A Travellerspoint blog

Slowly getting there

Day 58 – Wednesday 21st March
Potentially the worst day I’ve had so far in all my travels. So I turned up to the dive centre 10 minutes late, no lie the first time I’ve ever been late and as I say it was only by 10 minutes! But my instructor was on his period or something, he was just in the worst mood from the start so he used this lateness as an excuse to be a d**k to me. No point in me going in to all the detail of what he was like all day but it was just unbelievable and I pretty much had to do everything as he sat there and slept, while all his students are asking me questions and one of them was terrified of going down so I had to give her a 10 minute pep talk and managed to get her down eventually. Anyway long story short he was being an a**hole. So it got to the end of the day and I had my debrief with him and my main instructor, and he sat there and just lied about everything I did all day right to my face! I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at anyone, I don’t have time to waste days assisting instructors if they’re not gonna sign me off. Moving on, don’t want to talk about him anymore he doesn’t deserve my breath. After this episode, came back home to have a nap before dinner, and didn’t wake up till half 9, woops! I’d ordered a lobster the day before, which the guy at the restaurant had bought for me, but he was closed by then so I felt really bad. Katie and Mirel left today, so that’s it the entire group has gone, really depressing, this place has completely lost its vibe. So glad Dad is coming tomorrow, perfect timing.

Day 59
Dad arrived today, really bizarre to see him, I haven’t seen anyone from ‘my previous life’ in 2 months. Woke up extra early today and had breakfast with the other divemaster and turned up nice and early to stick the finger up to that prat from yesterday. I was assisiting on an advanced open water course today with a Spanish guy and a French guy, so the instrusctor spoke in Spanish to one of them as I had to translate in to French for the other, a proper language nightmare, but it was all quite fun. Went on 2 pretty nice dives and she let me lead the second one which was quite nice. As I’ve said before I really like the teaching side of diving, and today was no exception, the guys were really interested and asked a lot of questions and were very happy to listen and learn. We were on the fast boat as well today so I didn’t finish so late as usual, and as it was just 2 dives it was a nice relaxing day which is exactly what I needed to get my head back on Divemaster track. So I got back in time to wait for Dad to get here off the ferry, and as I say it was very weird seeing him. We went for dinner at the fish restaurant and had that lobster I didn’t have yesterday, the first time I’ve ever had lobster. Honestly it didn’t really live up to the hype, and I’d rather save money and have a big fish instead. After this, I went to get my haircut as my clippers aren’t working at the moment, and boy did it feel good to have someone else cut my hair. I don’t think I’ve had my haircut in well over 2 years, I’ve always cut it myself and the guy was so good and gave me a little head massage after, all for like 50p, brilliant! Came back home, and had a nice early night for the first time in ages.

Day 60
Craig (the other divemaster trainee) had his ‘snorkel test’ today, which involves them putting a blacked out mask and snorkel on you, and pour a selection of different alcoholic and other disgusting concoctions into the snorkel in beer bong fashion. Unfortunately, due to the fact that he has to lead a dive tomorrow without supervision they let him go easy and all night they were like ‘yours is going to be so much worse Joe haha’ yeah great cheers for that! Had a really nice day today, I was on a boat with a really cool group of people and we went to a couple cool dive sites and I lead one of the dives, which went very well, always nice to get something else signed off. Everyday I’m getting closer and closer to finishing can’t wait to be done and be able to tell people I’m a divemaster, so don’t f**k with me. Also I just want to have a lie in! I should be able to get everything done by the 28th, but more likely the 29th. It’s looking more and more likely I won’t have the time to visit any of the other islands in the andamans, despite the fact I will have been here over 4 weeks. It is a shame, but doing Divemaster will definitely be worth it in the long run, and this island is an absolute paradise so it doesn’t matter too much. Dad rented a motorbike, which is so useful, as well as being really fun as it’s been ages since I’ve driven one. It also means I don’t have to hitch hike everywhere and I can just get up and go when I want. We had fish again for dinner, had a massive kingfish today, that’s 7 days in a row now at the same restaurant as well!

Posted by travellingjoe 23:36 Archived in India Comments (3)

so tired!

Day 55 – Sunday 18th March
Literally the best day ever today! So I got in extra early today as I had to do all the setup for the dive (getting everyone’s equipment ready) then we got on the boat to a site called Johnny’s which was absolutely beautiful. Haven’t been to a really nice dive site yet, and this place was really special and the conditions were also really good. For the first time I was with experienced divers as well so the dive wasn’t cut short by noobs using up air way too quickly, just saw way too much good stuff to name. We were on the big boat as well, which was only half full so there was loads of space to lie down and a good group of people. So the second dive we went to a dive site really close to the first one and I saw a fuc**ng manta ray!!!! My entire life I’ve wanted to see one so bad, I don’t care about sharks or anything, mantas glide so beautifully and they’re absolutely massive. My heart literally stopped when I saw it, couldn’t believe it was happening, argh god I was so bloody happy to see it! Has to be one of the best dives of my life, not just for the manta (but yeah for the manta) but the site was awesome and we saw loads of awesome things. Just got so lucky today, saw 2 sharks as well. Got back late, so went straight out to fishing with a few people (including a couple people from the dive today) obviously didn’t catch anything but had a good time. Had a few beers and chilled out on the jetty then came back and went to bed far too late, as per usual.

Day 56
I know I keep saying this but these early wake ups are really killing me, I feel so out of it all day, but I just have too much stuff to do rather than sleep and I’m only going to be on this island for a short time so I guess it’s worth it. A group of stupid Russians were on the boat today, they have to be the worst people to dive with, they’re so loud and annoying on the boat and then on the dives they just f**k about and just ruin it for the rest of the group, can’t be bothered going in to everything that they did on the dive but it wasn’t only annoying, but genuinely a safety risk to everyone else and they don’t give a s**t! The two dive sites today were also pretty lame, especially considering the fact that yesterday was so good. Most people thought the same though, wasn’t really too much to see and it was really deep so both dives were pretty short as well. And obviously the Russians made it all worse, wish they could just go back to communism and not let people out the country. The last week, all of the people from the original group have been leaving on a daily basis and there’s only me and 2 girls left (Mirel and Katie). It’s really sad, especially considering the fact that I’m diving/ fishing all day so I barely get to see them anymore. But I did go out for dinner with one of them tonight (Mirel) and it was really nice just to catch up and have some nice fish. Spent the night playing cards with the 2 of them, which I haven’t done at all in ages, which is weird as when I first got here it was all I seemed to do.

Day 57
Ok, I’m finally getting on track to finish my divemaster course, our first diving group showed up like 3 hours late, so one of the instructors just said let’s try and get some of this stuff out the way, so we just beasted through loads of practical things I needed to do. My book of all the stuff I need to get signed off on is finally starting to get filled up which is so nice to see. I also complained to the boss about how long the whole thing is taking and he’s promised I’ll be done by the 28th, God I can’t wait for that day so that going through all this bulls**t will be worth it. Due to the very late arrival of our first 2 groups this morning I finished really late today as per usual I guess, haven’t finished before 5 in ages it seems, ‘I’m too old for this ####!’ Updated the blog today, and spoke to Freddie on Facebook chat, first real contact I’ve had in ages, although it’s nice to be removed from everything I really miss speaking to everyone. So frustrating how slow the internet is, and the complete lack of skype. After dinner, went to the place next door for another live music session, it was Eilon’s last set, the guy has the best bloody voice and he’s so good at the guitar as well as I’ve said before, the live music is one of my favourite parts of travelling. It did mean another late night though, and too much to drink, I just want 1 day off, but I want this course out of the way more. It was Mirel and Katie’s last night tonight (the only 2 left from the original group) so it truly has come to an end which is depressing. But Dad is arriving the day after tomorrow which I guess is just in time, should be nice to spend time with him and hopefully get some early nights!

Posted by travellingjoe 04:25 Comments (2)

Looong days!!

sunny 38 °C

Day 52 – Thursday 15th March
Just got back from a successful fishing trip! Caught myself a chequered snapper, it wasn’t huge but it was big enough. Unfortunately I was with a stupid woman who thought it best to throw it back in without giving me a chance to stop her, it was my first ever fish and I wanted to eat the fruits of my labour, got a picture with it at least. On the way to the jetty we managed to fit 6 of us in a rickshaw, proper Indian style. Then on the way back we fit 4 grown men on a scooter, which was really funny, and wobbly as hell to say the least! I had two discover scuba divers today, the first went really well and the guy said I’d given him a life changing experience, which is always nice to hear. The second was a kid who freaked out when some water got in his mask and he threw it off, pulled out his regulator and shot to the surface. He claimed there was a fish that got into his mask, weak excuse you big girl! As if that would ever happen! Didn’t finish until 5:30 today (11 hour day) then whizzed off to fishing and got back from that really late and went straight to bed. This course and my new obsession with fishing is giving me absolutely no time to chill out, and I’m tired all the f**cking time. Ah well, could be a lot worse, I am literally on a paradise island.

Day 53
Another pretty busy day today, had an advanced open water course to supervise in the morning, which involved just sitting and watching all the students while they had to do their specific skills (like compass readings and buoyancy control). Then on the second dive with them we went to a dive site which is usually pretty average, but today it had literally the best visibility I’ve ever seen! It was like being on land, you could see for miles. All the instructors were shi**ing their pants and we made the dive last as long as possible, letting the students pretty much completely run out of air before we came up (not usual practice, I should report him to PADI.) After this, went out with one of the students, and spent the afternoon chilling out on the beach and then in the evening we all sat around drinking, when eventually a little jam session started (which it usually does eventually). It blows my mind how these people can just play random music and just make up words to sing along and stuff, and it all just sounds so good. Wish I could play an instrument, other than tapping the table out of beat with the music.

Day 54
Today was the longest day ever! As if I’m not tired of taking out Indians who can’t swim, a group of 30 fat sweaty Indian men on a business retreat turn up wanting to ‘discover scuba diving’. As these dives have to be one on one teaching we took them out in 3 separate groups of ten, and the whole process of getting their gear ready, briefing them, taking them out and eventually going on a 20-30 minute dive adds up to about 2 and a half to 3 hours per group. Not to mention the fact that these men are loud, stupid and really annoying. Safe to say all the instructors were in a c**p mood, so after about 9 hours of going back and forth and round in circles with these people we eventually finished! Doing all these discover scuba dives has nothing to do with my course, but as a Divemaster I’m allowed to take people out on them and effectively work as a free instructor for them, this means that despite being on the course for around 10 days I’ve done barely anything towards the course and instead been completely exploited. This is a very common practice and it’s for that reason I’m referred to as the DMB (Divemaster bi**h). It could be worse, the other trainee has done everything for his course bar one last thing which would only take a couple of hours at most, yet they’re keeping him waiting for days in order to use him as free labour for a little while longer. I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t paying for this course, but I am and I don’t have all the time in the world or the patience/ energy to be up every day at 6. But the fact of the matter is these people pay around 50 quid per dive (in order to have 1 on 1) and I don’t see a penny, instead I have to pay the dive school for the privilege. I’ve complained to the boss now though, and he’s been pretty reasonable and said I’m done with it and tomorrow I’m going to 2 of the best dive sites in the andamans which is good. I would’ve complained earlier but you are marked on your professionalism and willing to help all the time and I keep getting told off for other stuff and I don’t want them to just write me off. Either way, tomorrow should be really good and from then on I should be able to knock this course out ASAP!

Posted by travellingjoe 02:36 Archived in India Comments (2)

dive dive dive, not much else.


Day 49 – Monday 12th March
It was Murphy’s last night tonight, so in true Irish fashion we stayed up very late drinking a very lot. Not a good plan when I’m waking up so early to be going to bed past 2 (wasted!). Today was a pretty awesome day, we took my open water student to this dive site which has only been visited once this whole season, due to the fact it’s so hard to find and it sometimes has whirlpools. But, it was one of the coolest dive sites, I guess due to the fact that all the fish haven’t been scared away by the divers and all the coral not been touched and broken. Felt pretty cool to have been there when only one other trip has been made there all season. After we left the site and looked back, there were massive dark clouds hanging over it and you could see the sea moving around like crazy, so we got out just in time, and saw the reason why it’s so rare to go. Not really sure why this particular island gets such insane storms so often. The second dive was back where I’ve been before, and it wasn’t a particularly special dive. Yeah then the rest of the day was spent sitting with the whole gang, sending Murphy off in style.

Day 50
Woke up feeling awful today (for obvious reasons) managed to make it to the dive centre then just threw up when I got there and couldn’t even stand I felt so s**t, so I came back ‘home’ and went back to bed. Felt really nice to have the morning off for once, even if it was spent lying in bed nursing a hangover. When I got up I had to rush back to the dive centre to do a map of a dive site, which involves painstakingly going round every little turn taking compass headings and depth readings and s**t and compiling it into one stupidly confusing map which no one would ever use. It’s just part of my course, luckily I did it with the other Divemaster trainee who pretty much did all the work as I watched and pointed at s**t every now and again. Unfortunately my instructor is a strict d**k who said the map wasn’t good enough, when the other guy’s instructor was very happy with it and signed him off on it. In the evening, I had a huge fish for dinner, then went back to the dive centre as my open water student wanted to take us out for drinks. So we had the idea to sit on the jetty and try some fishing. Spent about 4 and a half hours sitting there and caught nothing, but had the best time, something really nice about fishing and of course it was good company and beers and stuff. It did mean I didn’t get back till 1 and I’m having another late night, if I keep this up I’m gonna turn into a bloody zombie.

Day 51
Managed to sleep through my alarm this morning, an obvious sign that I’m going to bed way too late, luckily though I managed to wake up naturally at 6:30 so I just threw on my clothes and ran to the dive centre. In the morning I had a woman who was afraid of water and especially of diving so she was not happy with going down at all. So I just dragged her around on the surface, bit s**t for her considering the ‘experience’ costs like 60 quid for only 30 minutes and she didn’t even go diving. After this, Craig and I (the other Divemaster trainee) had to get tested on our search and recovery skills, so an object was hidden in the water and we had to work as a team to find it. Very quickly we got very frustrated with one another, as we both wanted to go different directions and it was just taking so long to find the dam thing. After like 45 minutes of massive frustration and Craig getting very pissed at me, we eventually found it. Luckily, this was it for the day and I was done by 2 so I came back here for a much needed nap. When I got up, I went with a guy from my place and Craig to have a go at fishing again. I’m hooked on the sport (no pun intended) so it was easy to spend 3 more hours sitting there catching f**k all, I’m going every day until I’ve caught something! The best part of it all is you can just buy a load of line, some hooks and some bait all for like £1.50 for three people and get a couple of bottles and make a makeshift rod which works perfectly (except for the lack of fish so far.)

Posted by travellingjoe 03:10 Archived in India Comments (1)

Getting in to the swing of things


Day 46 – Friday 9th March
My first day doing proper dives today, by that I mean going deeper than like 10 metres and not staying within 100 metres of the shore. My first dive was taking my discover scuba divers from yesterday on their second dive to a place called ‘the aquarium’ very aptly named as there were a #### ton of different fish, however the coral here is pretty f****d due to a massive heat wave in the sea a few years back which wiped the coral of the andamans. I was leading their dive, and they were really comfortable which made the whole experience quite nice. My second dive I went down with the fun diver group (which included the German who I met in Goa, he’s been mentioned before as the German couple but due to the fact that his wife’s pregnant it was just him diving). We went down on a ship wreck, which wasn’t too bad, not a particularly special wreck but there was an electric clam hidden in the ship. You shine a light on them, and you see this electric pulse running through them, first time I’ve seen something like that it was nuts. Got let off after this and came back for a quick nap before I had to go straight back for my night dive, which wasn’t too bad, saw a massive octopus but unfortunately there was a really strong current and after a long day I couldn’t be f****d having to fight it the whole time and it was pretty cold. I’ve got a huge fear of night dives, so it’s good for me to do a few to get more comfortable with it, and this one didn’t give me any fear at all, so hopefully I’m over that because I will have to lead a night dive at some point on the course.

Day 47
These 6 O’clock wake ups everyday are killing me, I’m constantly tired, yet I have to carry around diving tanks all day and just generally be doing a lot of physical activity so I’m always so f*****g tired. But I managed to keep myself awake to go to the open mic night next door, which was awesome, this guy Elan who is staying in the same place as me is not only a really nice guy, but has an amazing voice. It’s really nice to see all these live music sessions and random jam sessions, one of my favourite parts of travelling (when people are good) just wish I knew how to play an instrument. Had some fish tonight, I know I always mention it, but the fish here is truly fresh and cooked so well as well as being dirt cheap so it’s a really nice treat to have every now and again. Had another new diver today in the morning who turned up 20 minutes late which put my instructor in the worst mood and he was such a d**k the whole time to the customer, and rushed him through the dive and s**t and just didn’t give him the usual grin you see when people get back on the surface. And on the second dive we had a couple who were really scared, and despite the fact that it was my dive to lead he kept butting in and his rushed mood and snappy tone really didn’t help them chill out, and they eventually just opted not to do the dive at all and he was just such a ##### about it. Good news is I was done by 1, so I got back here in time for a nap. As I’ve mentioned already, the evening was spent listening to some live music and then I got to bed nice an early as per usual.

Day 48
Just saw Man U beat West Brom 2-0, the first live football match I’ve seen in a while, and it was nice to see us play so well (and especially to see good old Rooney getting a couple of goals). Also saw City lost 1-0 to Swansea, which means we go top. But I’m sure none of you read this to find out football scores so I’ll move on. The morning was spent with a guy doing his open water course (the first proper course of diving) which involved spending ages in shallow water teaching him all the necessary practical skills you need to learn to pass the test. Luckily he was a really quick learner and really comfortable in the water which made it go relatively quickly. The problem was he kept asking me for help and advice on what to do, and obviously I answered all his questions. But my instructor told me off for trying to get in his way, not my fault that I’m more approachable and more willing to help and give more useful tips as it wasn’t so long ago I was in the same boat. But basically I have to keep my mouth shut from now on as I’m only the assistant instructor and we don’t want to be teaching him two different ways to do everything. The teaching is my favourite part of the course, so I’m finding it hard to stop myself, but it’s definitely made me want to get my instructor course done soon after this so I can start passing on some of my infinite wisdom and make a bit of dosh on the way. Finally got given my official Divemaster pack as well today which includes a huge encyclopaedia of diving which I’m expected to read and know very well, as well as a textbook full of tests to do, along with loads of other bulls**t I need to have. At least they give you a free bag! So when I got back I spent about 4 hours trying to knock out as much of the theory as possible, because the quicker I do all that stuff the more likely I can get this course done in 2 rather than 3 weeks. It rained like mad this afternoon for about an hour, the first time I’ve seen rain in like 6 weeks, bloody bizarre, quite fun though as everyone just ran around in the rain, like a bunch of kids jumping in puddles sort of thing. The puppies have been cleaned as well which means you can pick them up and play around and give them the proper love their little puppy eyes deserve. Ah god this place just keeps me in such a good mood all the time! The whole ### fiasco is not me doing it on purpose, rather the Indian filters on the computers in the internet café. I’ll try to swear less and edit my entries so there is no more confusion from now on.

Posted by travellingjoe 00:58 Archived in India Comments (2)

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