Diver, diver! Inflate your BCD

Fizz beach bar is fast becoming our ultimate favourite hangout spot for all occasions. The bright green bean bags are perfect for lounging on with our ‘sundowners’ (Australian for drinks at sundown, such a fun activity), offering the best view of Sairee beach and a banging menu to match.

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Dennis, a newly qualified instructor at Simple Life, excitedly told us that we had to try the soft shell crab when he heard we were going to Fizz. Boy oh boy, it did not disappoint! Abi was a bit iffy at first about the idea of eating a crab’s face and eyes, but we dug in with gusto and simply cannot wait to order it again. The chilli jam that it came with was a winner, too.

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After two weeks of endless shivering both below and above the water, I’ve finally found the perfect wetsuit after trying on what felt like a hundred. Five millimetres of thick neoprene has completely transformed my dive experience like nothing else! The only minor setback is that my nickname could well become rainbow diver, as the red panelled wetsuit more than slightly clashes with my bright green fins and good old watermelon mask. In all honesty, I’m rather pleased about this explosion of colour as someone is bound to spot me if I start floating away, distracted by a clump sparkly coral. And most importantly, the cold is no longer going to be a problem, which is more that I can say for this fellow.

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Before coming to Koh Tao, my spare time was spent scouring the Internet searching for things to try, places to visit and food spots to discover. Alex in Wanderland has been an absolute treat to read, offering up all her favourite spots and advice about living on the beautiful island. Grounded Yoga came highly recommended by her, and it just so happens to be right on Gill’s doorstep, so we’ve been finding a time to try out a class ever since we got here. Living Juices is just around the corner, so we started off our day right with two green monster smoothies and buckwheat banana bread with sliced banana and honey. So tasty and wholesome – a welcome change after a few too many 7/11 toasties!

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The yoga centre was hidden away up in the jungle, made up of lots of ramshackle huts with rustic signs directing us to the sala. Sandra, our instructor, was a lovely woman from Spain who welcomed the two of us with open arms. Luckily, the class was small with about six of us in the morning 10am to 11.30am slot. With the fans on full blast and sounds of birds tweeting all around us, we were taught the sun salutation routine and many different types of asanas (we thought of them as positions). It was a simply wonderful experience, with the only dodgy moment being when my legs ended up a bit too far around my ears and it was a struggle to bring them back down to earth. The absolute best part was the fifteen minutes of total relaxation at the end, where me and Gill have honestly never felt so deeply relaxed in all our lives! Only the whine of a mosquito brought me out of my slumber, but what can you do, there’s only so much bug spray a girl can handle.

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With a class costing only 250 baht (a fiver), yoga is fast going to become a hobby of choice for us. We were offered tea at the end with everybody which sadly we had to miss to cycle back in time for the afternoon boat, but next time will be sure to take up the offer. It was such a brilliant start to the day in one of the most beautiful settings you can imagine – now it’s time to transform into fully fledged yogis within the month!

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Feeling rather zen (more like spaced out), we set off on the boat with our group of ten to complete our surface rescue skills. This consisted of an entire afternoon spent jumping in and out of the water, both with and without the scuba gear, to save our buddies in various states of responsiveness and different levels of thrashing out. The most difficult situation was dealing with an unresponsive diver, where you have to learn a long routine starting with shouting ‘Diver, diver! Inflate your BCD! I am an emergency rescuer, may I help?’ with the following step being to administer rescue breaths, while towing them back to the boat, while removing their equipment, while removing your own equipment. Nobody thought I could handle carrying a lifeless body out of the water, but my core strength surprised them all and it was a doddle. Sadly for Gill, her sinuses were playing up so she couldn’t equalise when we went down to do our underwater skills. Thank goodness we had the lovely Dina instructing us because she was SO kind and helpful, not even batting an eyelid when I lost her snorkel (nothing an expanding square couldn’t find). After an exhausting day all in all, we settled down at our local taco shack in Mae Haad to sample our favourite Mexican cuisine. A pineapple chicken burrito for Gill, and mustard beef taco for me.

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The night ended as all good nights should, with a packet of Oreos dunked into a glass of cold milk. With the final exam looming in the morning, there was a late night of studying on the cards for me. As soon as this rescue course is done and dusted, I’ll finally be a bonafied DMT. Something that we’ll certainly celebrate!

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