Diving miss daisy

It’s high time that you were introduced to some of the lovely folks that I’m lumped in with for the DMT. Most of us are staying at the Blue Wave guest houses near Simple Life, and we have a Facebook message group where every night someone will suggest somewhere for dinner, to all meet up for tasty grub and a catch up.

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Abi, the simply wonderful gal I’m sharing a room with, is a trainee nurse from Perth who came travelling on her own, same as me. We were all having a cheap and cheerful dinner at Nana’s one night (mixed seafood Massaman curry for me) when we were joined by an amazing girl called Gill, also from Australia and a fully fledged occupational therapist (at the same age as me, I feel suitably under-qualified and a tad clueless!). She has been bravely travelling all over Asia by herself for the past few months, and recently completed her open water course here on Koh Tao. Luckily for us, she loved it so much that now we have another DMT to welcome to the fold! It has been made our life goal to find somewhere to rent bicycles for our time here, because we want to be able to explore the island (not just be confined to Sairee beach) while avoiding the risk of man-handling a moped. A bad experience consisting of my best friend falling off her scooter on Koh Lanta has absolutely scarred me for life!

Here are the beautiful Gill and Abi, from left to right.

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My past couple of dives have sadly played havoc with my poor ear drums. For some reason, my left ear is having issues equalising on descent. Reassuringly, this happens to pretty much everyone once they begin diving regularly, and with time the muscle will strengthen. It feels like a balloon is being blown up inside your head, and no matter how much you try to equalise, the air simply won’t escape, instead making a terrible squeaking sound and feeling like a perforated ear drum is imminent. This meant a couple of days off diving for me, in which a spot of pampering and some R&R took place.

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Another merry member of the DMT clan is our very own Liam Hemsworth lookalike, Joe from Essex. He struggles with taking his mask off underwater, and is living in a ramshackle place in the middle of nowhere. When he sent this photo below to his mum to show her what we were up to, she responded, ‘Is the girl on the left old enough to be travelling by herself?!’ Well, Joe’s mum, that is quite actually a fair question. Abi ‘Liability’ Bampton has provided us with a fair few laughs already, only last night falling drunkenly asleep on the dive centre steps after our blow out barbecue.

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A day spent soaking up the sun near Fizz bar on the beach was just what the doctor ordered. After sourcing some bicycles from a man up the road in Mae Haad, me and Joe rode along to Sairee for sandwiches from Zanzibar. It is hands down one of the best sarnie shops, rivalling Upper Crust for that special place in my heart. Their feta, avocado and pesto sandwich on brown multigrain bread has already seen me through the between-dive-munchies many a time. After finding a quiet spot nestled between a topless sunbather and a used condom (very nearly stood on by me) I took my new mask out for a spin to snorkel around the shore.

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We call it the watermelon mask, with it being so distinctive that I can always be spotted above and below water – safety first and all that. The matching green fins are on order from the dive shop, so I’ll be the most colour coordinated dive master that ever was at this rate! Practising my front crawl for the 800m swim coming up, I saw plenty of colourful fish around the reef, taking care to avoid the sea urchins and a suspicious looking trigger fish (they are notoriously territorial creatures).

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It was a beautiful day spent exploring and working on the all important base tan, ending the night at Blue Chair for a prawn Thai green curry and peach iced teas. We’re supposed to be laying off the drink to save ourselves for a group day trip to Shark Bay, where they let you use a 5* resort for the day if you spend 300 baht at the swim up bar. How lovely indeed!

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