Water Babies

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 01, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, December 23, 2005

Hello everyone, hope all your Xmas prezzies are bought, wrapped and under the tree and you are getting ready for food, relaxation and the Queens speech!
We are on the beautiful island of Koh Lanta on the west coast near Phuket and Krabi at the moment for Xmas and New Year where its torrential rain one day and hot and sunny the next. We arrived from Ko Pha ngan via very very early ferry, coach, minibus, coach, minibus, minibus on two ferries and then walking along the beach with backpacks to the last place along 'Deep Forest Bungallows'. We arrived to cheers and laughter and them saying they had been waiting all day for us to arrive (we find out later its because we are the only people there!). The Thai and Swiss owners are celebrating a staff members birthday which we are invited to join and by the end of the night we know everyone really well and have decided to stay for Xmas and New Years! All the people are exceptionally friendly and wanting to practice their English in exchange for Thai, which we could do with!
The owner is an ex-con/addict addict who is off everything except the Booze with more stories for one lifetime! His Thai partner is the manager, always smiling, wears the trousers in the relationship and once she starts dancing there is no stopping her! The cook really enjoys her whiskey and keeps trying to get us to drink it and is always giggling! The builder/handyman can make anything out of wood has three puppies called Brownie, Muffin and Mafia!, which he is valiantly trying to train, he is quite quiet unless he is playing darts when he unleashes the fury and usually wins! The two other staff members are part way through sex changes and two of the sweetest people you are ever likely to meet. One with fiery red hair who keeps getting into trouble and the other who wants to study fashion in London and is completely obsessed with Julia Roberts!

We spent the next few days relaxing and enjoying the little hut with shower on the beach we are staying in for 200 bht a night and generally getting a feel for the island. After a couple of day relaxing Danny and I both get itchy feet and end up signing ourselves up for scuba diving! Danny has already done his PADI Open Water course in Australia so I sign up for that and we both sign up for the Advanced Open Water Dive course. The first day I did most of the theory and then spent the afternoon diving in the so called 'confined water' of the sea! The sea however was really murky quite rough and full of these tiny stinging lice things so trying to learn for the first time to relax and breath underwater when you cant see very much and your constantly being stung was not that much fun! Especially when my instructor is saying things like 'when we get to the bottom I want you to take off your mask and swim for 15m', followed by 'I will then turn off your air so you get a feel for what that feels like'!! I was not convinced and by the end of the first day I was thinking what have I signed myself up for?!
The next day after some more theory we go out onto the boat to the small islands of Kho Bida Nok and Kho Bida Nai. Very beautiful but I was feeling a bit nervous with the suit, mask, tank, jacket, regulators, gauges and fins on trying to shuffle my way to the end of the boat to jump off! Once in the water we go down and it was completely different, clear blue water, fish and coral everywhere and the experience changed from scary to brilliant!!
As Danny had not dived for 5 years he did a refresher course and then 3 fun dives so we were out on the same boat. This made it more fun but he says he waved at me a few times underwater but I didn't see him as I was concentrating so hard on all the skill test I was supposed to be doing on the bottom!
Both of us saw some amazing fish and coral and I learnt to never ever accidentally kneel on the aptly named 'Fire Coral' ever again! Danny did see an octopus and turtle on his dives which beats my lion and clown fish! By the end of the two days we were both qualified PADI divers and feeling confident and excited about doing the Advanced course on the 28th.
Not much planned over Xmas and New years just relaxing, doing some Thai cooking lessons and hopefully doing a fun dive together so we don't forget everything before the advanced course starts!

Everyone here is building up to boxing day and the memorial services and there is an atmosphere of sadness which is hard to miss. Everyone is talking about last year and all the stories they have heard. Although this island was not as badly hit as some others still 58 people died and there was a lot of devastation. We have heard the stories from the people we are staying with and seen the pictures taken just afterwards. It is hard to see it close up and think we will take part in one of the services on the beach.

Well on a more happy note I hope you are all really well (keep telling us what you are up too) and I wish everyone a fantastic Xmas with stockings full of Satsumers (Clemantines depending on where you are from!), walnuts and chocolate coins and a brill 2006!!

Lots of Love from us xx :)

ps. maybe shed a tear or two for us while you are all carving the turkey on Xmas day as it is not all great here, it's a hot Xmas for a start, Danny is still limping cos of his bare foot dancing injury, we are both completely covered in itchy mozzy bites and random underwater creature stings and my knee's all red and lumpy due to the evil Fire Coral! Still musn't grumble :) xx
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mills01480 on

Hi from Nan & Gramps
Dear Dan & Kate
It was wonderful speaking to you on Christmas Day, I wass expecting you to walk in any minutr. We opened your presents first and what a lovely surprise they were, Grandad won,t wear the hat in case it gets dirty so is putting it on the wall!! The elephant has pride of place next to your photo. Then the chat made our Christmas.
We are reading your e-mails again and again, so much to take in. How well you have planned it so far, certainly an experience of a lifetime.
Have just seen video of Kate, hard to believe I am watching it with you so many miles away. I am glad to say it doesn't seem like it and was expecting you to get up early for our little chat!!
Went to London before xmas and everyone is fine and send their love. Went to an ADULT panto with mum dad and friends, usual christmas get together. Had a great time at Club xmas party, of course grandad never went as he said he is not old enough!! Had a few dinners with Lee. Car has had a few problems (cost lots of money)and living room light/fan blew upin middle of night otherwise everything is fine.
Expecting snow Tuesday, how about you?
Won't be able to get in touch for 2 weeks as Mum and Dad are going away enjoying themselves AGAIN.

Lots and lots of love

mills-mcshea on

Re: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Hey there Tom!

Great to hear from you hope you had a really great Xmas and ate, drank and relaxed lots. Let us know when you are gonna be in Oz so we can meet up.

All the best for 2006!!
Kate :)

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