Tara Puerto Galera

It is day 13 (scary for some!) of my 60 days. I am over a fifth of the way through! How time flies when you have taken up sweating as a professional hobby. So to continue the list of things I have discovered about the Philippines…

5. Power cuts (or brown outs as they can be called, though that sounds like you have almost passed out in a puddle) are more frequent and less of a hindrance than you might imagine. Thank goodness I brought my dive torch which has only seen water when I have used it to shower by. I have however perfected the art of balancing my torch on one shoulder while reading and reaching for a slice of cold pizza with the other hand.

6. Rum is cheaper than coke so a double rum and coke is cheaper than a single rum and coke and a triple rum and coke…. well, you get the idea. This is very dangerous knowledge to have and remember people, with great knowledge comes great responsibility. As someone who works in accounts I have always been taught to make savings wherever possible. I therefore have my orders!

7. I defy anyone not to smile at the school kids. As a general rule I find kids slightly terrifying but the school children of the Philippines are not only adorable, they get highly excited at the prospect of snacks (known as ‘merienda’) and they always say hello to you, even when you are walking down the road with a plunger in one hand and a box of leftover food in the other.

Meanwhile, in true English style I have managed to power through my obligatory cold and still drink tea despite the temperature (how would people know I was English otherwise?).

Lots has been happening on the training side. Brian and I have been well and truly integrated into the Green Fins Assessment process. We have read scenarios, done peculiar things underwater to demonstrate our buoyancy control, learnt to orientate ourselves to other divers, carried out presentations with sporadic earthquakes, sharpened our eyes and ears and learnt to try and subtly ask very obscure and slightly personal questions about the diving industry.

As more of an organisation/preparation lover than a ‘see how it goes’ girl, I am finding it scary but really helpful. It’s so great when you get the information you need and quite hilarious when the conversation takes a completely unexpected turn. I’m not even getting the withdrawal shakes yet from not having seen a spreadsheet for two weeks.

We also joined in on a mangrove clean up with local school kids which was great fun and ever so slightly mukky. (I miss my washing machine on occasion.)

So Monday we leave our apartment (the ‘Cupcake House’) and the Zoox school to head to Malapascua. We have been given our personal projects and we are set to utilise all we have learnt in training – may the intrepid ZEPs be let lose on the unexpecting population of Malapascua and may we all survive (and thrive) to tell the tale!

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