Hello, welkomen, Bienvenu, Howdy, now then & Ayup.
If Anyone has been reading this......anyone at all......you may have noticed a slight gap since the last time I wrote in the captains log. In my last writings I had arrived in Beijing and had survived having everyone and their dog trying to rip me off due to the obvious mug handle on the side of my head!
If you had been following my trip you will know my father had taken ill and I had made the decision to return to the UK, in order to assist in my dad coming out of hospital and settling back into life at home after having suffered a stroke. I have been back home for a month exactly and have seen my dad making great progress in his recovery and he is a credit to the human spirit and its ability to bounce back. Whilst home I also managed to catch up with a lot of friends, watch my beloved Coventry City FC play a number of games in their persuit of world dominance, take a quick trip out to my pad in Portugal which incorporated a memorable night out with my next door neighbors and a birthdaying Irish fella....I also had a really big think about things!
Whilst I had been journeying across the european and Asian continents, I had made the decision that I wanted to become a diving instructor and basically live a peaceful life on beaches and below the waves. This came about from taking my daughter to Thailand a few years ago, so she could do exactly that (I’m now following in my daughters footsteps!). I had decided I would do the training as part of this trip, once I’d pushed through China, Laos and Cambodia. However having been home I decided to slightly reverse things and go straight to Thailand...... for two reasons..1) I could get back to the UK quickly if things at home deemed it nessasary and 2) I could bounce to Laos etc when I needed to do border runs for a Visa and see all the ancient locations I have planned.
SO!!!!! To cut a long story short, 3 days ago I flew back out to Thailand, landed in Bangkok, slept, then flew to island of Koh Tao where I am going to transform from ‘Zero to Hero’ and become a diving instructor, complete with ‘Ray Ban’s’ and sun tan!.
I liken this slight change in plans for my round the world jaunt, similar to what happened to Ted Simon during his around the world trip on a motorbike, as is immortalised in the book ‘Jupiters Travels’ (excellent book..a big influence on my expedition & also the ‘Long way round’ by Ewan Mcgreggor and the tit he went with!). Ted planned his journey to last 2 years then ended up spending 2 years living in a hippie commune in the states before cracking on again, taking 4 years in total!.
Today was my first day back under the water and, as days go, it was a damm fine one. I did a skills review in the morning to brush up on my skills and drills (I’m already an advanced diver....sun tan, no shades!), then a 30 meter dive and a shallower one in the afternoon. In true fashion I excelled at being a biff....on the first dive, as I jumped in, I forgot to hold my weights belt and BCD (dive vest), which was pointed out by the instructor, then as I entered the water my left fin came off and nearly exited stage left!....In an attempt to rectify these mistakes on the second dive, I held my belt, BCD and made a clean entry but forgot my hand over my mask, which meant it was sat at 45 degrees across my face once I surfaced!!...“I may be at the ‘zero’ phase for some considerable time!!”
However...within 5 minutes of being in the water on the first dive, we encountered a “Whale Shark”, so all thoughts of being a complete muppet vanished as that magnificent beast swam amongst the watching divers and gave everyone a truly amazing experience!!
Currently having problems posting pics and video but the link to the video of the whale shark is here