Thailand and its islands: a beautiful way to end the year!

Our final two weeks of what has been an incredible, adventure-filled, and somewhat life-changing year were spent in the beautiful south of Thailand, getting up close and personal with the local marine life. We decided to do a diving course/trip to the Similan Islands, apparently one of the top dive sites in the world. I took a bit of persuasion, my only diving experience having been in the chilly and choppy waters of New Zealand. Although I had enjoyed that experience, it gave me an idea of diving as a cold and slightly stressful activity! However, Adrien can be very persuasive, so I signed up for an Open Water Course, and Adrien set about doing the Advanced version. We spent 5 days on a ‘liveaboard’ boat with amazing food to keep our strength up for the 4 daily dives. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this trip exceeded anything I could have hoped for! I would say hand on heart that this was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I loved every minute and ended up doing the advanced course too, which is great because Adrien and I can now dive together! The fish and coral were beautiful and so varied, we saw green turtles and manta rays, learned so much about the marine life that we saw, dove to 2 wrecks, and to 30+ metres. I found the activity itself a surreal experience and once I had improved my buoyancy and breathing underwater, the weightlessness of floating at 20-odd metres deep started to feel like how I imagine it feels like to fly! I am so glad Adrien encouraged me to do it- merci Mr Chazaux! Where are we going next??!

We found him! Photo credit absolutely not us, all to Richard the amazing underwater photographer!

Me in the background, and my much more camera-ready instructor Josu!

Hard work all this floating around underwater huh?

Making friends!

#boatlife

We got off the boat twice to visit a couple of beautiful and remote beaches of the Similan Islands, which are just what you would imagine: white, super-fine sand, burning sunshine, palm trees, and giant lizards! The sad side to beach life in 2017 is the trash that also manages to find its way onshore, but after telling a few boat buddies about the #take3forthesea initiative I saw on the eco-friendly Instagram world, we soon got rid of a fair amount between us.

That beautiful blue πŸ˜±πŸ’™

Take 3 for the sea!

Just a casual beach dragon

The very last week was a chilled one spent on the island of Koh Lanta, where we visited an extremely cool cave, took part in a beach clean up with volunteer group Trash Hero who can be found all around Thailand, and went on a day trip snorkelling. This was followed by a lovely couple of days back in Bangkok with family friends, being reintroduced to wine after 5 weeks of coconut juice and the odd beer (we need to practise before French Christmas!) and eating some of the best Thai food we’ve had all trip.

Beach clean ups: smelly but important!

And now for home, 366 days later! We’re ready to go home and absolutely thrilled to see our loved ones, but our hearts and minds are full of memories, stories, and images of some of the greatest beauty we’ve seen in our lives: Fiji’s manta rays, New Zealand’s deserted rocky beaches and dense Jurassic Park-esque bush, Thailand’s turtles and picture-perfect islands, and so much more. Now, excuse me while I find anyone who will listen and tell them all about it!

Haere rā, readers! Thanks for all the clicking!

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