Dave Mills Continental Drift Days 207-220....Sitrep.

Day 9 of Zero to Hero.! 

 Hello one and all and welcome to my life on Koh Tao. 

 Now I’ve been here a while and I have settled in I will try and bring you all up to date on what has been occurring!.  

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Soooo, I’m currently on the island of Koh Tao which is situated in the Gulf of Thailand and is approximately due south of Bangkok (please see map right).  Tao (I can call it Tao now rather than Koh Tao, as I’ve been here a while and I am now hip & trendy enough to be able to do so), is the northern most island in a chain of islands which are ‘Koh Samui, Phangnan & Tao’. Samui is the southern most island and also the biggest; it is a very popular resort and offers everything that you can expect to experience in Thailand..it’s a beautifull place and very popular with tourists. 

Phangnan is very famous worldwide for the ‘FullMoon and Halfmoon’ parties. These take place on the appropriate days each month and it are massive parties that go on all night on the beach and in the jungle (see video below). It’s a short boat ride from Samui over to Phangnan and (depending on which boat company you use), another 45 mins to get to Tao. 

Koh tao is the smallest of the 3 islands and also the furthest north. It is basically a divers island and for this reason, is why I am here. For those who dont know, my daughter came out to Koh Tao a few years ago with the aim of becoming a diving instructor...and having visited the islaland in order to visit her, I developed a massive pang of jealousy and really wanted to come and do it myself. As I started my trip around the world, I had it in my mind that I would pause here and learn to dive properly and maybe go down the instructor route, but my dads illness made me reconsider the imeadiate future and i decided to do it now rather than a bit later. 

 

I decided to use the same dive resort as my daughter had, as I knew the setup and one or two of the people who worked here. It is the biggest resort on the island and is called ‘Bans’; it produces the most amount of qualified divers per resort, than any other dive school in the world per year. I also sort of knew the guy who runs the ‘Dive Master’ program for Bans and he is an ex Paratrooper from the UK, so has a similarly warped and twisted mind as I do.

 

  The Beach front of Bans, where you board the speedboat to head out to the larger dive boats.  

The Beach front of Bans, where you board the speedboat to head out to the larger dive boats. 

So I have started the route towards becoming a diving instructor, but that point is way off in the distance yet and there is a lot to learn and plenty of experience needs to be gained. I am doing the PADI route to gain qualifications, which stands for ‘Professional Association of Diving Instructor’s’ and has a course structure laid out, in order to take you from novice all the way to cape & speedo’s wearing super hero, who can dive safely and professionally and impart the knowledge of their marvellousness onto others. The course structure is “Open Water Diver”, ‘Advanced Open Water’ ‘Rescue Diver’ and in koh tao these are each a 2 1/2 day course (in the UK and some other parts of the world it can take a long time to do one of these course due to weather conditions and open water locations safe enough to take novice divers into...on koh tao the conditions and environment are perfect all year round..hence why its ‘Dive Island’). Each of the first two course teaches you the basic skills you need to dive and then builds on them allowing you to dive deeper and safer.

   Me with Bar & Jona,who are both ‘sucking in’, whilst I am obviously not!

 Me with Bar & Jona,who are both ‘sucking in’, whilst I am obviously not!

I had completed my Open water and Advance on previous visits to Tao, so I did a skills review (practice my drills and equipment use) in the pool, then a few fun dives and then went into my Rescue divers course, where you learn how to deal with so emergencies that could occur whilst diving. It was a great couple of days and we were busy dealing with casualties on the boat, on the waters surface and under the waves. It helped that with me on the course were 3 guy from Israel who are all ex military and so once again share all of my mental deficiencies and idiosyncrasies! They are Kyle, Jonas and Bar and are all mid twenties and as fit as you like, so I’m constantly walking round sucking my gut in and trying (but failing miserably), not to be in the ‘fat at the back club’. However 3 better guys to go through the course with I could not have asked for and we do have some good laughs and share the common bond that exists between squaddies everywhere.

So having completed my rescue course I could now begin the “Dive Master’ program, which takes you from a competent but inexperienced diver and turns you into someone who has mastered the art of diving and is beginning to use their skills to help qualified instructors teach people who are at the start of the process.

 Life is great, the island is beautiful, I’m relaxed and happy...I am in paradise and have a tank of air strapped to my back...I’m with people who share a passion and have a similar outlook on life. Also Koh tao is part of the migratory route for whale sharks (bloody big ‘fisheys’) who if your lucky, you may get to see at some of the dive sites around the island....I must be lucky as I saw one within 30 seconds of jumping in the water on my first dive....should have bought a lottery ticket that day!! (See video below).

 

Onwards........

Why Am I Walking Around The World...?

There are a number of reasons why I decided to undertake this & previous trips, and the overriding factor is that.... I’m an inquisitive pain in the arse!

  Did someone in the past carve the hill behind me into a Human Face??

Did someone in the past carve the hill behind me into a Human Face??

Firstly, I want to answer an obvious question; can I actually manage to get around our planet, under my own steam, without being killed, kidnapped, taken political prisoner or sold into the sex slave industry (for which I am ideally suited due, to my being so adorable….or so my mum keeps telling me?).

Secondly, to search for evidence to support my theory that, 'we are not the first 'Advanced Civilisation' to have existed on this planet?' I am of the opinion that at some point in our distant and forgotten / hidden past, there has been at least 1 previous civilisation which has attained a level of technical ability, that our current civilisation is only now starting to understand or possibly even achieve itself?

 

“Any answer, should only lead to further questions ”

— Dave Mills

  Vietnamese war graves, from the 'American War'.

Vietnamese war graves, from the 'American War'.

My third reason, specific to this trip, is to highlight the pain and suffering experienced by humanity due to fighting itself. Our species continually undertakes this folly, for causes that, when mostly considered, benefit only a very select few, yet cause upheaval and grief to most. (Please take a look at my “just giving” page).

☞ JUST GIVING

 

  Sau Paulo, Brazil 2014. Uruguay V England. (We Lost!)

Sau Paulo, Brazil 2014. Uruguay V England. (We Lost!)

There is also the fact that 2018 is a 'FIFA World Cup' year and my travelling, by pure coincidence!, always seems to coincide with these events? I have unfortunately picked up the addiction of supporting England and despite knowing it's bad for my health, that nothing good will ever come of it and that abject disappointment is only a penalty kick away .....I am still unable to shake the habit  :0(

 

A Sense of Freedom.

  Sapa, Vietnam 2015. Truly Beautiful.

Sapa, Vietnam 2015. Truly Beautiful.

I cannot claim there has been any eureka moment or message from a God telling me to “go forth unto the world and have a shuftiethen report back”. It has been an idea which started as a nagging itch and has grown into something that needs to be dealt with (similar to a good case of haemorrhoids!). I have traveled extensively over the past 30 years and have found that, when doing so, I truly feel a sense of freedom. Everyday worries fade into insignificance and are replaced by excitement of finding answers to questions, of dispelling preconceived ideas and experiencing the warmth and beauty which I believe are the true human characteristics. My trips alone & with Andrea have grown in size and duration and have presented answers which have only generated more questions. I constantly feel a desire for more and so walking around the planet became an unavoidable craving... from which no forged note from my parents could get me out of.

WHERE AM I GOING..?

  With Andrea at the 'Trilithion', Baalbek, Lebanon 2016.

With Andrea at the 'Trilithion', Baalbek, Lebanon 2016.

It is my intention to walk out of my front gate in Bedworth, England, then head south towards the channel ports. Having crossed the English Channel, I then aim to take a light stroll through:- France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia (the world cup is on as well….woo hoo!!!), Mongolia, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Okinawa, Mainland Japan, United States of America, Mexico, not sure next, need to think on this bit??, Peru, (fly back to Europe), Spain, France, England…..& finally back to Bedworth.

I plan to leave Bedworth at the end of February 2018 and from there, miscalculation, stunning scenery, stupidity, ancient structures, blisters, poor navigation, hangovers, England’s World Cup progress, financial strain and pure bloody unadulterated Joy will be contributing factors on how long it takes me.

“If you’re going to walk a mile in my shoes.. grab me some beer on your way back.”

— Confuscious.