So it was while since my old TravelPod blog had been updated, not because I was being negligent (maybe a little bit)…but because new things weren’t happening anymore. Most of my days involved waking up, getting ready for the boat, diving, showering and then deciding where to go out for dinner, a nice life if you can get it but not particularly interesting for people to read about.
One day all of that changed because I was officially signed off as a Divemaster! A professional in the dive community. The previous three months had been spent working towards this goal and I had so much fun and learnt so much along the way. The final run up towards finishing my course started when the rest of the McClymonts landed in Thailand. With them here I was let loose as a dive leader while I showed them around our dive sites and tried not to kill them.
Gray Gray and Soph arrived into Bangkok on the 26th of September. I had promised to meet them there and escort them back to my island. There had been a big party on the island the previous night and I woke up (a bit groggy) 5 minutes before my ferry was leaving. I threw some random belongings into a bag and engaged a friend with a scooter to high-tail it to the ferry terminal. I made it just in time and jumped onto the boat as the reversing horn sounded and it pulled away. From the ferry I made it to the airport but because I didn’t have the credit card I had booked with they were reluctant to let me on the flight, luckily I had a rain-man moment and could remember most of the credit card number. I had no access to money with me and only 200 baht in cash (about $8) which I would need when I got to Bangkok, this meant no food or water for the day either.
On the flight I met a girl who had been in the bar the night before and who remembered me, lucky for me she was heading into the middle of Bangkok and was happy to let me share her cab. Once we got there I used my few remaining baht to go to an internet cafe and try to figure out where I was. It transpired that I was at least a 90 minute walk from the hotel through Bangkok at 10 o’clock at night. I decided to jump in a tuk tuk on the understanding that I could pay them once I got to the hotel but when I got there no one had checked into our room, luckily the concierge took pity on me and gave me the cash. An hour later G and Soph finally arrived, it turned out they had been waiting at the wrong airport for me for several hours. A crazy day but at least we were finally together!
We spent two lovely days in Bangkok dragging Dad along shopping and visiting solid gold buddahs while we eagerly anticipated the arrival of Mama Bear. We went to meet her at the correct airport this time and all made our way to Samui and then Koh Tao. I had been away from my paradise for five days and I was ready to get back in the water. Straight away we signed up for the full day trip and went to one of the most amazing dive sites for two beautiful dives. After that we went diving almost every single day and Soph completed her advanced while she was here too. We also made the most of eating out and spending plenty of time in the bar chatting to my new Big Blue family. Everything felt wonderful and normal again except for the fact that we could have beer at pool bar before lunchtime.
After getting to the end of the trip without losing or maiming any of my family underwater the powers that be decided that I was now experienced enough to be trusted with proper customers who weren’t obliged to follow me or say that I was any good. My first customer was a lovely girl called Julia from Toronto who had been to summer camp at Wahanowin and we had two really nice dives at Chumphon and Hin Pee Wee. On the strength of that I was signed off this morning as a Divemaster, a proper PADI professional. I had an incredible time working towards this certification and am so pleased to have been able to do it at Big Blue with people I now consider close friends that I will have for life. Next stop INSTRUCTOR!
Image Credit: Sam Soffres