Feliz Cumpleaños, Baden!

Diary of a Dive Instructor on Koh Tao

Exactly 10 years ago, I was living in Honduras in Central America, volunteering as a teacher. In the year that I spent living there, I became conversationally fluent in Spanish and, although my grammar was never particularly strong, I was more than capable of holding my weight in everyday chit-chat.

Over the last decade, I’ve lost most of my fluidity and now struggle to find the confidence to speak Spanish amongst those who are fluent. Whilst I’ve been living on Koh Tao I’ve met lots of (mainly European) people that have arrived with little use of English, yet after a few weeks of immersion in the language, can speak well and continue to improve! It’s inspired me to start working on my Spanish again, and I’m a bit disappointed by the privileged ‘everyone will just speak English to me’ attitude that I’ve been harbouring in my subconscious for most of my life.

Spanish flag

There’s a Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) candidate here at the moment called Juan from Spain who has been encouraging me to speak Spanish lately. I’ve been trying to work up the confidence to go with the flow but it’s been a real challenge.

Today I got back into my Duolingo Spanish and it was fantastic! I spent about 3 hours on it and felt, even in that time, that I’d made a big improvement. So here’s my latest challenge – at least 20 minutes per day of Spanish practice. I’m gonna get it back!


At 5pm there was a meeting at Simple Life to give us a run down on our Eco Day plans for tomorrow. We are going to do a beach clean in the morning, followed by a Project Aware Dive Against Debris on our adopted reef on Sairee Beach. I think I’ll make a specific blog post about that and fill you guys in on how it all works.

It’s all good to do some cleaning up, but the real difference is made when you submit the data on the Project Aware app for dives, or the Clean Swell app for beach cleans. That’s how we get legislation like the ban on plastic straws, or single use plastic bags… Data! That’s how we stop things getting into the ocean in the first place.


Sunset view from Tarna Align rooftop bar on Valentine’s Day, Koh Tao.

Today was Simple Life manager Baden’s birthday and his girlfriend Debbie had arranged a fabulous gathering up at the Tarna Align resort. The sunset view was jaw-dropping and the party was a right laugh (not to mention the free buffet which I strategically positioned myself close to for the majority of the night).

There were lots of games and a raffle in which I actually won one of the prizes! With number 19, I won a beautiful set of hand-carved, wooden salad spoons from the Philippines and I am genuinely over the moon. Gorgeous, and I can’t wait to use them! I’m now going to have salad everyday for at least a week – just as well, after the amount of food and cake I consumed at the buffet tonight…

Baden’s birthday cake with his photo on it!

song of the day: Ana Tijoux – 1977
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