some very unforgettable and personal moments. But since I am not looking for any such similar updates, perhaps the need for the smart phone is not as much.

I seemed to be enjoying this newfound freedom, freedom from reaching for my phone for the nth time and checking the weather or listening to music, freedom from the compulsion of checking for Facebook or Whatsapp updates. Did I miss much, no not really, and honestly I can live without Trump’s tweets or the unimpressive Brexit drama.

Constant distractions of modern day life come with the cacophony and mindless chatter of social media and instant messaging that one easily gets lost and consumed by the noise and humdrum making it rather difficult to concentrate or stay on the job.

May be not on the same lines as the famous lyrics of the popular ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ song, nevertheless silence does help one get their perspective back. So if you are looking to remain on track and complete the job or focus on the necessary or finish that assignment then lose your tablets, your smart phones and your headsets and experience the powerful ‘sound of silence’.

Time to get ‘frocked’

 

It's 'Strictly' time again
The ‘Strictly’ experience

 

Just a few hours to go as curtains go up to the much awaited Grand Finale of the BBC One reality show, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ a ballroom dancing extravaganza! The culmination to a beautiful season of an incredibly interesting journey that started with fifteen couples in September in its run up to Christmas must now come to an end.

Thirteen weeks of absolute entertainment, spectacular dancing, relentless rumbas, lively jives, fierce tangos, quick steps and more continue to remain the family’s favourite, a Saturday staple and Britain’s most popular live show.

The professionals we love, their choreography, kicks, flicks, twirls and swirls we love even more, and the celebrities who enter the competition as novices become larger than life characters as the weeks progress and go on to match the professionals in their dances.

Behind all the glamour and glitter, the razzle dazzle and the razzmatazz,  lies many long hours of intense training, plenty of practice, lots of hard work, sweat and tears too. The celebrities and professionals immerse together in partnership to create an epic experience of a lifetime.

Presented by Tess Daly with a glamorous panel of judges led by head judge Len Goodman and beautiful ballerina with her show stopper dresses, Darcey Bussell, critical Craig Revel Horwood and comic character Bruno Tonioli adding a fourth dimension to the reality  show.

While Zoe Ball brings behind the scene gossip, seamless seamstress Vicki Gill works her magic around the clock to dress and design dreamlike costumes for princesses from fairy tales, with millions of sequins to be sewn befitting themes from Halloween to Hollywood.

This the 13th series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ has by far been the most competitive, sky rocketing the popularity ratings of the show.

Behold, the coveted glitter ball trophy beckons the four finalists and their professional partners and pretty soon the winners of the Strictly 2015 will be waltzing their way to victory.

Link to the Grand Finale