A Travellerspoint blog

Quick update

Just want to thank everyone for reading my blog, it's a really fun thing to write and I enjoy it loads, but if I wasn't getting feedback I think I would've probably given up a while ago. It's really nice to know that people are relatively interested or that I'm that interesting. Anyway sorry for the bulk upload, I've been travelling and have found it hard to get internet along the way. I'm now in China and I'll be starting a new blog for this leg of the trip. It shouldn't really change much, I'm guessing it will just pop up on the home page as usual, but I will be calling it 'China' rather than 'Joe's blog' if there are any complications finding it. I also now have internet which means it will be one update every 3 days (like it used to be) hope you all keep enjoying it! Much love.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:39 Comments (5)

Bye bye Havelock, gonna miss you!

Day 70 – Monday 2nd April

Can’t believe I’ve been gone for 10 weeks now, really sad to be coming to the end of my India stint and it feels like the last 10 weeks have flown by and I’ve barely been here a fortnight. To be fair I have sort of cheated by staying in the Andamans for almost half that time as they barely count as India, as the islands are a world away from the chaos back on the mainland. We spent this evening sitting around the campfire just shooting the shit and listening to this amazing Swedish guy play the guitar. It’s so cool to be somewhere where you can just decide to get some wood and start a fire on a deserted beach, a luxury I probably won’t find in Beijing! This morning I finally had the chance to get up nice and late which felt amazing! I had to get back to work though as my washing has piled up as I haven’t had any time to do it of late. It took a good 2 hours to get through all the stuff I had space to hang up, still a few more things to get through though. When I finally got through all of this, me and Dad headed down South on the island to go on a little drive and check out the beaches down there and see a bit of the countryside and farms along the way. This island is so beautiful and it’s crazy that I’ve been here so long and I’ve barely seen any of it. Me and Dad and a few others then went to movie night at one of the other guest houses to watch ‘lock stock and two smoking barrels’ obviously I’ve seen it before, but it was cool to see some civilization on TV and the place had really nice food as well. Didn’t really watch the film, instead just spent the time talking to everyone, then came back here for the campfire. One more night left here, I don’t wanna go. );

Day 71

There it is, my last day done in Havelock, here I am sitting in my hut for the 35th night in a row and there’s nowhere I want to stay more in the world. I had a really good last night though, just pissing around with everyone and staying up into the early hours. The last week or so we’ve had a really awesome group of Sweeds staying here and just spent the night hanging out with them. Spent the start of the day finishing off all my washing, then headed down to the dive centre to finish off a few things on my application and say goodbye and stuff. I tell them I need to pay and they can’t get the books out quick enough and grab the money out my hand, then I only needed them to take a picture of me and sign a couple things which wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, and no lie I sat there for 30 minutes waiting for them to do anything. It’s so depressing how they just don’t give a shit after all the time I spent there, one of the instructors even told me ‘I’ve got better things to do’ and just sat back down on his arse. Bastards! Anyway eventually one of the nicer instructors sorted it out and I said goodbye to him and no one else and just fucked off. Me, Dad and Nico went out for dinner at a fancy restaurant for our last night and had a really nice meal, unfortunately this French guy tagged along and he didn’t keep his mouth shut, the whole time it was literally non-stop talking. Impossible to get a word in edgeways is an understatement, so he sort of ruined the mood. We managed to ditch him and head back to the hostel where Anton (the guitarist) was doing what he does best and playing literally any song you could imagine, he was like a jukebox, people would ask for the weirdest songs and he’d just start playing like that. It was really nice to have this on my last night and makes it even harder to leave this place.

Day 72

So we left Havelock today and got on a ferry to the main island where we have to stay one night before the flight back to the mainland tomorrow. Got up nice and early, and got going to the jetty, really sad to have to drive past everything I’ve seen for the last 5 weeks and sorta say goodbye to the guest house and the supermarket and all the little places you always walk by, seeing them for the last time. It didn’t get me down too much, I feel like my mind is completely focused on the nightmare that will be Beijing and no emotions can really get in the way of the absolute fear of this huge city of which I know nothing about. So we got off the ferry and we decided to spend our last night in a really fancy hotel (Dad’s treat) and boy was it nice. It was clean, air conditioned, had a great view and amazingly a hot shower! Haven’t had one of those since I left England, it felt really bizarre, but to be honest in this heat it’s not completely necessary. The bed and the pillows and everything was just so bloody nice, makes me not want to have to go back to the crappy places I’ve had to stay at up until now and from now on. It was cool to spend the day in Port Blair as well, completely different feel to Havelock, due to the fact that it was actually a busy place and not just an empty island, shops everywhere and people beeping their horns and things, back to the real India I guess. The main task of the day was that I had to go to a hospital to get a physician to sign off on me to say I’m fit to be a Divemaster. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given the proper form by the dive centre (unsurprising given all the shit I’ve been through so far) so the doctor wouldn’t sign it. I then went to get the right form, but due to the internet being ridiculously slow (1kb/s) it’s not normally that bad but it meant that to download 3 sheets of a4 paper took around 2 hours! Unbelievable and so frustrating that my last day had to be spent in an office waiting for this bloody thing. By the time we got it there was no point in going to the hospital so me and Dad went out for dinner with Nico. Despite it being a really spicy place, it was really tasty. We then went back to our luxury hotel and watched the film Bridesmaids (which is hilarious) then went to bed relatively early to go on what’s likely to be another wild goose chase for a physician tomorrow morning before I get my flight.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:38 Archived in India Comments (1)

Time to enjoy Havelock again!

Day 67 – Friday 30th March

Got up nice and late today, and after a good while I managed to move from my bed and into a hammock (super strenuous) and got some breakfast brought to me, god I love mornings like this. When you’ve been busy all the time, it’s hard to remember what it’s like just to lie back and enjoy the pure bliss of this island. I’ve been here a month and I could do about 10 more. This place completely changes your mind frame, Dad just sits around all day doing absolutely nothing and doesn’t get bored (never known him to be so lazy) and I completely understand, when the world around you is perfect there’s no real need for lots of distractions. After a couple easy hours in the hammock, I got down to work on doing some much needed washing and due to my lack of time over the last couple of weeks, I really had absolutely nothing clean left and a s**t ton of stuff to wash, so in Andaman time this was a full day’s activity. After this I went to the internet café to update the blog, sorry for the week wait for that one, but I did upload 2 for the price of 1. Went to do my snorkel test, but they couldn’t really be arsed to sort it out, and after a little wait they all just disappeared for dinner. Quite frustrating how they just don’t care about me whatsoever despite all the time I’ve spent working for them! I’m sure they’ll be interested when it’s time for me to pay the bill. So after this just hung out with a few people at the guest house, and got to bed relatively early for an early start for diving tomorrow.

Day 68

Went fun diving this morning for the first time in years. Not having to be supervising or leading a dive or just being watched all the time is so nice, I could just go around doing what I wanted and we went to the 2 best dive sites in the Andamans. Bloody awesome morning! Me and Dad tried a different dive company to where I’ve been doing the Divemaster and the whole experience was so much better, the instructors were really nice and actually gave people an ounce of respect! Really nice to enjoy diving again, and remember why I actually want to do it. One problem is that I’ve only got a few days left and I’m busy every day, the best part about this place is the doing nothing and watching the waves go by in a hammock. I also just want to stay up late and drink with everyone, because I’m going to bed around 12 and you hear them partying well into the early hours. After diving, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening just hanging around with everyone, and had an early dinner and a pretty quiet night. Not only because of the early start today, but I’ve got to wake up at 5:30 tomorrow for a day fishing trip on a boat, which should be pretty horrific (the wake up, not the actual trip although they both could be terrible, who knows?)

Day 69

Went fishing properly today for the first time in my life! So I woke up at 5:30, when humans should not really be awake, but I guess fishermen are just weird like that. So me and Nico met up with this crazy English fisherman who spends his time travelling around the world looking for the best places to fish and spends like 7-8 hours a day every day on a boat. He also carries around like 8 rods with him all the time, which I’m sure is a nightmare for customs, but it meant we all had something to use. After about 10-15 minutes on the boat one of the rods was already reeling and Nico got the first go and pulled in a massive kingfish (see pics). Then we just drove around for a few more hours trying every different style of fishing with all the different rods just trying to catch something. Eventually I caught a baby barracuda which was embarrassing compared to what Nico got, but at least it was something. But the real catch came a while after that when the reel was going crazy and I grabbed it and on the end was a huge motherfucker, it took all my strength just to keep him there as I slowly had to reel in what felt like 200 metres of line, but then eventually after my arms almost falling off, this giant trevally turns up and we haul him onto the boat. He was huge, a good 7kg, it was bloody awesome to get something that big and well worth the wait. The English guy caught a couple more fish and we did a bit more driving around and eventually got back around 2. We then ate all the small fish for lunch and kept my beast for dinner, and gave the other big one to the boat boys for their dinner. After a nice relaxing afternoon, we had my fish for dinner, and it fed 10 people! It was really nice as well, feel like a true pro feeding the whole village with my mighty fishing skills. It was a fun day all in all but I’m so god dam tired I’m not doing anymore activities on Havelock before I leave.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:37 Archived in India Comments (1)

Joe - Divemaster extraordinaire

Day 64 – Tuesday 27th March

Finally went to a dive site called Dixon’s today, for weeks people have been banging on about how amazing it is and how it’s definitely the best dive site here. I mean it wasn’t bad but it really wasn’t the best dive site ever, and the hype was always going to outlive the truth. The problem is all these people who say it’s the best dive site in the world have only ever dived here in the Andamans or somewhere even worse like Thailand. We did see a couple of cool things like a group of about 30 sleeping sting rays slowly wake up from under the sand 1 by 1 as we went over them and a huge school of barracuda. The best thing about the day was the fact that I was leading the dive, which is always a good laugh and everyone survived and we didn’t get lost so it was successful all in all. We managed to be done by 12:30 which was a really nice change so me and Marcel went to the jetty to pick up my new visa, which was unsurprisingly not ready yet ‘why you come so early?’ because yesterday you had a go at me for not coming in the morning you f**king idiot! Went back later and it still wasn’t ready but luckily as I was leaving the phone rang and they were getting my visa faxed through. So I’ve got that sorted finally which is very useful. Then when I got back me, Dad and Nico went for dinner at one of the more upmarket restaurants on the island. It was really nice, and Nico is always a really good person to talk to as he’s a doctor so he has a lot of stories and just generally knows a lot.

Day 65

God I’m getting so f**king close to finishing this Divemaster I can almost taste it, I’ve just got to cross off a couple of things and then I can officially tell people I’m a Divemaster (something I’m already telling people, especially the girls.) So today I had to supervise an open water course which consisted of two French girls (12 and 13) and an Israeli guy. They were all really good eventually, obviously it was a shaky start, something you’d expect with people so young. They were all really friendly and most importantly the instructor was very happy with my assisiting skills so she signed me off on that. I also did my 800m timed snorkel test which I took easy because I’ve already made up all the points I need, so I only got a 2 on that, but it meant that I wasn’t dying afterwards and I could actually walk. When I got back, went out for dinner with Dad, Marcel and one of the other divers from yesterday’s trip to Dixon’s. Obviously had fish again, went a day without yesterday and I was having withdrawal symptoms so I decided to get a massive one ( big enough for 2) which made up for it. Starting to feel so good about getting to the end of this bloody course, tomorrow I should be done which is just mind blowing to me. The past 3 weeks are just a blur to me, I’m guessing I’ve just blocked all the miserable long days out, just can’t wait to be free to enjoy this island.

Day 66

F**k! This is what euphoria feels like, I’m finally all done, I’m a Divemaster b**ches! Ah God I’m so happy, I’m now a free man it’s all done, don’t get me wrong it was fun but no one likes getting up early and finishing late when you’re supposed to be on holiday. Had to take my open water students out on their first proper dives in open water today, they were all really good and I didn’t have to do anything, my mind was elsewhere anyway to be honest. After I was done with this I had one last thing to get done the final exam, so I sat down to spend the afternoon swatting, but people kept on turning up and distracting me. Couldn’t focus on the books at all and after a few hours of learning nothing I thought I might as well just take it and see what happens. Literally new nothing, but managed to scrape through with only 11 wrong which isn’t too bad. All that matters is that it was good enough to pass and there it was, the end! I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I’ve got my snorkel test tomorrow, which should be a good laugh, for everyone else except me. If I haven’t mentioned it already it’s where they pour disgusting drinks down a snorkel with the ultimate goal of trying to make you sick. So I got back here after the exam, had a couple well deserved drinks and then we all went out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Then I went to the dive centre for one of the staff’s leaving party, it was pretty lame so I didn’t stay too long. Then just spent the rest of the night hanging out just feeling so god dam happy and I was able to stay up nice and late as there’s no need to get up tomorrow  Oh YASS!!

Posted by travellingjoe 03:34 Archived in India Comments (2)

So close, I can almost taste it!

Day 61 – Saturday 24th March

Just got back from a proper fishing trip, on a boat! I mean we were still just using hooks on lines reeled around pieces of woods, but this time instead of going to the jetty these two Indian ‘fishermen’ took us to all the closest dive sites to catch lots of fish. After the first 10 minutes we had like 5 fish it was awesome someone was catching something every minute, except me. Dad caught a really cool looking fish, can’t remember what it was, but then after this quick start we didn’t catch another fish for like 2 hours, and then we eventually gave up after a good 3 hours in total. Despite the fact that I should really be against fishing at dive sites, I had a really good time, and it was nice just to sit and stare at the stars and chat with everyone, and I didn’t even catch anything, so I guess that’s my contribution to the dive environment. The rest of the day was pretty hectic, in the morning I had my 400m timed swimming test which was unbelievably tiring and considering I probably have the same fitness as Johnny Vegas due to years of not playing sport, I didn’t do so bad. My time actually gave me a 3 out of 5 which is bloody good, and I beat Craig’s time when he’s super fit and used to be a swimming champ which is enough for me. I did pretty much pass out about 3 times after it was done and just wanted to be sick everywhere. I also did my 100m timed tired diver tow, which wasn’t so bad and got a 5 in that. Next we did the equipment exchange stress test which involves completely swapping all your equipment except wetsuits (everything, mask, tank etc.) whilst only using one tank to breathe and only taking 2 breaths at a time. Safe to say it’s fucking difficult and unsurprisingly super stressful but I did it and my instructor was pretty happy.

Day 62

Today I got to go on the snorkelling trip to a tiny island like 2 hours away, which was effectively a day off for me. Spent the way there sleeping on the boat, then when we got there swam around the island snorkelling and saw so much cool stuff, it was an awesome island and the marine life was just as good as pretty much any dive site here, which is why it’s a national park and they limit going there to just snorkelers. So it was a really nice chilled out morning and then I had the rest of the afternoon off just doing nothing. Eventually we all went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant, the current group of ‘we’ right now refers to Nico (a German doctor), Marcel (kiwi diver), Dad and me. So yeah, good dinner, then me Marcel and Nico came back here to have some beers and listen to music. I’ve got the day off tomorrow (first in 3 weeks of 6 o’clock wake ups) which meant I could stay up nice and late without worrying about feeling super tired the next day. It was nice just to sit around playing cards for a few hours and not constantly worry about the next day.

Day 63

Had a day off today! As I said before, the first day in 3 weeks where I didn’t have to wake up at 6am which was absolutely amazing. Ended up staying up way too late last night and only got up at 11 so I sort of wasted it. Otherwise, it was a pretty productive day, I had a huge breakfast, for once, mango shake, banana pancake and eggs on toast. Needless to say but that was much better than the usual porridge I have to eat every morning when the kitchen isn’t even open. Then me and Nico went to the police station to get our Andaman visas extended (you can stay here for 30 days and then you can get a 2 week extension on top of that if you need). Being India we assumed it would be more difficult than needed, which it wasn’t really. Except the fact that the police man had a go at us for not turning up in the morning despite the station being open 24 hours! But yeah filled out a couple of forms gave him a photocopy of pretty much everything he could imagine and it’ll be ready tomorrow. Stopped by the internet on the way back, then came back here to swat up for my exam later (you didn’t think I’d have a complete day off now did you). Eventually went to take the exam feeling very unconfident, but managed to beast it and only got 1 wrong. After I was done, we all agreed to meet at beach 7 (the beach on the west side of the island, famed for its beauty and sunsets) it was actually a bit shit. It was just a bigger version of the beaches here, so a bit less island vibe, and the sunset was lame, it was pretty much hidden and yeah nothing specil. Safe to say I don’t feel too guilty having not been there in 3 weeks. The one good thing was the road on the way there was super windy and up and down and super fun to drive along on the bike. Did bump into one of the girls who left like 2 weeks ago to go to the other islands, and I keep hearing people dissuade me from leaving Havelock. Something you don’t have to tell me twice, I can’t be bothered moving from this paradise right now or ever really. Went out for dinner and had fish (again) pretty much every day for the past 10 days, then came back here and hung out with Marcel for a bit and we both got to bed early for diving tomorrow.

Posted by travellingjoe 03:32 Archived in India Comments (0)

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