Christmas Day was a day to relax, enjoy the company of friends, dance in the warm ocean waves and swim in the crystal clear pool – paradise. Literally. Then on Boxing Day, G announced he’d hired a speed boat and we were off to the Similian Island National Park, to snorkel, picnic and have fun. It was the first time I’d been in a large speedboat – and gosh – at times the boat hitting the waves was very like a roller coaster experience! At one point the wave meeting the boat was so high the boat was practically vertical sweeping at high speed past it! I honestly thought at that point we might have lost Kerry out of the back of the boat -but true to form, she was loving the excitement of it! After a couple of hours of this non stop excitement, our stomachs finally were allowed to rest in their natural positions as the captain anchored the boat in the bluest of blue water – it was incredible. You really have to see it for yourself to believe the sparkling clarity of the water and the myriad shades of blues it contained.

I really didn’t enjoy the snorkelling apparatus though – one swoosh of water down my air tube and that was it – I was more than content to sit on the deck – and see with my own eyes the turtles, fish and other amazing sea creatures swimming just below the surface. Honestly – I love the sea – but my face encased in plastic wasn’t one of the highlights of my life to date! So the captain and I chatted on deck about life and life and life. It was a strange experience as the day marked the 10th anniversary of the Tsunami that created tragedy and havoc for so many people in that area. The captain said only that he loved the place and would never choose to leave it for anywhere else.

The boat didn’t stay anchored in the one spot – we moved from island to island – finding tropical island deserted beaches to have a bite to eat, spotting landmarks on other islands that drew boats of tourists flocking in. It was magical. Truly.

At last it was time to return. We waved goodbye, the others put away their snorkelling gear and we sat down in the boat, tired but content. Our boat made one large sweeping arc out in the sea to bring us up close to a fishing vessel – and I loved seeing this – each night we’d watched the prawn boats far out in the horizon, lighting their lamps to draw the prawns towards them -and now we were up close! The fishermen waved and smiled and showed off one of their large catches.

The journey home began much as the journey out had been. Exhilarating speed as the boat smashed through wave after wave, but after all the heat and activity of the day, everyone started to fall asleep. Then, the boat stopped – and the crew warned us we were about to enter a storm! They handed out some rather fetching black waterproof ponchos (see pictures)! and told us to hold on. The boat started again and we set off into the storm. My word it was scary! The sky became dark – the sea became rough and the rain stormed down! No one slept now! After half an hour, as quickly as it had started, it stopped, in time for us to sail into harbour.

Flora and I only had two days left before we returned home – and what can I say – blissful, beautiful, relaxing. Heaven. The food – oh the food – did I talk about the food in my last post? I miss it – all of it.

Thank you for putting up with my holiday snaps – many were taken on my phone so apologies for pixels! And most of all, thank you to my friend, Kerry – for giving me two weeks of Heaven on Earth.

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