Thursday, 24 July 2014

From sunrise to sunset

Early riser for the sunrise washing over the beach, slight clouds in the sky, pink haze danced over the sands. Life starting afresh and calm. 
Reclined back with book on balcony as my eyes were glued to a juicy chapter, long and super detailed book but so worth it. (Dead Man Risen by Toby Harnden)

Today we had three dives to complete as part of the Advanced Diver course, so it was a jam-packed day of water time followed by classroom learning.

The wreck dive first- absolutely incredible- you could see all the engine shaft components, the pistons, the crankshaft and conrod. Which really brought to life a geeky module of my engineering degree, seeing them up front, big scale under water was beautiful. The propeller was also still intact, and a giant anchor. The skeleton of the main hull structure was like being inside the ribcage of a giant whale. Shoal of pale pink big eyed fish were hiding out underneath a ledge. Giant table coral, with candelabra of more table coral.
You get the wonderful impression that nature has absorbed the boat, and welcomed it into the marine world.

The third dive was Peak Performance Buoyancy: learning how to be most efficient with your air. One of the tasks was to swim through a metre ish square diamond. Manuel hit the top Apex each time and Parveen's reaction sent me into a fit of giggles each time, which then surrounded my face in a world of bubbles, which was even more hilarious to me. Then I needed to cough so hard even more bubbles around me- so smooth Ibbs!


After a cheeky nap and freshen up we decided to venture further afield along Nilaveli Beach. We reached the military base slap-bang in the middle of the beach, and so walked onto the wire fence into the island. After traipsing along for a solid 10 minutes, all beginning to get rather irritable and grouchy we gave up and got picked up by a passing tuk tuk, a very kind honest man- Rafik was a true reflection of all Sri Lankans. 

We rocked up at an absolutely stunning hotel, minimalist design, serene square pools, smart concrete pillars, granite benches, bowls of floating flowers, soft candle glow on the sand, whispering of the palm fronds - a world away from the guesthouses we were used to!

Dinner serenaded by talented acoustic singer. Waitress had the cutest smile and was ever so attentive. Delicious seafood, inventive recipes and simply & generously portioned. We went all out and ordered a cocktail, treating ourselves to some luxury for one night!

Tuk tuk back home to shower, power cut & bed. What an adventure!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New Forest Amble

Let's take a walk...

But first, let me explain if things seem a little confusing on here currently. 
June was an absolutely incredible month, and crazy, so very crazy with only a few nights at home here and there to wash clothes and re-pack suitcases before jet-setting off on another adventure. I have so many wonderful memories and places to share with you lovely people, and I didn't want you to get bored with endless posts on the same topic. 

So I've decided to mix up the giant Sri Lanka & Greece posts with some smaller tit-bits of recent adventures on home soil, that way there is something for everyone and you never know what's coming up!

Back to the here and now, well actually a tad earlier in the month, when Mumma, Ells & I took a road trip down to the South Coast for a long weekend of fancy hotel and spa treatments...but more on that later.

Our journey home on Sunday afternoon took us through the New Forest, so we stopped off and went for a wander through the woods, where the sunlight was dancing through the trees, creating the most beautiful dappled light on the mosses.

The sunlight also created the a super fun rainbow effect with our hair, I have no idea which planet my iPhone is on most of the time. But occasionally it does something awesome like this and we fall back in love again.

We kept our eyes peeled on the chance of glimpsing one of the famed New Forest ponies, but sadly today wasn't our lucky day. It seemed like all the wildlife was chilling out with an afternoon siesta as we didn't see any deer or birdies either.

Our little wander reminded me, as cliche as it sounds, that life is so very often is about appreciating the journey instead of focusing on the destination. And so, I pledge to take the time to stop the car more often in future road-trips and get out for an explore, who knows what is awaiting us around the next corner!

How do you deal with long car journeys? Are there some nice woods near you that I must come to explore too? I'd love to hear about your adventures. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island is a 200m long national park that's just a short hop away by boat from our lovely Nilaveli Beach. We were all up and relatively awake bright an early for a day scuba diving and snorkelling around the lovely reefs.

Lou and I went diving whilst the Louise & Jenny headed off to the other side for snorkelling fun. On the first dive I was surprised by how quickly it all came flooding back- the buddy checking drills, controlling your breathing underwater, hand signals... It was so much fun just watching the fish go about their daily business, a whole shoal of diddy blue fish flickered by, lots of bright colours, neon coral that wouldn't have seemed out of place in a nightclub. It really is a whole other world down there.

Rehydrated, then straight back in the water for some snorkelling (as you've got to have a break at surface between dives). We swam out to try and glimpse the highlights of Shark Tip Point- the black ripped reef sharks! After frantically splashing around and almost gulping down half the ocean, I clasped my eyes on this beauty. So sleek and elegant, which immediately reminding me of a submarine. With her smooth grey body and architect sharp lines for the black tip that just glided effortlessly through the water whilst I was kicking like billio above!

A quick cheery hello, banana and cracker chat with the snorkel girls before kit was once again donned and we stomped out into the water again. On the other side of the island, there were much more inquisitive fish. I has a Mexican stand off with Mrs nemo who was fiercely protective her babby from my prying eyes. A bright pink leopard fish that was well and truly a 90s kid. Goatfish that was snaffling up the silty sand with long tendrils that hang down from his chin. 

Beach time, reading, skinny dipping, living in the moment. One of those moments that make you so glad to be alive and cherish your friends, wandering along the beach with the iPhone jingling out tunes and collecting pretty shells. 

Slight hint of incense and burning log fire, crisp stars, incessant crashing on the waves turmoil. Slight hum of the crickets, a few speckled lights dancing on horizon, palm silhouettes, feel firm crunch of wet sand under toes, returning to our room with the sweet soothing tunes on the bongo lulling us to sleep.