Happy Birthday dear Benjamin happy birthday to you

Trip Start Feb 15, 2006
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Trip End Feb 16, 2007


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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Today is Ben's birthday and we have arranged to go diving with Sophie and Averil plus a few others near the small island called Mamutik (I think) about 20 minutes away by speed boat.

We meet at the dive shop at 8.30am, make sure we have all our gear and take the short walk to the harbor where our already loaded up speed boat is waiting. We climb on board and head out to sea with a beautiful blue sky above us. The sea is fairly calm and we arrive at our drop off point Sulug, get our gear on and are ready to dive. For me this is my first proper fun dive, all the others are experienced divers so I feel pretty safe. We are told we will just sit on the side of the boat and roll off backwards! My face must have been a picture as I do not like the idea of this! But it's the only way in to the sea so I have no choice. Sophie demonstrates for us all and when it's my turn I sit nervously on the edge count to three and just fall back. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and I felt ok. When we are all in we deflate our BCD's and sink to the bottom. This is the bit that I don't like as I feel I have no control over what is happening to me. I find it all quite bizarre and am not sure I will ever get the hang of this diving lark! Anyway once down we set of looking at all the pretty coral and fish. There is quite a strong current and my little fins are getting me no where so Ben grabs my hand and helps me along so I don't get left behind. Visibility is not so good (about 10/15 meters) and it isn't long before we can barely see yellow fins in front of us. It was really quite nice especially when a turtle came swimming past us. We also saw squid, pipe fish and I can not remember what else. Now I know everything under water looks 33% bigger (or there abouts) but the mask I was wearing made everything look 50% bigger and it freaked me out a bit (it seemed so different to last time I dived). I still cannot get my head round how strange it all is down here; I know how a gold fish feels in his little bowl looking through the glass. We dived for 51 minutes but it didn't seem that long.

We climbed back on the boat and headed to the island for lunch and had a wonder around the beach before setting back off for the second dive which is around the island itself. My roll in was a nightmare and I started choking and didn't really enjoy the second dive. Ben was too busy looking after me (panicking at times because I got water in my mask and struggled to get it out) so he didn't really enjoy his dive as much as he should have and after 20 minutes I'd really had enough but had to carry on. We saw a giant Cuttle Fish, sting ray, moray eel, scorpion fish x 2 and I do not remember what else. Unless they actually swim right by me the chances of me see things are zero as when ever I turn to look left/right or up water gets in my mask and Ben said I hung onto my mask for the whole dive (well at least I wasn't wafting my arms around!). I really needed to pee too and I have this thing about not being able to pee in the sea. Strange I know but my ladder was bursting so I did my first we in the sea (like you all really needed to know that!!!!

After diving we went for a sleep (well I did) as we are going out tonight for Ben's Birthday.

We met up with Averil, Sophie, Russ & Jo (who have just moved here after having packed up life in England to find something better in life) and had dinner down at the Water Front outside under the stars by the sea. We ate cheap and cheerful saving money for beer of course! We stopped of in a pub played a few games of pool, chattered and got Ben drunk. They do this drink called the Flaming Lamborghini which is really cool; standing glasses on top of each other then pouring alcohol from the top like a waterfall which they then set a light and you have to drink through a straw from the bottom glass (see pics). After here we went to Bed which is a really trendy night club with live band. They got Ben on stage to down a pint in one (which obviously he had no problems doing) and we danced the night away. Ben was given a jug of beer by the manager (who knows Averil & Sophie not they are alcoholics or anything) then we got him another Flaming Lamborghini and got some great pics as it was much darker in there. We listened to the band and chilled on huge comfy sofas in the Bed Room (VIP room) and finally left around 2am. Ben wanted a burger from Burger King but it was closed so had to settle for a pot noodle type thing from 7-11.

To be continued. . . . .
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