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! 😀