So. Much. Time. Has. Passed

So I find myself sitting on a boat in the middle of the Maldives reminiscing about the last few years. Old friends and faces, old jobs, old houses where so much laughter happened – and then I remembered this blog. I have to say I’m so happy to see that it still exists on this brilliant contraption known as the internet! I have been through 2 laptops since I wrote it, so my records are completely gone. However, one little renewing of my password and here is my old life!!! Flicking through old blog posts has made me literally laugh out loud, and yet I can hardly believe this was 4/5/6 years ago!! How has this time passed by so fast?! So many fantastic memories that I had forgotten, has made me very pleased to have written it! This happiness has kick-started me into a small catch up. Everybody writes blogs these days, and its really not my thing. I like reading other peoples, but I tend to use different media like photographs to let people know what I’m doing. I’m not a writer, (I leave that to the rest of my family), and its not something I do naturally – or indeed for enjoyment. But I would like to try to make the effort to save more memories in this form, if only for myself and my fading memory 😀

A quick catch up is in order. So I left Cayman Islands – after a horrific few months including being diagnosed (and then un-diagnosed, long awful story) with skin cancer, ending up in decompression chamber, and several other hideous experiences which made me think that starting afresh would be a great idea. It actually was, and I almost never look back. Nearly 2 years on that small island was enough. Great fun, great memories, but enough!

I then happened to fall into my most perfect job. Working in South Africa with great white sharks, where I spent two very very happy seasons there with African Shark Eco Charters. But after a very bad season financially, and also long visa tormented times, it made sense for me to accept this next position that I find myself in – Marine Biologist at Four Seasons, Maldives.

This is why I am floating around on a very glamorous boat in a very glamorous place, with basically very glamorous guests. The guest side of it I am not allowed to talk about, I have even signed a contract to that effect! But it has been pretty impressive so far….! So the job  involves me moving between the two Four Seasons resorts, as well as spending 5 weeks at a time on their liveaboard dive boat- Explorer.

I arrived in the Maldives back in December and I’m nearly at the end of my first full stint on Explorer, and I have to admit it has been tough. The marine life has been incredible, some of the things I have seen will stay with me forever! However, the living conditions and work hours are tough to say the least. Up at 7am every day, in the water by 7.30, and don’t finish until 10pm every night. Oh, and no days off. So when I say I’m tired, I really mean it! Properly body falling apart tired!! In theory the guests shouldn’t want to do every excursion we offer, so I should get some rest during the day – but (I want to say unfortunately, however the enthusiasm they have had for the marine life is so great I cant bring myself to say that) all of the guests over the 5 weeks have wanted to do all the activities!! All!! Needless to say when I get off this boat on Monday I will need to sleep and rest for a week!

My first experience living on a boat has also given me a new found appreciation for cockroaches. They really are incredible creatures. They get absolutely everywhere, you almost can’t walk around the living quarters without seeing several. They seem to know the best time of day to come out of hiding (The quiet times), they won’t die, and can find food anywhere!!! Even when it is hidden in drawers within cupboards within un-opened packets and you will STILL find a little blighter sitting waiting for the food. How do they know?! Can they read???  I almost feel like they are a part of the scenery on the boat. Strange how you get used to things you wouldn’t otherwise expect to after continued exposure! Don’t get me wrong, they are vile, and still give me shivers, but you do have to give them a bit of credit for being so indestructible! I read the other day they would be the only creatures to survive a nuclear blast – I can see that!

This brings me onto the other big issue I have on-board – food. I can’t eat anything. All the Maldivians eat is seafood, meat and spicy stuff. None of which I can have, so I have lost a lot of weight!! Literally about 4 notches on my belt, inches in weeks! I swear they could actively sell this as ‘the diet that REALLY WORKS!’

But to end on happier notes, I have seen several whale sharks, had an incredible 2 hour encounter with playful manta rays, have seen more beautiful fish than many will see in a life time, have swum in ridiculously beautiful places, wandered on private isolated islands, swam with a pod of dolphins, and met some incredible people. Every day the view is stunning, literally paradise. I have never known a place like this, and floating round in the turquoise waters pointing out amazing marine life to people is not a trial. But I can’t lie, I shall be very happy to get off on Monday, ready to celebrate my 31st birthday on dry land and get a little ‘normality’ back in my world! 😀

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So what happened to my blogging…? Living on an island got in the way! I cant even lie, its not as if Im rushed off my feet. The only excuse I have is that drinking and diving got in the way! Since the last blog, I have moved house. I now live with a crazy Canadian (also one of my best friends) who likes to call me Tim (Im not sure if she really thinks thats my name….), says ‘ay’ a lot, and never understands what I say. Two doors away lives another of my best friends Julie (yep from Mexico!), and two doors after that live 2 more of my friends/work mates. Yes, we are taking over this 8 apartment building! I love living so close to them. The day after Ty and Jason moved into their apartment I was sitting chatting to Jason (also known as Beej for reasons will explain later). I was mid-flow through a relatively important conversation, when I say ‘but nothings changed!” At which point I see mild confusion on his face as he looks over my shoulder, then back at me, then back to my side. “Actually Kim, the tv’s changed”. While we had been at work, their landlord had come to swap the television’s over. But the timing of his realisation could not have been better.

Now while on stories about Beej we had a very crazy night out a couple of weeks ago of which he was a highlight. I had managed to get all of the Don Fosters crew free VIP tickets for an opening of a club right up 7 mile beach at the Dolphin Cove (no you cant get drunk and play with dolphins…. they shut them away at night 🙂 ) So we all took a van that had been entrusted to one of us (no details…), and squashed far too many of us in. That part was actually quite impressive! But we all headed up to this club, and basically took it over. It was free entry, and free drinks. Well you can imagine the chaos. It was a great night – infact the official photos from the club opening shows in every single bar shot at least one of us getting drinks. That wouldnt be so bad if there had been a queue at any point. Nope, hardly anyone else in there! Served straight away every time 🙂 So you can imagine, we all got down right bungalowed (Michael McIntyre anyone…?!). Beej however was the highlight of that night, and infact many weeks after it still makes me chuckle. He tried some dance move – nothing too terrible, but it put him off balance. And with the copious amounts of rum putting him off kilter he stumbled backwards across the dance floor. This was complete with waving arms, and a panicked expression. He took every man around him with him, while trying to up right himself and not succeeding. Infact he crossed the entire dance floor in this manner, before ending up on his back on the floor with legs in the air. Needless to say a security man picked him up (literally, he had bruises!) and threw him out. You have to realise at this point that Beej is quite a meek, sweet guy, who you could not imagine being thrown out of a coffee shop – let alone a nightclub. Oh how we laughed. Yes we should have gone to help, but Azza and I – the only two to see this, were in tears. Possibly the funniest thing ive ever seen. Infact I’m laughing out loud as I write this!! Oh I wish it had been recorded!!!!!

Now my house mate, work mate and friend Jessika has shared many many funny times with me over the past few months. One of the times I laughed my hardest was on one of our many (ugh) bike rides. We were heading over to Melmac (a couple of apartments where many of our friends have stayed) in the evening, riding next to each other chatting away when I see a big crab run infront of my bike. I try to swerve round him, but no hope. I close my eyes and hear a massive crunch, at which point I shout ‘argh, thats horrible’. Jessika asks what, so I tell her I just ran over a crab. Her reply? ” No!!! so THATS what just splatted my leg!!!!” After a quick inspection, her leg was found to be covered in crab innards. Her shrieks could be heard throughout George Town! What timing, I could not have planned it better!

My family came over to Cayman to visit a couple of months ago now, they fell in love with my little island. It was fantastic to see them, and also fantastic the amount of clothes and toiletries they brought over for me. Their entire stay also involved them trying to ‘borrow’ as much as possible from the hotel  for after after realising my stories about how expensive things are here were true. I ended up with 2 cupboards full!! Good job guys 🙂 I will forever remember my dad sneaking up and down the hallway grabbing toilet rolls and shampoo and running back to the room.

So many things have happened in recent months, but a short and sweet recent victory was winning my round in Rock and Roll bingo at Lone Star. I won a bottle of Vodka. Now usually I would be pretty pleased with this alone, but as two of my friends also won the rounds either side of me – we kicked ass that evening! 3 in a row!!

Now living next to your friends is not always a good thing. It makes you very lax with security. The other evening I spent at number 5 apartment (we live at 1), had a nice time, it got pretty late so I said goodnight and wandered home. Jessika was staying at her boyfriends, but as I came up to our front door I heard music and talking. Who the hell was in our house?!! It turned out to be 2 guys from a professional dive training course (They were interning at Don Fos so I did know them), but they had come over to find us, found the door to be unlocked, so decided to chill on my sofa drinking beers and listening to music!!! Funny thing was, they had never been to my house before, I wish they’d done that in the wrong one :). But maybe I should lock my doors more often, never know what I might come home to!!

Freak weather, and the worst dive of my life (hopefully ever)

So a massive tropical storm has been hitting Cayman for the last week. Oh my god it is depressing, ive had enough of this rain!!!! The first day it hit we had to take our boats around to the more protected North side. This involves a 2 hour trip around the island. Imagine torrential rain, and a completely open boat. Yes I was crewing it, with Matt driving. You should have seen us getting ready for it. 4 dive instructors preparing for a hideous trip round, we piled on rash guards, full length wetsuits (that hadnt been worn in years) – anything waterproof we could find. Infact so many more layers than when we go diving! But we knew it was going to be wet and miserable.

So I sat huddled downstairs in my raincoat, with rain just lashing down on me. Completely drenched, water dripping off every part of me. There was no dry area, infact the only relief came when a rogue wave splashed over the side. At least the water was warm (82 degrees F at the moment). Half way round, we moored up at sea as Matt could barely see 10m infront of us, and certainly couldnt see land. At this point the shops advice was to turn round and go back. So it ended up being an hour of misery for no reason. We docked the boat at a mooring just off land, and swam back into shore. I was still wearing my raincoat, and didnt even get any wetter being in the water!

The weather has not got any better, it rained for 24 hours straight. Proper storm, torrential rain. Weve tried to keep working, but when the cruise ships come in, have a look, and then turn round and leave, they take with them all our customers! There is also nothing to do on this island in the rain. So its been a very boring week, with lots of drinking. We had a lovely afternoon in Rackams on the first storm day. A load of us don fosters crew headed down there and drank all afternoon. Rackams is completely open and right on the sea, so we had to huddle in one dry area to drink our beers and rum and cokes :). But all good fun. But now, having not worked all week – so not earned anything, and exhausted any dry activities im now very very bored with it all. Hopefully its the last of the rain today, we were watching the storm on the internet. We have a huge system just sitting over the top of us. And as Chris at work said ‘ah, well we are in the red zone so at least we know it cant get much worse…’ Made me laugh, and lets hope so.

The only dive I have managed in the last week was the worst of my life. I do not know what went wrong, but as soon as I descended I nearly fainted. I reached 60 feet, started violently shaking and realised I was going to faint. I had 3 divers with me – 1 instructor, But I was at the back, so had I actually fainted they wouldnt have seen. I also felt like I was in someone elses body ( i know that sounds weird…!), but viewing the world through their eyes and not my own.

I then started getting really panicked (this has never ever happened before) and paranoid, my brain wasnt working properly. I couldnt remember basic fish signs that we use on a day to day basis, and then I nearly fainted again. I had to take the clip off my BCD (the jacket you wear diving) and grasp it as tightly in my hand as I could. Needless to say I should have surfaced, but I didnt want to leave the divers, and I also thought it would just pass. The 45 minute dive was hell. Every minute felt like an hour, with me concentrating on just getting through. I honestly thought I was going to die. I was convinced I had decompression sickness (it can kill), and felt so ill. On surfacing the other dive instructors noticed – apparently I was very pale, and it took a good 2 hours to feel better. Contaminated air in my tank has been suggested (sometimes when filling carbon monoxide can get in if they are not done properly, as for many other different gases and solutions, and at depth the pressure increases the effects), alcohol as well (we were out the previous night) – but I hadnt drunk more than usual and ive never reacted like that before. Very very scary, but it also brought home how SCUBA accidents can happen – quickly and to the most unexpected of people. Even dive professionals. We laugh about customers pulling their regs out and bolting to the surface, but for a moment (even though I know – and teach!!! the hideous risks this involves) it crossed my mind. I hope never, ever to feel like that again underwater, and im actually pretty nervous about my next dive!

But on a brighter note, the rain has stopped for the minute 🙂 Guess its time to find out who is at home that I can visit!!! Fingers crossed for work tomorrow

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Cayman update :)

Apologies for lack of blogs. I have no excuse except for possibly being too happy? I love my life, I love my job and I have the best friends. I have been so busy the last few weeks, working all  day, chilling and drinking all evening.  My new job could not have worked out any better for me, its the most amazing place. I have so much fun. Now that I have been there coming up t 5 weeks Im starting to get the hang of it. Theres so many different aspects to the job, so many different trips we do – snorkel trips, stingray city, boat dives, shore dives, try dives, teaching… and the list goes on. But everyone there is so patient and willing to teach me the ins and outs of the job. I cant even begin to tell you the difference from the last place!!

This week I taught my first advanced open water students. This was sprung on me one morning, “have you done it before Kim?” nope. “ok well its easy!” Ok lets give this a go… and yes it was easy. It was more playing underwater than proper teaching. The advanced course is more about giving divers more experience. But these guys had about 80 dives each, so they knew what they were doing anyway. The easiest students. I even had to guide a night dive for them. This is on a reef that I dont really know yet, haha! Imagine at night when you can only see a few feet?! But I didnt get lost, I had an amazing time, and I forgot how incredible night dives are. Its like having the biggest cocoon around you. I even forget im underwater. We also say the most incredible things. Two octopus – 1 feeding, a squid who then inked in one of the guys faces, and 2 moray eels. We played with the bio-luminescent  plankton with our torches off, and then I managed to take us back to the starting point :). Jessika also came on the dive, just for fun. But it was so nice to have her there. This was the first dive weve ever done together before,  and just knowing she was around if i got lost was nice! But it was awesome, really loved it.

I also certified 2 open waters this week too. This was another surprise as another instructor Carl had been put down to teach them, however at literally the last minute they realised these people had requested a female (a patient, nice, female!). Theres 3 female instructors – one was off work, and one was ill! leaving me. But I had an absolute ball with these people. They were a couple from New York, who had had a bad experience. She (Barbara) didnt want to give it a go again as she had been scared off, but she wanted to try for her husband. It was her 61st birthday holiday and promised him she would try one more time. But I took the skills really realy slowly, had nice chats in between, and she ended up absolutely loving it. Infact she begged to re-do skills just for fun!! My favourite part was her name for me – Princess Kim. Haha! I was so proud of her when she managed to complete the course. Her least favourite skill was mask clearing, which is literally the last skill they have to complete at depth in the ocean. When she did it, I did a few flips underwater – which i could hear her laughing at. But I was so proud! She was such a challenge. Her hsband on the other hand was another story. In the water he was great, however out of it there was a major problem. Motion sickness. Infact after our first dive we had to sit out of the water for 3 hours while he recovered. But he also managed to find some pills to take, and got through the course. As a thankyou they bought me dinner and drinks on their last evening here. As well as offering me 2 of their houses to stay in when I eventually get to NY. Such a nice couple!

Trying to think of funny stories, I know lots have happened to me but thats the problem with not writing the blog often! Will have a think and get back to you 🙂

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New Job

Well Im now onto my second job in the space of 3 months. Not ideal in any stretch of the imagination! But every day that goes past Im pleased I left the previous school. Its now been over 3 weeks (if id stayed I probably wouldnt have had a day off in that time!) and I still feel the same, so Im damn sure I made the right decision. I started my new job on Saturday, and unfortunately the weather in Cayman is quite windy. This means that my job of DSDS that every new person is put on for at least a week, is out of the question. The waves are huge, and crashing against the rocks. No way can I conduct a lesson safely in that! We may get in, but we’d never come out…!! This means my days have been mostly pottering around the dive shop with the other instructors doing little tasks here and there. But the atmosphere in this shop is completely different. Its happy!! Everyone loves it, and laughs and smiles, and mostly seem to actively want to help me. A world away from the last place. Infact I was reminded of this today when I helped load tanks onto one of our boats. Because of the weather all the boats on this side of the island are going out of one dock – Red Bay, in the South, as its more protected and the dive boats can still run. So its pretty busy there at the moment. One guess on who I ran into?Oh yes. My old boss. I walk along the dock and whisper to one of my friends and now work collegues “just the person I didnt want to see…” and nodded towards him. At which point my friend grabs me in a massive hug, laughs loudly and says just laugh. Show him how much more fun we are, ahahaha.” which in itself was funny, and genuinely made me laugh. However, I walk towards the old boss getting ready to smile and say hi but keep walking.

Needn’t have bothered to worry as what does he do? Sees me, and looks up the sky pretending he hasnt. What a child. That is what I had to deal with. Hilarious. Oh well, MUCH better off now!!!!!

Another weather related story for you. On Saturday the wind was so strong and the waves huge. Really reminded me of the North Sea in winter. All shore diving was closed – very obviously, big signs across pathways, all the ladders to get in and out were pulled up etc. However 2 fools decided to go for a dive. Yes, this ended in a rescue. Police jetskis had to race out to sea and haul them on board. Except pulling a SCUBA diver onto a jet ski had consequences. It overturned and put both the diver and rescuer into the water (keep remembering the huge waves, dangerous conditions!). The diver was made to take off his equipment (duh!!) and leave it attached to a mooring. The other diver had already lost theirs to the sea. Anyway, short version, a helicopter was then involved in the rescue and 4 days later? The equipment is still tied to the mooring. And we found out today that the people were 2 experienced staff members working for a big underwater photography dive centre. Idiots!!! Prime example of dive instructors thinking they are above everyone and everything else! Including mother nature!

A funny photo that appeared on my facebook, taken by one of my friends who works for another dive shop is one whereby a huge moray eel tried to eat a pufferfish. What happened? Oh yes, the puffer fish puffed. And killed the moray. An event that must happen, but rarely seen. Incredible picture!! Just begging for funny captions ! (at last count on facebook there were 78 attempts). Can you think of any?

Had a great night last night for St Georges Day. In true British style I wore my Union Jack t-shirt (more tasteful than it sounds), had 3 friends over for pizza, and sat on my balcony drinking rum and laughing at British versus American accent arguments on the internet. Lovely evening, I cant remember the last time I laughed so much. I also introduced them all to my favourite British band – rizzle kicks. They didnt appreciate it, and infact were still talking about it today in a ‘i cant believe it’ way. One day they’ll come round. Probably the day one of them lives with me and is forced to listen day in day out 🙂

 

Hopefully the wind will die down tomorrow and my proper dive instructoring can begin! But even if it doesnt, Im still happy!

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Arrived back in Cayman with a mixture of sadness and happiness. It does feel like home, but at the same time Ive loved being around my family and miss them all. Sometimes I really feel the distance! But who can stay miserable for long when landing on a beautiful Caribbean island? I was slightly concerned about immigration, as a stupid woman at Miami airport gave me a huge lecture and refused to give me my boarding pass for a while. She wanted proof that I was leaving Cayman sometime in the future, or wanted to see my work permit. Both I have, neither on me at the time. She was rude, and unhelpful but thankfully gave in after her threats about “well you will have to pay a 50,000$ fine if you arrive in cayman and cant prove yourself”. To which I told her I had already been there, was living there, knew I had done everything right and could I have my boarding pass please. Will try and avoid this particular airline in the future!!!

I needn’t have worried. Lovely woman on immigration wanted to chat about diving, checked my passport visa stamp from before, and absolutely was more than happy to give me a 6 month stamp – without having to prove anything! Even ended our conversation with ‘welcome back home my lovely’. I love the Cayman people :). Immigration at USA was another story completely. And I didnt even stay 3 hours there!!!!

Miami airport was a total nightmare. Took nearly 3 hours to get through passport control, customs, check in and then to my gate. 3 hours?!!!! Ive done that in other airports in 10mins!!! Awful. No time for my planned rucksack shopping!

I was lucky to be picked up from the airport by one of my friends, Jeremy, who took me home via Rackams :). And what a welcome. Noone really knew I was coming home, but as always a huge crowd there. The amount of hugs I got, and nice things people said – wow, they are such amazing people. Im lucky to have friends like these! I also told some of them that I was sad to have left UK (for the first time ever!!!), missed my family. However, they all said they were my stand in family here….! They did a great job of cheering me up, and it was a really nice evening. Sadly due to UK time difference, it was 4.30am and I was exhausted, so had to turn down the offer of going to my favourite beach club – Royal Palms, and headed home for bed.

But Ive made it home, and today have done the worst part of my Cayman living – going to the supermarket. Only because I have to ride home on my bike with all my purchases. Im not very good at weight distribution, so my bike always leans to one side and I constantly have to fight it. As well as having an incredibly heavy bag on my back! Its a terrible 15 mins (I also ride slowly). Everytime I go, I promise myself to buy as little as possible, today I thought I did pretty well. But nope. Complete opposite! These are the times I wish I had a car.

Had a very long nap this afternoon, and since have been saving phone numbers into my new blackberry (thanks Sarah 🙂 I love it!). Start my new job on Saturday, not too enthusiastic about it after the last one went so wrong… But seeing as the woman in the beauty salon where I had my eyebrows threaded today, even she knew that the Lobster Pot was a dodgy place to work. I briefly mentioned to her that I had been working there but left, and she immediately went ‘ohhh didnt work out for you? funny place that… hear of many people leaving there, not getting on with it’. Wonder why. Oh well, new start(ish!) So fingers crossed this will work out better!!!

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Holiday time!

Im not going to lie, I quite like the fact that my holiday is going to the UK. Gone are the days when my holiday involved getting up early for the airport, incredibly excited to fly to a hot exotic island for some sea and sand. This is now my normal day to day life, and instead I’m getting up early to fly to a freezing cold, pretty grey, heavily populated country! But how exciting. This trip came out of nowhere, I was not expecting to come home anytime soon. So since it was sorted and booked I had been terribly excited to come and see family and friends!!

I have kept it quite quiet that Ive returned home. If you are reading this and find yourself cross that I didnt meet up with you, I apologise. It does not mean I dont love you! But firstly I have no car so its very difficult to get from place to place, and also Ive been working very hard the last 3 months, so want some relaxing time with little running about!

Ive been home nearly a week now. Nothing has changed here – perfect. When you are away from your home you dont want anything to change. There have been vicious rumours about family moving away to the otherside of UK (well, its bloody far anyway), but thankfully these have not materialized so I returned to my lovely country home in the middle of nowhere. No beaches in sight! I have however, been moved out of my room. All of my belongings are in boxes at various points around the house so it is interesting to try and pinpoint particular items I wish to take back with me! My mother is most proud of her boxing up though, with them all labelled with helpful things like ‘special items’ and ‘memorable’. Although I really cant comment too much as anyone who knows me will know that I am a massive hoarder. I cant help it! Many things are special to me and create memories, so I wish to keep them forever. This doesnt go down well with the people that have to live with these….and move with them… and keep them until I settle down somewhere (can ANYONE see that happening any time soon?!). But all credit to my mother, she supposedly didn’t throw anything away – something she has been in huge trouble from me many times in the past!

The time is flying by though. Only a week left, but it has been fantastic. Just with the family so far. EVERYONE was there at the airport to collect me – what an incredible welcome. Means so much to me! Very few occasions when everyone is all together. And have spent the last week going from house to house catching up with everyone. Many alcoholic drinks have been involved – the norm for my family, including my favourite. A bottle of Verve shared with my parents 🙂

I have a very special family. Individually we are all pretty normal, but together somehow things turn a little strange. Now I know when im back with my family when someone runs (repeatedly) outside to throw a pink hairbrush at a squirrel. I dont know what the hairbrush has done to deserve this kind of treatment. 

As well as a hilarious conversation with my mother over dinner.

*spoken quietly* “Madre, you have some food on your nose”,

“oh no! do i?? how awful!!! *wipes it away* At least its not as bad as having spinach in your teeth! That really is terrible” *laugh and smiles, displaying a large piece of spinach in her teeth*

“well you have that too……”

Many issues going on with other family members who are in big trouble (no names mentioned!), and always a laugh with Charles – mainly swapping insults but involving many many laughs.

A brilliant trip to Griffin Park to watch Brentford slaughter Bury 3-0 with 3 wonderful goals!! That definitely made my month. I really miss football, especially the bees!! What a wonderful game to come home for. Funniest moment however was the ball hitting a man in the crowd and breaking his glasses. He then screamed for the steward to come over to ‘sort out’ some young boy who he saw laugh at him. It was amusing! ‘or we can take it outside, come on!’ Poor boy.

A trip today into Windsor ended in my little brother and niece trying to drag me into a tattoo parlour “but we just want to waaaatch. Please Auntie Kim!!!! I will pay you ten pounds if I can watch. I just want to see how much it hurts. Come on!!”

Then this evening we had a lovely trip down to the local pub. I was wrapped up in my coat, scarf and hat – much to the others amusement. It is cold though, I could see my breath!!! We took the dogs and sat in the garden, with the midges biting my mothers head. Next week when I sit and have a drink in the warmth, in tshirt and shorts, next to the Caribbean I will remember this. Huge contrast!

 

I love my family. Its great to see them 🙂

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How could I forget – weird Cayman waters..

How could I forget to mention that weird things are happening in Cayman at the moment. Big animals are being attracted here all at the same time, and its very bizarre. Im not going to complain though! 2 weeks ago a whale shark was spotted on the Kittiwake by another company that works out of our dock. Sadly for these guys they thought it would be a good idea to ‘ride’ it – holding onto its dorsal fin. This is illegal, and punishable with a fine of up to 500,000$. It is also ridiculous. These beautiful fish NEVER come to Cayman, and now its been scared away by some idiots!! (one of the idiots is actually my friend, so i cant be too harsh, but I still think it was very stupid). 

A few days after, the other company working out of our dock spotted  a hammerhead shark just off the wall at Calico Jacks – very rare, and very exciting!!!

And lastly, little ol’ me spotted a manta ray on the opposite side of the island to where they usually are, in shallow waters. It was amazing, it actually turned and swooped back round to come and have a look at me and my divers. We just hung in the water column and watched if for a couple of mins before it swam off. Annoyingly I turned around to see the only member of our dive group who had a camera, with his head stuck in a rock taking photos of something tiny. He had missed it completely! Even though my loud continuous banging on my tank (later compared to a jackpot winning prize noise) got everyone elses attention, and the fact that we were all just sitting in the middle of the blue looking out to sea. All of these signs Bill missed. He is the most adorable old man though, Ive never met anyone nicer to dive with. Every single dive he would surface and let out a ‘wow, that was an incredible dive! how beautiful! thank you so much for such a wonderful dive’ (even if it was rubbish, he genuinely had such a great time!). So I was quite disappointed for him that he missed it, although being Bill he was just really happy we all saw it!! The strangest past about the manta? It was the same one I spotted a few weeks ago on the other side of the island! What kind of a coincidence is that?!! I think it wants to be my friend. The customers now call me manta girl 🙂 . Im not complaining. Ive had worse nicknames!!!

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All Change

Well a lot has happened in the last week. Ive quit my job, booked tickets home (I think), accepted another job and had many a drink with friends contemplating over my decisions!!! Let me elaborate.

There has been mention in previous blogs of one of the other instructors I work with who is, lets just say, not very nice to me. That is a massive understatement, but Ive just got on with it – struggled, im not going to lie, but just kept my head down and hoped it’d get better. It didnt, it got worse. And when I ascend from a dive to get literally screamed at infront of customers and told to ‘go back on another dive, as I cant stand to see your face on this boat anymore’ and then referred to as ‘useless crap’ – enough is enough. So many people try to make excuses for him, but at the end of the day he is a miserable, nasty, completely up himself individual. He thinks he’s so much better than everyone else. At the end of the day, I am a new instructor, I will make mistakes, but the key is to help me and prepare me so I dont make as many as if im left to my own devices! Sadly this did not happen, I was basically left to work everything out alone. Once I asked for help from this twat and was told ‘to work it out myself’. Pardon? Ive never done this, have no idea. ‘work it out’ *and so he storms off leaving me with a boat in each hand…*. I could continue these stories, but I wont, I think my point has been made. This kind of treatment has stressed me out, makes me continually on edge incase im going to do something wrong and be screamed at, and generally led to me being miserable at work. Does my boss know? Is normally the next question. Yes, and no he doesnt care. So in a nutshell this is why I am leaving my first dive job after 3 months.Diving is meant to be ‘fun fun fun’, how can you pretend to be so happy with the customers if this kind of stuff is going on??

Anyway enough moaning! I have been offered another job at a company nearer to my house, much more directed to new instructors – they actually have a training programme!! wow!! that sounds like bliss?!!! They may help me!! Another plus is that its a much larger company, and I know about 15 people there already. I hang out with these guys in the evening when they do ‘social nights’ – ie. customers give them crates of beer, and I help them drink it all! Even a couple of my best friends on the island work here, and Ive spent hours talking to them abotu the work – what is involved etc etc, but asking many people the most interesting thing (and important to me) is that yes it will be harder work than my previous job, but they all say how happy they are at work. That is why I am going there, they act like a family, and the boss seems to be an incredibly nice man! It is also very well run. Bad points, there are a couple, but fingers crossed the good points will far outweigh the negative!!!!

So inbetween finishing at wall to wall and starting at don fosters, I am returning home for 2 weeks. It seemed a great time to take advantage of it, as I cant see it happening again possibly this year. So I am very very excited that in exactly one week from now I will be packing and preparing to get up early to head home!!! To other clothes, tea, family and no work (yep the early mornings do get to me!). Speaking of early mornings, a couple more plus points about my new job are that I can get up half an hour later, and I will get a set one day off a week! I can plan my life!!! Other than this ridiculous random phone calls at 9pm telling me to take the next day off, occasionally. In 3 months, I think Ive missed out on about 5 days off. Ah well, its over. Hopefully it can only get better 🙂

As Julie poined out though, my life on the island is awesome. It couldnt be better – except the job. We had so much fun last night playing drunken crazy golf. Well I was drunk, not too sure about the others. Jeremy and I had been in Rackams since 4pm, at 8.30 we decided to go and play, and took a group of us up there. Pretty good course, was impressed! Trying to remember any other news to write about, but think that may be it! Enough for now anyway 🙂

xxxxxxx

Slight out of air situation….

Just a short blog. I could have died today. Well thats quite extreme, but hey :). My first real out of air situation. I was teaching (not the best circumstances…!) at La Mesa (a beautiful table top reef), checking my air going into the water – full tank, swam round for bit showing the students bits and pieces. Infact I found a very rare fish called the masked hamlet. Its only found in 4 places in the world! Checked my air, had plenty, swam round the corner, took a breath and felt huge resistance. Immediately thought thats not right, checked air gauge, empty tank. Shit. What to do? Surface too far, 3 students in the water, absolutely no choice but to share air with them.

Nearest diver to me, thankfully the only certified diver in the group! Grabbed his octopus, bless him he didnt really understand but didnt put up too much of a fight. But luckily we were right next to the mooring line, so swam straight to it directing my students there too, and ascended. Its very hard breathing from someones octo and trying to keep an eye on all my students. If anything had happened to them it would have been a terrible situation!!!!!! Thankfully we all ascended without further incident, and they didnt seem to mind so much, made a joke out of it – and they are coming back on Tuesday for me to finish their certifications! But my next dive after? I checked my air every minute :). Thats going to stay with me for a very long time!!!!!!

xxxx