Thursday, December 22, 2011

On board

Spewingly delivered to Ko Tao on a bucking catamaran, I started my rescue diver course that same day.  A tough three days mastering in water and boat rescues, managing whatever emergencies Lance and Paul dreamed up, babysitting them underwater as they dekitted, turned their masks upside down, over inflated their BCDs, swam with their fins on their hands and climbed on each other while turning off tanks. 

Thoroughtly exhausted but keen to resume fun diving again, I landed in Khao Lak and boarded a three-day liveaboard the following evening headed for the Surins and famed Richelieu Rock.  A chockers dive deck, an IDC course running concurrently and staff who out of the water were more interested in themselves and flirting with each other than their paying customers made for an average boat experience.  My dive buddy - singular - the other customers and the stunning diving made up for the lackluster staff.
Along with two jaw-dropping tanks on Richelieu, night diving in biolumiscent plankton were highlights.  Putting my torch against my wetsuit after ensuring I wouldn't crash into corals, urchins, divers, I flailed about underwater like a panicked diver as the sea sparkled and cometed around me.

A rest, ketchup day in Khao Lak with some beach buds before a downpour escorted us the 30 minute walk home.  Onto Phuket tomorrow to catch a plane to Chiang Mai. 
A wee reward for a 7 am boat 

Throwing assist

 Rescue breathing on Lance

Carrying Paul up the ladder - and it's a tall boat

 Ko Tao from the sea

 En route to a dive site in the Surins

 I'm on a boat!

 Gemma and I during a surface interval

 Setting sun in the Surins

 Gemma, Roger and I back on solid ground

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dear Burma, gimme back my mates

I should have thought through my decision to sit in the front row of an Indonesian fire show a little further.  While I wan't on the receiving end of an on-fire/smoldering coconut husk, my neighbours weren't so lucky.  No obvious injurues or hospital visits required, just a stunned lass. 

Known for its theatre/music performances, I finally attended one on my last night in Ubud, Indonesia after my cocktail swilling flashpacker friends had moved on before I too was Thailand and real friends bound. 

Their pear-shaped visa run put a wee kink in my excited plans to see familiar Canadian faces.  After I hadn't heard from my friends 18 hours after they were due to return from Burma, I resigned that they must be in a bin.  In Burma. 

Rather, they'd moved on to Ko Phi Phi with nary a phone call or email until they were settled on that debacherous island.  I met Linda, a witty, chatty and interesting Brit.  After a quick meal, we stumbled into a jazz music festival for the King's Birthday.  Grabbing take-away noodles, our weight in rum we moseyed back over for a listen.  Both of us may have had boats to catch in the morning, but that didn't stop the rum flowing or the free Changs pouring in from the locals. 

Heavy headed I landed on Phi Phi, met my mates and proceded to do it all over again.  I once again had a boat to catch in the morning.  A dive boat. 

The seas were relentlessly rolly and big which did suprisingly little to quell my seasickness/raging hangover.   The King Cruiser was spectacular, the other two dives were average with the topside scenery taking all the points. 

Processing rice in Bali's abundant terraces
 Crazy big Balinese meal post-cycling/down hill cruising
 Gunung Kawi outside Ubud
 Generally sage advice
This performer alledgedly went into a trance and walked over/kicked around those coconut husks
 Nemo and his mates
 Spanish dancer
 Shit viz, but that hooded figure is me in 27 degree water.  Brr.   
 From viewpoint on Ko Phi Phi
 Around Phi Phi

 View from my window post boys
I have no idea