|5 DAYS OF DIVING INTO WARM, BLUE, CLEAR SEAS.....What a pleasure!|
Sunday 9th March saw us waiting at the head of the lengthy Chalong Pier in Phuket for ScubaCats transport to arrive which would be taking us to their waiting Dive Liveaboard boat and our 70 mile overnight voyage to the Similan Islands in Lat 9 degrees North, 98 degrees East.
By 1900 we were onboard and starting to meet our fellow divers. We were very fortunate to have such a great group of people from Switzerland, Hawaii, Germany, China, New Zealand and of course good old UK on the trip. I was sharing a cabin with Amin, a young Indian pilot who was a real pleasure to get to know and who gave me plenty of insights into India and Indian Culture.
Over the next few days I spent a good deal of time talking to Si Si, a young Chinese lady and the product of China's 'One Child' policy. As are many young people in Thailand and I guess most of the Asian Cultures, Si Si was under immense pressure to conform (by returning to and remaining in her banking job) to support her ageing parents and an even more ageing set of Grandparents. She had plans to marry. Her husband would also be from a one child family with equal responsibilities and with an equal number of immediate family to support. So, imagine entering marriage with the instant financial burden of supporting 8 people as well as yourselves! Si Si has worked in Scotland for a few years and understands the comparative freedom we enjoy in the West so it was even harder for her to make the decision to return to her previous life and slip into her expected role....and there was deep resentment there. Not because of her demanding and expectant parents but because of the One Child policy that has resulted in single children having to take on the responsiilties that a number of children in the past would have shared.
Inbetween dives most divers were in a state of collapse or fast asleep in their cabins. We rarely saw Jeff, for example. Once he's scoffed as much of the post dive food prepared by the excellent chef onboard as he could, Jeff would disappear to his airconditioned cabin and re-emerge moments before the next dive. Heath (on the right in white T shirt), as can be seen, maintained a watchful and alert eye over the top deck proceedings and was always on hand to offer helpful advice to the less experienced members of our group.
What a great trip. Scubacats is a wonderful dive company and their Similan Island trips are a joy to be involved with. Yesterday we had our final three dives day trip with Scubacat and it was very noticeable to see how easily Jeff and Heath dealt with the strong currents and poor visibility thanks to our dive liveaboard experience.
For those of you who are interested we dived Anita's Reef at Similan Island 5; Koh Bon, Tachai Pinnacle (superb), Richelieu Rock (amazing) Koh Ta Chai, Similan Island 8 (Three Trees) and West of Eden. We dived these sites several times.
Sadly that is the end of our diving now. Over the next 4 days we all return to UK leaving Jai here to manage the house and hand it over to our long term let customers arriving on April 1st. This has been an exceptionally busy four months...I haven't had the time to write as many blog entries as in the past. In fact it has been so busy I have even had to forgo the pleasure of going to my Thai School for the past few weeks.
We are already very busy next winter. In fact I think we are fully booked...but I will check that out on my return. Buying this house was always meant to be just a 5 year adventure. Next season will be our 8th season and it may well be the final one as I feel it is time to move on and have another adventure, maybe in a different part of Thailand or possibly another country. We shall see.