Thursday, 22 November 2007

It's Saba maaahhhhnnnnn

Saba is truly a unique place. And many weird things happen here. Many! On a daily basis. So (spoken with the typical Jamaica-like Caribbean accent) "it's Saba man" is one of the comments you'll hear very frequently here. That's the excuse, explanation and justification for practically everything.

For instance the rubbish situation. Rubbish is collected 6 days a week to avoid smells, rats etc. A couple of weeks ago, the rubbish stayed in the bins for 5 days! It started smelling badly (cause it is rather warm here) and finally, finally, the rubbish lorry passed by again and everyone was happy. What happened?

Well, the rubbish director (or whatever his title is) had decided that it's dangerous to let drunk people drive around in a huge big lorry on very narrow and steep roads, so he banned alcohol during work hours. The rubbish workers were understandably shocked, since tradition bids that they have their first Heineken around 8 in the morning. So they went on strike!

The director tried hard as he could to get other people to work for him, but with bad work conditions AND no alcohol, nobody was willing to do the job. The workers would not compromise, so the director had to give in.

And once again, peace is restored on Saba. The rubbish lorry just passed by one of my favourite watering holes, Tropic's, where I was having breakfast. And yes, the workers came in to exchange their empty green bottles for full ones. It's Saba man ;)

Now, the attentive reader may ask why I was having breakfast at 9 o'clock on a normal work day.....Thing is, I caught "it": The Saba Flu. It starts as any average flu with high fever and pain everywhere. But thanks to the climate here, it soon turns into a proper bronchitis! Bronchitis and diving don't mix well, so I've been on sick leave for a week and don't expect to be working for several days yet. Unfortunately for Sea Saba, two further colleagues are down with the same (as is approx. half of the population on the rock), so daily logistics are a complete nightmare. Vicious tongues may say they deserve this for treating their employees poorly, but of cause I would never say that.

I'm leaving Saba on 5th December, so I may actually have had my last dive here! At least that was a memorable one: a night dive with nurse sharks and huge jacks following us throughout the dive, swimming between our legs and trying to hunt in our torch light. Add to that 2 octopus in the open, 2 seahorses (one of them a very pregnant male), lobsters and shrimps everywhere and more bio-luminescense than normal - and you have one of my 5 best night dives ever.

I'm not allowed to bring my camera when I work, but on one of my days off I went fun-diving with one of our repeat guests, Paul - a really fantastic guy (why are all great men gay??) and managed to get a couple of ok shots. Here are Paul and Ken (my colleague) on the fine vessel Sea Dragon (my office):

What's with the picture on top of the post, you ask? Well, it features some key things from the past month: my niece, Bodil, who came two weeks with her fiance, Jon as well as a "Karin Special" and the nice view from Tropic's...

Bodil and Jon were great company and we even went diving together. And then I say no more, cause it's the law that whatever happens on Saba, stays on Saba ;)

The only issue was that I wanted to be a good aunt and give the young couple the opportunity to be alone for a while - which means I had to hang out in the bars every night and practically soak myself in alcohol for two weeks. It sounds tough - and it was! But I now have the respect of even the most hard-core drinkers on the island (which means a lot here - it's Saba man). And a drink got named after me: it consists of about 0,4 l of vodka (any brand) and 0,1 l of Ting (lemon-like soda). Ice cubes may be added liberally. The first times you try it, it's not really a pleasant experience, but one does get used to it ;))

Rumours about me have gone wild lately: everyone had Ken and me practically married - or maybe even already divorced (NO, we are just good friends!), but then I went to the wanna-be disco, Bel la Vita, with aforementioned Paul. After an hour of impressive dirty dancing, rumours were that I left Ken for Paul, who turned straight because of me. There are different variations of course, but they all add up to the same.

It's Saba man :D

Take care all you lovely people

Monday, 29 October 2007

Guess my life never gets boring.....

Ouch, it's been over a month since my last update.......sorrrrryyyyyyy.........

Before I forget it: Kees, thanks for your comments - I'm afraid I've lost your email address; could you give it to me again please?

Well, a month in my life is a long time and this time there have been a lot of changes; the most significant ones being that I am now single and I have quit my job.

Simon came to Saba and left again three days later. It's a complicated story. He is now staying on St. Maarten, where he is trying to find work. It was not an easy decision and we are both struggling with it, but basically we want different things in life. Luckily, I have found some fantastic friends here, who are doing their best to make me have a good time - if you're on Facebook, you can have a look at the pictures ;)

One of my issues is that I want to do this "dive stuff" all the time, not just during the winter months. That was also one of the main reasons to go to the Caribbean: there is year-round diving here.

Unfortunately, many things about the work and the diving are completely different over here. The work is physically very hard and I spend little time actually doing what I prefer to do (and am good at): diving, teaching and making sure the guests have the best possible time. To make matters worse, the diving here is not nearly as good as in South East Asia.

Life is short and I have made a commitment to myself to make the most of I have resigned and taken on a new job in the Perhentians (Malaysia), starting 1st February. The season there runs February through October, which leaves three months in the winter where one option would be to do some freelancing in Thailand.

Weather here has been really bad lately: rain, strong wind, big waves and the lots. I have not yet given a departure date, but I am looking seriously at going to Thailand soon to work there a bit before going to the Perhentians.......more to follow.....

I'm really excited about the Perhentians; back to basics :D

My niece, Bodil, and her fiance arrive in two days and are staying two weeks. But first I have to finish our monthly newsletter before tomorrow noon - and I'm not allowed to work on it during working hours, so I'm gonna leave you all again for now

Lotsa xxx


Tuesday, 25 September 2007

What did we do in the good old days?

For all you weirdo's out there, who think we cannot live without the internet: we can! It's not easy, it's not nice, but it is possible. And reduces my bad conscience for not updating the blog, sending birthday greetings etc.

So yes, after 4 weeks on the internet waggon, I'm back on the www and in touch with the world again. Just heard that Pavarotti died last month; wonder what other news I didn't hear. Ignorance can be bliss, hey?

Quite unexpectedly, bathroom renovation works started today as scheduled.....they've taken out the bathtub, so I cannot shower this week. Which is btw a bigger and rather unpleasantly smelling problem, when you have a physically demanding job in extreme temperatures......Fortunately, I have a colleague, who is both nice, lives next door AND has a cistern, which is big enough for me to have a daily shower (water supply is a big problem over here).

Remains to be seen whether works continue as planned or convert to Saba schedule...

Simon is arriving in just two weeks, yippie :) Looks like we managed to get through another long separation without visible scars or traumas.

Wheather here is still really good, with comparably calm seas most days. It will get rough in winter, but at least I'll have more experience as boat crew by then (picking up mooring lines is not as easy as it may sound to some).

Lotsa greetings to all you nice people out there. Hope it's not too cold, rainy and miserable where you are ;)


Friday, 7 September 2007

Just another day in the office

In the meantime I have moved into White Rose Cottage here in Windwardside and have got some sort of everyday life consisting of working, eating, sleeping and some socializing. I must admit that most evenings I am too tired to do anything.

Work here is physically hard and I still get at least one new bruise every day. On the other hand, it saves money for the gym and ensures that my clothes don't get too small. Oh, and I'm turning blonder each day as well ;)

I thought you'd like to see some pictures of my new home, so here they are:

The internet is still not up and running in the house, but the phone is working, so if you want to give me a call it's +599 416 2565. Please remember the time difference!! We are 6 hours behind main Europe.

I'm obviously still counting days towards Simon's arrival - still one month to go and we're not even halfway through our time apart. Sigh. Big sigh.

Since I have a day off today, I'll continue the process of making this house a home. Today's project: getting all the things that are stored in boxes out of the kitchen cabinets and clean everything. Maybe that way, I'll finally reduce the number of cockroach sightings to a reasonable level. I hope ;)

Take care you all

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Quick remark on the diving

Well, I am currently having my second day off!! Things are going well that way ;)

Work here is hard, meaning I probably won't gain any weight and I won't need a gym subscription after all.

Diving here is good: ridiculously clear blue water, pristine corals and sponges and the fish life is different from Thailand and the Philippines. Not as many different species, but some nice pelagics in addition to the smaller "stuff".

I have some nice and some very nice colleagues. We're having lots of fun in addition to some good team work.

Most of the "old" staff is leaving within the coming weeks, so we are all relatively new - which probably makes it easier to get integrated. Once Travis moves, I'll be moving into our home here: from the outside the house looks absolutely beautiful, with a really nice outdoor area and stunning views. But then again, you have stunning views everywhere on this island.

The new home also features a guest room, which my niece, Bodil and her boyfriend, Jon, will inaugurate end October, when they come to visit :) I really look forward to their visit!

All in all: if I wouldn't miss Simon so much, I'd be having a fantastic time.

A different birthday

Waking up on my 36th birthday, there were good news and bad news: my suitcase had been on the last flight the day before, so we were happily re-united and Saba was on the outskirts of a tropical storm, come hurricane (those were the bad news).

This was the view from my balcony on my first morning here:

And this was the same view today:

Looking a bit further to the right, this is what I see:

Making my Viking ancestors proud, Denise (colleague and neighbour) and I braved the storm and went to The Bottom. For those of you unfamiliar with Saba, The Bottom is the capital. Yes, I kid you not. I needed to get a cell phone card and since nobody could go diving anyway, it seemed like a good idea - for a while anyway…

As a poor person, who does not have a car, there are two means of transportation on this island: walking or hitch-hiking. On a tropical storm day it's narrowed down to the second option. There is not much road traffic here, but everyone is obliged to give you a lift. So after waiting at the roadside for about 15-20 seconds, we got a ride. And what a ride:

Picture this: big pick-up / small lorry from the good old flower-power days, the driver a construction worker, who seems to have smoked something you cannot buy in any old supermarket. On the very bad stereo, Bob Marley gives all he has - what the stereo and loudspeakers lack in quality they most certainly make up for in volume (not necessarily an advantage though). We drive along the road that could not be built (fascinating piece of Saba history), which is quite a bumpy ride on a road as narrow as a good English country road and more sharp curves and turns than a rally track in Southern France. Our driver seems to think, he might defeat gravity and by driving very fast avoiding the holes and bumps. It doesn't work that way. All I can do is hang on to whatever I can grab and enjoy the spectacular scenery - trying not to think of the 300+ meter drops we are literally centimetres away from. Ppppfffffuuuuiiiii.

We made it to The Bottom against all odds and I got my phone card literally the minute before all power on the island was switched off as a security measure - the power station is at the harbour, which was a dangerous place to be thanks to some very powerful waves. We are, after all, in the middle of the Atlantic here.

To make things slightly more challenging, it started raining. Now, when I say raining, I do mean torrential rain! The road was turned into a river within 10 minutes - and there we were: stuck in The Bottom (of all places) 2-3 very long kilometres away from home (Windwardside). Thankfully, Denise knows someone with a car, who actually came to take us home. We stopped at the hospital, the inside looks of which make for very good motivation to stay healthy!

Anyway, back in Windwardside, Debbie, Denise and I didn't have much choice: no power (also means no water), so we had to go to a place with a generator. Unfortunately, one of the only open places was Scout's, one of our competitors. That's not the bad part. The food was ok, but not great. That's not really an issue either. No, the bad part is: Friday night is karaoke night and I hate karaoke. Never mind, hey… The German couple, who owns the place, alternate singing about 80% of the time. They are about as un-talented as they are enthusiastic ;) I discovered that an evening there can actually be quite entertaining as long as you are in good company (which I was, also met some really nice people) and you make sure that the alcohol level stays quite high at all times. It probably won't be the last time I go there either - simply because it's the nightlife highlight of the week here.

Today (Sunday) was supposed to be my first working day, but it's still not safe to go out in small boats, so we're going out tomorrow. My first day is a guest day: I'll be treated like any other guest and just have to go fun diving. What a way to earn money, hey? Work hours are really civilized here: 7:30 - 16:30, any overtime is paid.

Obviously, I cannot say anything about the diving yet, but it's definitely a very interesting place…

Lotsa xxx

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The wonderful world of travelling

Ok, so now I am on Saba "The Unspoiled Queen" in the Caribbean. I've been here 18 hours and am currently in the outskirts of a tropical storm. Fantastic. So far, it's not as bad as the typhoon last December in the Philippines, but then again the worst is yet to come…..

My new adventure had a rather bad start. Getting a coach at 1:35 in the morning simply cannot be a good start. People who have known me a bit longer will be startled to hear that I decided to arrive at the airport quite early - mainly because Air France had advised me to check in no later than 2 hours before departure due to the extensive security checks. And since my flight was leaving at 6:40, I found myself at the airport already at 4:10 (it was either that or 5:40).

I had weighed my suitcases to being approx. 45 kg in total, which coincided with my maximum baggage allowance and had double-checked that I could bring my laptop case in addition to my daypack as hand luggage and packed my BO repellent and tooth paste in a separate 1-liter re-sealable transparent plastic bag from Tesco's, so I was actually quite optimistic. At least for a little while….

See, what Air France failed to mention were two important issues that were to have some consequences:

a) They do not actually open the check-in counters until 1,5 hours before the flight
b) THEY may allow two pieces of hand luggage, but British airports don't allow more than one handbag through security check

Issue a) meant that I passed through security check just as speakers announced my gate was closing - so my brilliant plan to buy shampoo, flip flops and some good books, before going to this tiny island where you cannot really buy anything except groceries and local rum, went down the drain (so to speak). I was still left with 1,5 hours in Paris CdG (my least favourite airport in the whole world), which kept my optimism going. Right until the point when the captain announced a 1-hour delay due to heavy air traffic. Fantastic: rather than a relaxed shopping spree I'd now have to rush to make it to my terminal, which was of course the one at the exact opposite end of the airport.

Issue b) meant that I had to re-pack in the airport: my two over-filled suitcases got a bit more stuffed with everything that didn't fit in my daypack - including my rather sturdy (thus heavy) laptop bag. And the girl at baggage drop, who was definitely a closet blonde, got all confused about the extra allowance for dive gear, which I had booked and just needed to pay for. Oh, and of course my baggage was now above 45 kg, so I needed to pay overweight charges (8 GBP per kilo!!!!) - and I had to go to the end of Heathrow airport, the second-worst airport in the world, to hand my dive suitcase in, because it was now 28 kg and thus one kilo too heavy to be handled in the normal way. And then my flight was already boarding and I still had to go through security check and and and….

What do we learn? I was spot-on with my old habits: it doesn't pay off to be early and when I'm late I at least anticipate a lot of stress and am not caught emotionally unprepared for it ;)

To those of you, who start singing "things can only get better, can only get better…..", just wait a little: one of my suitcases didn't make it - the one with all the dive gear and power cable for my laptop and cell phone charger etc. Normally, it would arrive the next day, but of course a storm like this prevents airplanes to land on a little strip of quite flat land with water on three sides and a mountain on the fourth, optimistically named a runway. So nobody knows when I can get my things…..

I don't miss my dive gear yet, because all boats have been brought to St. Maarten where they are safer and there is no diving going on here. But alas I'll soon not be able to email or text anyone.

To make sure there is a bit of a happy end to this tragically entertaining true story, I can at least tell you that I got both shampoo and flip flops in St Maarten airport, because the plane to Saba was conveniently delayed. And that I have a very big apartment with a fantastic view here. End September (just before Simon joins me here), I am moving into a house with a little garden and phone (thus internet). Luxury, hey?

I had a great dinner with one of the owners, Lynn: fantastic food and good company. Two colleagues joined us for a drink later, both really nice "girls" (are women in their thirties still girls??). Everyone seems very keen on helping and making me feel at home here.

Nature here is absolutely stunning; I cannot wait to start hiking. Impressive, dramatic topography thanks to the hills / mountains and everything covered in lush green. Hopefully, the weather clears a bit the coming days so that I can have a couple of walks before I start working - which will be Monday-ish depending on the waves.

So I'll leave you now to go and try to post this and then of course I'll come back with many more details on diving, hiking and living here….

Take care you all

Saturday, 7 July 2007

And the winner is...............................SABA..............

Some of you may not have heard of Saba before: well, it's a 5 m2 vulcanic island in the Caribbean (Dutch Lesser Antilles) and features some of the - if not THE - best diving in that region. Oh, and it's the place we're going to work next :D

After placing an ad on the Padi website looking for work, I was overwhelmed by the response. It ended up being a problem choosing among the offers. We chose Saba for several reasons, mainly quality of diving, quality of dive op and beautiful nature. AND working conditions: 2 dives per day, fixed salary and commission, two days off every week, 3 weeks paid holiday, paid continuing education and other perks. Communication with the owners is easy-going, so we are getting very good vibes about this project :D

I am starting asap - which realistically means mid August (busy looking for flights - have to go through Sint Maarten) - and have committed to a minimum of 12 months. Simon will join in October for 6 months. If we like it there, the plan is for me to stay and Simon to join every winter. To minimize our time apart, I'll take a month's unpaid leave in addition to my paid holiday in the summer.

Have a look at for more information on Saba and on to see who we work for....

Take care all you lovely people

Karin xxx

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Happy holidays?

This was not the way I planned it....After working hard the past months with 13 hours working days and only sporadic days off, I really looked forward to my well-deserved 2 months holiday in Europe - before heading off to the warm countries again.

It started sort of ok, with my bags being checked in all the way to London from Manila, thus saving me excess baggage fees of USD 330!!! Not only that: the friendly ground staff offered me seats in the emergency exit row on both flights....yippie....

The first flight Manila - Hong Kong was unspectacular, but immediately after landing I started feeling poorly. Very poorly. I was freezing and shaking like a mad person. Or a drug addict, hmmmm. Security staff paid a lot of attention to me half lying on a chair, wrapped in my jacket and shaking so hard my teeth were grinding. And I was tired, soooo tired. At this point in time I started thinking about signs and symptoms of decompression sickness. Oeps. But my last dive was two days before the flight, so even in my fever hallucinations my mind worked well enough to know it couldn't be DCS (probably ;) )

Never was a 12-hour flight longer! At least my condition made me sleep practically all the way, well helped by friendly cabin attendants with painkillers. Luckily, the lost baggage Gods were on my side and I managed to climb into a Cambridge-bound coach without any further problems. I was expecting custom's to stop me - never did i look more like a drug courier who's taken a bit too much herself - but I guess the you-don't-want-to=mess-with-me-look may have worked.

Back in the cottage now, I'm feeling almost ok again. After all, it was just a spell of the flu - however nasty it felt.

Now it's time to relax a little and then of course start planning the coming winter - I'll let you know where we are going.....Next week my sister, Marianne, and her family are coming to visit. I miss them a lot, so I can hardly wait to see them again.

Take care you all, I'll keep you posted.........

Lotsa xxx

Monday, 30 April 2007


That's how April felt.....just passed by in a blur. Things to remember from this month: Simon went back to the UK, the weather got warmer, so did the water - but the water supply went into red. I finally got so tired I couldn't continue without a couple of days off. And I had a most memorable day involving one boat with engine problems and later an as-close-to-capsizing-as-possible-without-actually-capsizing experience. That one made me feel like Kate Winslet on the Titanic.......

Anyway: good news first...It's getting really HOT here in Paradise. Day temperatures in the mid-end thirties, night temperatures around 30. No problems staying warm. The sea is finally where it should be: 28-29 degrees except in those nasty thermocline monsters. Grrrrr.

Unfortunately, it's also a lot windier here now; meaning it's getting really choppy out there. Which btw leads me directly to that memorable Monday last week......coming back from the first dive on a speedboat, it was VERY choppy. We had some problems getting the divers back on the boat, but finally managed. We were at the most remote divesite here, normally approx. 12 minutes away. The boat was filling up with water from the waves - and suddenly, the engine just stopped....Not necessarily a huge problem, However: big waves, strong wind, strong current - oh, and the rocks of the coastline about 30 meters away, but coming closer and closer and closer.....A bit of drama there, but we managed to get the engine started sort of last moment and everyone was ok.

Later that same dive, I did another dive at a different dive site with a different group and on a different boat: bangka, one of the local flat boats with outriggers. And yes, after the dive a wave caught us a bit from the side, weight in the boat shifted and suddenly the boat was standing upright on the side. Three divers jumped in the water, while we were sitting on the edge and the captain was hanging on one of the outriggers. After about 3 hours (or maybe 30 seconds, just felt longer), the boat finally went back to normal boat position. Luckily enough, the only gear we lost was a spare tank.

Pfui, what a day!

The worst part of the month was saying bye-bye to Simon on the 11th. I miss him badly. I thought work would keep me distracted - but since I "only" work 13 hours a day, it still leaves me with enough time to be sad. I hope it's worth it......Occassionally I am thinking that it might make sense to get a job with a different company, where the working hours are more humane. We'll see........

Gotta go, my student is waiting

Take care everyone
Karin xxxxx

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Relaaaaxxxxxx, you're on holiday!

That's our favourite saying these days - together with "good jo-ob". Why? We have been ridiculously busy the past weeks, which means that nobody has had a day off in two weeks. Looking at life back home, you'd expect most people to start getting grumpy and aggressive - but of course that's not life in paradise :D Instead we are having even more fun together and making silly jokes whenever possible. And now we have a somewhat quiet week, so we're quite proud of ourselves for having made everything work.

Life is still great here, but there are dark clouds in the horizon...Simon is going back to Europe this Wednesday and then it'll be 6-7 weeks apart :( Nothing we can do about it now, we just have to get through it somehow.

A quite bizar event this week: a couple of years ago I went diving off the coast of the Arab Emirates with a company called Divers Down. Imagine my surprise, when Divers Down suddenly turned up here with a group of divers. The World IS quite small - they've not been here before, but they really like it, so they might come back again. Two of the guests in that group are actually getting married while they are here. I'm not quite sure, whether that's romantic.....I'll tell you after the wedding ;)

I've already had my disease this month: toncilitis! It cost me 3 days in bed and lots of penicillin - I'm still not fully recovered. Never mind hey: I'm on holiday ;)))

Lotsa xxx


Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Affordable Paradise...........

Looking for a cheap flight back to Europe this summer, I discovered just how affordable flights have become............London Gatwick via Hong Kong to Manila for a total price of GBP 156 / EUR 230 / DKK 1700 one way incl. taxes and fees. With the kind of cost involved in transportation and accommodation here in Paradise, it means that a holiday here can be done for very little money..........Just thought I'd let you all know ;) - flights between London Gatwick and Hong Kong - flights between Hong Kong and Manila. And Bangkok-Manila around 4.000 Baht incl taxes ;)

I would of course be happy to assist with transfers and accommodation :D

Oh, but please no visits between now and end April, cause we are insanely busy and completely booked. After all, I'd like to be able to spend some time with you

Lotsa xxx

Monday, 12 March 2007

Listen to older siblings........

Sometimes, one simply has to surrender to the fact that other people have better ideas........SO, following the wish of my sister, Marianne, here is the link for our monthly newsletter. As you can tell it's not all party time - I actually work here too :D


Karin xxx

Friday, 9 March 2007

Change of plans......

It's taken a long time and lots of thinking........and now we have finally made a decision about the coming months: Simon is going home as planned on 12th April, but I will not be using my ticket. I'll stay through the end of high season, sometime around end May / beginning June. My two months unpaid summer holiday will be spent in UK and Denmark, and then it's back to work August / September.

Simon does not have any confirmation yet, but it certainly looks like he'll be working for the same company next season - i.e. as of September.

Obviously, it's going to be really tough having to be apart for 6-8 weeks now and probably a couple of weeks in August again. I am really dreading that time, but this was the only solution that takes both our wishes into consideration. Simon has to go home to work on the cottage - and I would hate to lose this great opportunity getting experience at such a great and professional resort; oh and earning ok money at the same time.

I am currently teaching my first German open water course, so I'm off into the pool now................I'll keep you posted ;)

Lotsa greetings from the beach
Karin xxx

Monday, 26 February 2007


Oh YES, after months of suffering under winter temperatures (!!), summer seems to be here to stay this time :) Already, people are starting to moan, because it's really hot - tsk tsk.

Along with the deep-blue sky and endless hours of sunshine comes a drastic improvement in underwater temperatures and visibility. Yeah, now diving is even more fun.

We are fully booked, so very busy........unfortunately, the last big American group also brought along a "fresh" cold virus :( Cost both Simon and me 2 days in bed....... At least they left a substantial amount of USD's as well ;))

Simon is busy at work, too. DSD's, advanced course and lots of dives - all of that in just 11 days. AND the biggest tip ever :)

Thursday, we are having a Danish evening with Simons employers, Alice and Bjoern, and some other Danes here. Alice and Bjoern are really nice - and are very happy with Simon's work. He has very good chances at getting work next season as well.

The last couple of days I have done SASSY with a 6-year old girl from Hong Kong: in principle snorkelling, but she was wearing a bcd-like lifevest with a small tank on the back - and had a regulator mouthpiece instead of snorkel. She absolutely loved it! And her mother was happy to spend 40 USD per session. Cool :D

Back to work here in Paradise.........

Lotsa xxx

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Happy Birthday Simon!!

Oh yes, Simon is no longer is his early 40's.............he is now 45, bless him ;) This is where all the great party pictures were supposed to be posted, but fate - or the current stomach virus - wanted it differently.......................Simon suddenly and quite miraculously recovered from his virus in the afternoon of his birthday, whereas I was just getting started with my bug :(

I had taken a day off and planned a day trip followed by a special dinner.........Instead I spent the day with my arms around the toilet - and Simon; well he went to speak to the owners of a dive resort who had offered him a job. And YES, Simon now has a permanent position with that company, yippie :D

In the evening, Simon went for a beer - and came back 8 hours later thoroughly intoxicated. Lovely ;) Meanwhile I had made it from the toilet to the bed, but was still to weak to go into the kitchen to get water or food. Ih, was I angry with him - and guess what will happen next time he is ill and needs me????? Revenge is sweeeeeeet ;)

Sunday I was still ill, but could at least walk to the kitchen and back. Which is good, cause Simon was so hungover that I had to take care of not only myself but also him. Not very macho that day, "poor" Simon *lol*

Anyway, as of today I am back to work, feeling quite rough and very weak but well enough to do 2 dives - it's been a slow month, need to make some money. Simon is starting his job Thursday, but is already diving with them (Mabuhay Dive Resort) as of today - and will be celebrating his 500th dive tomorrow..............yep, I feel a snorkel test coming there ;) If so, I can always post a pic of that one.................

Take care, xxx's from the beach

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Welcome to my office :D

Just thought I'd show some evidence that I actually DO work ;)

Here is Sara, my advanced open water student, before her navigation dive. Need I say that she did very well? Must have had a good teacher *lol*


Friday, 26 January 2007

Instructor's NIGHTMARE ;)

I've already told you: I may be in Paradise, but that does NOT mean that I relax and enjoy myself all the time ;)
Anyway, I had a day off last week, which was great..........We walked to Puerto Galera and it's actually quite a nice little 6 km walk. This is the view from the road:

Not too shabby really :D

Thus refreshed after a lovely (and needed) day off, I have done 1 DSD, 1 Open Water course and finished 2 Open Water referral courses in 7 days. Busy! It's great, I'm loving it and am happy that I get to do all the courses.

HOWEVER, during one of those courses a group of 16 Chinese travel agency owner came to review our resort. And 7 of them accepted our kind offer to try scuba diving: a so-called Discover Scuba Diving experience, which in principle means a bit of theory, an hour in the pool and then a dive in the open water under direct supervision of an instructor. Lucky me!!! I had 7 Chinese people, who hardly spoke English and didn't really want to dive - just a fun afternoon.......

The pictures were taken in the beginning, before chaos entered and they started giving up - one after the other....................Fortunately, I had three of our great divemasters with me, but still.......One hour later, 4 hardcore adventurers finished the pool session (obviously not without panicking several times) - and to my horror announced that they wanted to do the open water dive!!!! Oooohhhhhhhh nooooooooooo........... In my head, I saw the first casualties on my otherwise clean record sheet (I'd have two divemasters with me, but still: these Chinese were BAD news in the water)...... After a night of nightmares, I considered my options. Hmmm, didn't have any ;) Went to work and........... YES, they had changed their minds; they did not want the open water dive :) What a relief, pfffffffff

Now at least you know that life is not perfect constantly here. Just 99% of the time ;)

Take care, lotsa xxx

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Postcard from Paradise.......

WOUW, I am flattered and impressed by the reaction / response / attention. Seems like most people forgive me for being such a lousy "contact keeper" :D

The tough life in Paradise continues..... I am working very hard and very much, lately I have been guiding quite a lot, since we did not have any courses - starting an open water course today, though.

Fortunately, the weather has turned as predicted: we now have summer! Summer means blue sky, a little breeze to make the 32 degrees bearable and more importantly: warmer water ;) We are now back to 27 degr water temperature, which makes a huge difference to 25, I can assure you.... I am still wearing my new hooded vest though - cannot believe I ever went diving without one.

Wednesday was "tip day" - we shared the tips from last week........4300 pesos = 45 GBP / 70 EUR / 450 DKK. Lasts quite a while down here, so this promises to be a good month.

Thursday, I took my weekly day off. We walked to Puerto Galera (approx. 6 km), had lunch in the yacht harbour, looking at a Bavaria 39 (yep Torben, it looks even better with blue skies and clear water as a background) - and lazily enough took a Jeepney back. I'll have to take a picture of one of those: old American military jeeps that have been pimped up completely and are now main transport here; sort of mini-bus.

What else does a diving instructor do on her day off? She goes snorkelling of course - cannot get enough of that aquatic life ;)

On my first dive yesterday I saw the biggest turtle I have ever seen. It was as long as me and didn't mind my presence at all. Fantastic! I didn't even now that turtles can be that big.

Anyway, life in Paradise is great - in fact even greater now that the summer is here. And as opposed to my last two students, this one actually WANTS to dive and CAN swim - he is not being forced by his partner. Tsk, tsk, some people.....

Take care everyone, hope the winter is not TOO bad *lol*


Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Welcome to my world :D

Well, it's no surprise really..............I am not very good at writing everyone as often as I'd like to.........You may have noticed??? Anyway, I hope I'll be better when it comes to keeping this blog up-to-date - I promise to do my best ;)

Very shortly for those of you who haven't heard from me the past month or 20: 2005 I finally did the right thing: I fell in love again :) With my dive instructor of all people - I know it sounds like a terrible kliche! And I decided that I've spent enough time wearing suits........It was time for a new uniform: boardshorts and flip-flops (or thongs, as they are often called). Next, I just needed to find an occupation, where this attire would be acceptable - and which would allow me to pursue my new hobby, scuba diving. In a moment of bright thinking, I realised that these two criterias could be combined!

Next step was to quit my job, sell my house and say bye-bye to having a proper job and a regular income.........And to spend three months in Thailand to become a divemaster. Tough life, I assure you :D

I spent this summer in the UK - yes, my boyfriend (Simon) is British. Oh, but NOT a football (or any other) hooligan ;) I had already decided to take 6 months gap, and I must admit that I had a great summer (well, apart from 6 weeks following my long due "nose job"). We went to Denmark several times and spent quite a bit of quality time with my family. Wonderful to be free :)

BUT hanging around doing nothing only works a limited period of time......and then it's time to start the hard working life again............... soooooooooo 1st November 2006, Simon and I boarded another plane - this one took us to the Philippines. So we have now spent two months here in Paradise (Puerto Galera on the island Mindoro)

I have spent the time well: took another course and am now a qualified scuba instructor, yippie. Not enough though...........I was amazingly lucky: the dive shop I did my instructor course with, were looking for a female multi-lingual instructor. Yep, I now have a permanent job here - which actually pays a decent amount of money :D Simon is freelancing, which is not as good here as in Thailand, but we make enough money to survive.

Oh, if anyone is interested, this is the place I work for: - the best on the island (and the best restaurant too). And cool management: friends and family get high discounts, so feel free to visit :D

I have already certified 7 divers, which is not bad at all. Unfortunately, I have another cold (3rd in two months), so I cannot dive - which explains how I found the time to do this ;) The weather has been quite bad here. December gave us 2 typhoon hits and a big storm and it's generally overcast - so no suntan here. The water is cold too - I've had to invest in a hooded vest, so now I only get cold after 40-45 minutes dive time.

Apart from weather and health, life is really great here. We have met some special people and are building up friendships. Part of my job is to stay in the hotel bar until 20:00 5 evenings per week, so there's a lot of socializing going on :) Fortunately, staff gets half price on food and beverages, so it's quite affordable - one beer costs me around GBP 0,30 / DKK 3.50 / EUR 0,45. Cooooooooooooooool.

Anyway, more details will follow shortly........................... For now, let me just apologize to all non-Brits that the text is in English - I cannot really find the energy to do a multilingual blog.........Sorry......

Happy new year everyone, take care

Lotsa xxxxx

Under water in Puerto Galera

Underwater Christmas tree ;) Or rather: black coral with Christmas decoration......

We have different kinds of seahorses: pygmy, thorny - and this large one

Who came up with the idea to call this a devilfish???

Weird-looking creatures and quite rare.........Frogfish.........Did I mention that I spotted during the first dive, I guided???? Blush.....

Definitely prettier than the land-based cousins, slugs......This nudibranch is about 2,5 cm long - Puerto Galera is famous for its variety of nudibranches

I still love to look at moray eels.........

Life in Puerto Galera

Simon at Escarceo LighthouseIt's a dirty job......but when you pass a course, you also have to pass the infamous snorkel test.....I've done two already and am proud to announce that I impressed quite a few people with my skills ;)
This is the not so shabby view from our balcony at sunrise

No computer games and Playstation are what you make of them.......Average salary for a worker is GBP 3 / DKK 33 / EUR 4,50 - per day, that is

If we need cash, clothes, shoes or basically anything other than food, we have to go to Batangas on Luzon. The boat ride is about 1 hour - this is one of the larger / more modern ferries.......

Quality time in Denmark

My sister, Marianne, letting her hair down at Torben's wedding :D

My brother, Torben, his wife, Kirsten, and all their children.........

Simon and my brother, Jacob, enjoying a luxury picnic with sparkling wine in Haderslev mid-October (!)