I never was one of the braver children…

To ease ourselves back into the land of the living after a rather raucous few nights, lots of time has been spent treating ourselves to some of our favourite things. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, plus the famous bistro burger from Zest, got me through some not so pleasant morning dives. But believe you me, a giant stride into the ocean can battle any hangover, no matter how crippling.



But enough of the savoury Western delights. We have sniffed out the most wonderful cafe in Mae Haad who make a caramel cream frappuccino ten times better than Starbucks. Even nicer, they let us sit upstairs all day using their airy space to draw up our evacuation plans and maps for the DMT course. Aside from one awkward Maria moment, where she was mistakenly given a ‘strawberry shake’ instead of the desired ‘strawberry cheesecake’, we have found a gem to satisfy our sweet tooths (if the usual banana pancake won’t suffice).

 

 To make the most of our last days with the leavers, we’ve been having a whale (shark) of a time on the boat.





Bringing Abi’s go pro on our first dive proved to be very fruitful, catching not one, but two blue spotted rays. One even swam out and about in front of us. There I was, calmly watching it float past when all of a sudden, Abi powers across in front of my eyes, chasing it down with the camera stick. Anything for the money shot!

Reaching heights of 40 degrees that day rendered my insulating wetsuit useless. Donning Dennis’ spare rash vest (after he gave it the ominous sounding ‘sniff test’) and dropping the many weights needed to usually make me sink, me and Maria had a lovely dive at Hin Pee Wee, managing to miss the turtle that everyone else seemed to see. Oh well, hopefully it’ll stick around!  

Clinging onto Gill’s hand for dear life, we whipped off our masks and regulators for a photo supposed to show how carefree and relaxed we are underwater. My screwed up face doesn’t quite give off that impression, but I’m going to blame the contact lenses. 

   

To build up Ryan’s bank of go-pro footage for his film in the making, a group decision was spontaneously made to jump off the boat. If you know me at all, you’ll know that spontaneity is most certainly NOT my middle name (planning is) and it took some coaxing to get me down from that great height. 

     

We ended Gill’s time on the island with numerous fanciful dinners, at both Barracuda and Lung Pae, to give her the send off she deserved. 

     

Atop the hillside restaurant, once we’d polished off our fillet steaks and we’re ready for speeches, I whipped out some crumpled pieces of paper upon which I’d penned a little goodbye poem, aptly titled ‘Hurricane Gill’. It went a bit like this…

You blew in from your travels to do Open Water, and ended up staying, a lamb to the slaughter. 
You jumped from great heights, forgetting your clothes, due to the buckets and shots, I suppose.
Through the course of your stay, you rocked many a man’s world, except for that poor bloke whose bed on which you hurled.
The boys got an eyeful on many a boat, you poured water seductively, us girls should take note.
You’re bubbly, you’re bright, you have a great future in sight. We’re lucky you chose Simples to do all your courses, and one thing’s for sure, we won’t spare the horses!

Now it’s not going to win any awards, but it made Gill chuckle and that was the best. We said our goodbyes at the pier, many tears were shed (mainly by me), but it was a happy day. How lucky are we to have made friends for life?!  

 

And look at these epic collages Gill made of our memories – it just shows that we really have been living in paradise. 

     

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