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Diving belles; Caribbean is ideal for an action-packed luxury break.

Byline: LIZ STEELE

7days editor Liz Steele tries scuba diving in the Caribbean on a luxury activities holiday

THE only exercise I take part in when on holiday is usually walking from the sun lounger to the pool bar.

But my last break was quite the opposite. I played golf, tennis, water skied, wind surfed, sailed and a whole lot more.

Serena Williams doesn't need to worry - I won't be a contender for her Wimbledon crown and golf's Annika Sorenstam can relax, too - I was lucky to hit the ball with my swing.

My pal Roseanne and I found paradise on earth on our trip to Grenada, in the Caribbean. It's known as the island of spice, thanks to the nutmeg grown there, which fills the air with a wonderfully distinctive aroma.

We were staying at La Source, where all inclusive really means just that - no hidden charges for food, drinks, sports or beauty treatments. It's not cheap but works out at very good value.

And it is luxury from start to finish. Even the airport transfers are posh. No rickety old buses here - we were picked up in a stretch limo.

La Source's motto is "Give us your body and we'll give you back your mind".

I was kind of hoping they would give me someone else's body on the way out - preferably a more toned one - but that wasn't to be.

If, you do fancy getting in shape there is no better place to do it. Endless fitness classes, yoga and water aerobics will keep you trim. Just as well, really, as you can eat and drink from the minute you open your eyes until you close them.

If relaxation is your thing - I know it's mine - you can take full advantage of the daily beauty treatments, from head massage to inch-losing seaweed wraps.

For the more adventurous, water skiing, sailing and wind surfing and the unforgettable scuba diving, will challenge both mind and body.

Our attempt at water skiing was like something out of an episode of Some Mothers Do Have 'Em. Frank Spencer wouldn't have had a look in.

Success in water skiing it is all about how you get up out of the water, apparently. So like everything at La Source some pre-event training was in order.

I was beginning to wonder if Jeremy Beadle was going to appear, as this meant being pulled along the beach by an instructor from a sitting position to standing, which inevitably left your bikini bottoms full of sand.

Once in the water, I did manage to get on my feet twice but quickly fell face first back in. Not my greatest success but it was fun trying.

As for scuba diving, well, I have always believed that if we were meant to swim under water we would have fins. But willing to try anything once, I turned up at the dive centre for a beginner's lesson.

It started with some classroom work and although we were nowhere near the water yet I could feel the panic set in. This wasn't helped by the instructor, CJ, crossing his throat with his hand and saying: "That's how you let me know if you run out of air."

Once I'd recovered from the shock we headed for the resort pool, kitted out in all the scuba gear.

I was fine until we had to practice taking the airpiece out of our mouths while submerged. It was at this point I decided swimming with the fish wasn't for me. To say I was terrified was an understatement. Besides, CJ was finding it difficult to swim with me clinging to his leg. I think the sunbathers around the pool thought I had come face to face with Jaws, judging by the speed I got out of the water. By the time the instructor reached the surface I was half way to the beauty treatment centre.

Roseanne, on the other hand, loved it and went on to do a PADI diving course, which means she is certified to dive anywhere in the world to a depth of 60ft. This does cost extra - but at around pounds 200 it's still cheaper than back home.

The instructors, CJ, Adrian and Cishaun, were fantastic and by the end of the holiday had me convinced to give it another go. But time was running out and I had to decline their offer of one-to-one lessons.

Although we found it difficult to leave the luxury of La Source it was worth going on one of the island tours, which took us to the cocoa plantations and the spectacular rain forest. The island is only 21 by 12 miles but very beautiful. We visited a cocoa bean factory and saw women in colourful outfits carrying huge loads of fruit on their heads.

We flew with BA via Gatwick and booked with Cresta Holidays (0161 385 4100). Find out more about La Source on www.theamazingholiday.com

I loved.. The luxurious surroundings and daily beauty treatments.

I hated.. How sore my arms were after my not-so-successful water skiing attempt.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 27, 2003
Words:848
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