Spring has sprung…

So I’m still looking for a job. Yeah. I’ve lost count how many job applications I’ve sent out and how much I hate writing cover letters. Here’s hoping something happens soon. But c’est la vie, no?

Since my last post, there has been much happening. Doctor Who on the big screen. Peter Capaldi is awesome. He really was born to be the Doctor. DT will always be my Doctor though. I’m glad I’m able to claim him from all of those who are now firmly entrenched in the 12 camp. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s fine.

My lovely friend Judy-san cam and visited me for a couple of days. It was great to see her. I got a Totoro and some Whovian coasters from this groovy chick. We also went and walked around the Wellington Lux festival with more mad people, including the lovely Senorita Whimsical. We sang at lights and had fun pretending to be zombies with black lights.

Kraken by Anthony Nevin at the Wellington Lux. They were sound sensitive.
Kraken by Anthony Nevin at the Wellington Lux. They were sound sensitive.

After bidding farewell to Judy, I welcomed Becky and the Ram they call Jayne. They were here for Knit August Nights. There was gelato. And Wellington on a Plate, and lost wallets, and tea and cupcakes, and yarn. And that was just a Thursday!

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Friday saw us escape with Amelia Pond up to Napier where more yarn(!) and yarn rainbows, and real rainbows, and crochet, and spinning, and yarn angels, and yarn plotting, and letting me loose running the HRYC, and panic attacks, and escaping, and taking an Art Deco fiend to the Art Deco capital, and pizza, and an amazing leather Dachshund purse happened. Oh, and Daniel Carter at Napier airport.

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Maree did an amazing job of getting KAN together, despite having a million and one things go wrong, so big kudos to her. And it was great to see Becky and Jayne again.

My KAN stash. All so pretty
My KAN stash. All so pretty

I had a little breathing space after KAN, where I smooshed my treasures. The Kingfisher will be socks, and Fawkes may be too, but the Dark Harbour Yarn (in Narwhal and Tentacle – awesome names!) will become an Elfe (when I can afford to splurge on the pattern) (SWS, you are an amazing woman and a fine knitter. Thank you!).

Because then there was a trip to Sydney. I booked it in February in anticipation of a freediving comp that never happened, and logistically, it was cheaper to go than not to. So avoided many of the places I would have gone to if I’d been able to afford it. Still, I was able to shell out a little for some special things: my beloved Lindt Hot Chocolate, an IMAX movie, decent hand-pulled noodle soup, amazing Thai jungle curry. I slipped into Kinokuniya and made some origami flowers, and walked out to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to finish Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys. It was a stunning Thursday for me to do this. (Friday and Saturday were average, but Sunday…). I went out to Ashfield to watch the Underwater Rugby tournament – the kiwis had 2 teams playing – and caught up with some of the Aussies who remembered me from ODEX last year, and even got to look after the scorebook for a few games (yes, this is something I really enjoy doing. So there.)

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I’ve done a Sydney weekend every year since 2007. It’s almost a reset for me. And as always, it seemed to be a magic ingredient for illumination I was seeking. This time, it came with a tan. And an added dose of patience for this whole job situation. Things are just as bad across the ditch. At least here I know something will come up.

But for now, Ben’s vest is done and steeked and being worn. Alana’s baby blanket is nearly done, and Mazi’s ravello needs some finishing. Then, I can knit for me. I can’t wait to do some selfish knitting. Here’s hoping things start to look up, dear readers, my fingers remain crossed.

WordCamp awesomeness and redeeming an otherwise average week.

So, gentle reader, I went to a WordCamp today. It was amazing. It just reinforces why Open Source people are the best ever. I learnt so much. I tried to absorb everything like a sponge. And even though I’m not a developer, I discovered some really nifty bits and pieces that I’m going to be investigating in my quiet quest to become a WordPress encyclopedia. It was just fantastic fun. I will write something slightly more coherent later. My brain is still trying to process much of what I saw, heard, and discussed – and will continue to do so for a while yet – but I miss that sort of environment so much. It just reconfirmed to me that I really am all about Open Source and making things better. It was a happy day.

I’m so tempted to port this over to WordPress.org and expand it though… decisions, decisions, decisions. I have much to ponder on, and plenty of extra stuff to read about. Those guys made dev sound so very cool. I’ve been exploring learning CSS from scratch… but it looks like I’m going to be applying myself to both CSS and at least a basic understanding of PHP too. But enough of the techie stuff (for now).

I also finished one pair of mitts (hooray!), and I will cast on a pair of dashings in a zombie-like state soon. All in all, today has redeemed this past week.

Why is that, I hear you ask? Between killing my phone on Monday (yes, I am struggling without it), my trusty steed laptop playing up (while I’m trying to write handover documentation) and a knitting needle catastrophe of cable disasters (involving a needle breaking mid-cable row and causing 20 rows to be frogged due to the unhappy event – after fixing the problem I did put it in its project bag, throw it across the room in disgust and cry. It seemed the logical thing to do) on the Tuesday, and the case of the plumbers deciding to redo my bathroom without informing me and leaving me very inconvenienced on Thursday… it’s been a rough week. Things are sent to test you, and I’d like to think I’ve managed relatively well.

I can’t say it was all bad this past week. I’ve had two good training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, and I’m anticipating the same next week. My DNF seems to be going backwards in progress, I think it’s because I’m doing much of my drilling for it on the surface with a snorkel, so my “feel” for it seems to be flagging. hrmm… More things to drill and ponder.

I also managed to get back to a HRYC knit night on Thursday too. I got to hug the yarn. It was lovely. The ladies saw me in my office gear – apparently I look like a grown up. (I what?!) Well, maybe I was pretending to be a grown up for the day – it was all about my tailored jacket, I swear – but I’m glad the pretend hadn’t rubbed off when I got home to chaos and needing to make angry phone calls at half nine at night. But it was absolutely lovely to see the ladies again. I can’t wait for the next Knit Night in town. Hopefully there will be less chaos afterwards.

I have another interesting week ahead. Some more challenges, and bit and pieces to think about. Honestly, it’s all looking quite exciting at the moment. I have a couple of plans in motion, but I really hope I don’t have to look past Plan A. I’ll know by next Friday. And then I’ll think about whether I’m going to panic and wig out.

For now, I’m going to be riding this WordCamp buzz for a good while yet… Just trying to figure out how to get to the Auckland and/or Sydney ones later this year (and if I could talk at one. And if I could, what would I say?)

“And years from now when this old light isn’t ambling anymore…”

My beautiful old pup.
My beautiful old pup.

I went home to the Bay for the week last week. I needed to escape my life here in the city for a while. I didn’t manage to escape it completely, but the break was good. It was warm. I managed a good amount of time in the sun, on the swing seat, at the beach, and the river bar. I loved my puppy old dame and scratched behind her ears. I let her doze on me, and was greeted with joy on the mornings that she had forgotten that I was home overnight. And I ate, and read, and slept, cooked, watched sport, helped the parentals, drove, and knitted. And knitted. And knitted. And it was absolutely glorious.

Sunset at the Whakatane River Bar
Sunset at the Whakatane River Bar
Low tide at Ohope Beach
Low tide at Ohope Beach

I’m trying to get all my little wips out the way so that I can send presents off/finish my bigger projects/do something about that stash of mine which is calling to be used. I finished off a pretty little thing in Zealana Air (which actually is all that, and more), and reacquainted myself with some Fyperspates Vivacious 4ply and cables. (I love cables. I’d forgotten how much). I whipped up the first mitt in a day, but number two suffered from a serious bout of helping dad update his classics teaching resources, and spring cleaning his new office.

A very Pretty Thing
A very Pretty Thing
A smooshy, cable-y thing
A smooshy, cable-y thing

It’s always good to go home, relax and just be. Something I didn’t do often enough last year, and something I will rectify this time.

On a techie front, I’ve been playing with some blog/website building, both here on WordPress.com, and on the WordPress.org platform. So much fun. Just waiting for the one to go live, and getting the keys to the other two – one to build, and one to do some updating. Exciting. I’ll let you know how the look and where when they’re live.

Dad's new digs
Dad’s new digs

So I have been a busy little bee. I’ve been social, and active, and all that jazz. It has been good. The plotting to better things faced it’s first test today, and I will get some feedback soon, I hope. So onwards and upwards.

There will be more to talk about in the knitting and reading front. And maybe even some more on the yoga and freediving… I’m just about finished a book on the Crimean war, and it’s been really thought-provoking so far. Horrific, but thought-provoking. Kicking into gear for our winter champs here too.

But to leave you with a little something from the depth nationals. One very talented photographer and freediver from the Auckland Freediving Club put this amazing piece together for us. Enjoy.

NZ Freediving Depth Nationals 2014 from Auckland Freediving Club on Vimeo.

Until next time, you crazy people.

All the ones who come, all the ones who go down to the water…

Whew. What a couple of weeks it has been. And now that it is coming to the end of the Orr Season of Remembrance, breathing can begin again soon.

My apartment currently smells of fresh paint (my landlords painted my bathroom. I am far too excited about this), and the chorizo-paprika-tomatoeyness that was my interpretation of Kylie’s delicious looking soup. I’m pretty sure I was a wee ways off from the beautiful specimen she blogged. Still, I wiped the bowl clean. Thanks Kylie – that was some great inspiration. There is a knitting project that demands my most immediate attention, and a bathroom to unpack. How domestic.

But first things first. I went up to Taupo for my first depth competition this past weekend. I drove up with a fellow diver, his sister and her partner. It was precisely what I needed – and a really great trip. Tolkien, Hitchcock, A-team theme, pies… really fantastic.

And then came the nerves. What to nominate. What discipline to do first? In depth competitions, you have to state the depth you are going to dive to, and which discipline – Free Immersion/FIM (pulling yourself up and down the line), Constant Weight/CWT (swimming down to the plate at the bottom of the line with fins, and swimming back up), and Constant Weight with No Fins/CNF (swimming down and up the line by breaststroke) – you cannot swim any deeper as you are attached to the line, and have to remove a tag from the base plate to prove you made it to the bottom.

My first taste of depth was in the tropical waters of Gili… and Wellington harbour with its almost zero-visibility is a struggle to guess your progress, so my real training session happened in Taupo 2 weekends ago. In fresh water with decent vis and no real idea what I was capable of, other than knowing I really needed to work in several techniques. I’d made it to 19m FIM at the training camp, so I decided to do that again.

Waiting for the launch from Motutere wharf on the first day of competition
Waiting for the launch from Motutere wharf on the first day of competition

I was second last diver on the first day of the competition, and I was absolutely terrified. I had all day to psyche myself out of it. What was I doing there – the wonderful Aussies that had come over, as well as all the other divers were so much better than I am. I was going to screw up amazingly. I couldn’t equalise on the practice line. I was going to mess up my surface protocol… It was going to be an epic failure. I hung on the line for dear life and all could see my panic. They counted me down. I took a breath and went for it. Worried that I didn’t take a big enough breath. That I wasn’t going to equalise deep enough.

And then my rational brain smothered my hysterical emotional brain and went to business. I got down to depth, quite surprised when I saw the plate, grabbed the tag, and started for the surface thinking ah yeah… that wasn’t too bad. Did my surface protocol with some disbelief, and looked at the tag in my hand. It had been so easy.

I was the last diver on the second day of competition, and this time decided to do 20m CWT. I’d pulled myself up and down the line feet first on the first day to deal with my equalisation issues (my ears hate me sometimes), so the next test was to reach 20m head first. I was practicing my duck dives in my sleep. Keeping my chin in, equalising constantly… The lake was really choppy for this dive. But again, I did it. After panicking on the surface, the rational brain kicked in and so I got my second tag and white card.

I’m really thankful for my rational brain doing that. There is nothing between you and your thoughts when you are in the water, and my head was a constant mess on the practice line. There are several things I am dealing with that just wouldn’t let me relax. If it had been like that on the competition line, it would have been a disaster. Of course, have all day to think about it doesn’t help.

So I was delighted to be first up on the final day. I decided to go for broke. 25m FIM. My depth personal best. The depth I had targeted when I started. The depth I want to be comfortable at to swim with the deeper fishes. If I could do 25m, I can do anything. I needed to do this to prove to me that I am capable. Everybody else seemed to think so – they all started somewhere too – but I needed to do this for me.

It was an early start. My gods, it was early. And hot water for my suit and booties stopped me for turning into an icicle immediately. But there was still a wait. Just not too long again.

ready to go, Sunday morning.
All geared up for the PB dive. It was a stunning morning at Motutere Bay. Photo by Paul McKeown

I was first up, followed by the Australian mermaid herself, Amber Bourke. Amber is such a beautiful diver. I watched her in the pool last year at ODEX, and to see her depth disciplines as well… she’s going to go very far, that lass. Again, I was nervous. But I wasn’t giving myself too much time to think about it. Again on the practice line, I was a mess. Right up to beginning the dive on the competition line I was second guessing myself. I can’t just relax, it seems. The judges complained that I looked too serious. I was too busy freaking out. My inner calm was nowhere to be seen. Not until the pointy end of the performance.

My final dive, I counted my pulls. 19-20-21-22… at 22, I looked down to the very welcome sight of the base plate with all its tags ready for the day, some 3m from me. I felt good. I was able to even pause and choose which tag to take, rather than just grabbing and going. I glided up the line. I felt great. I nailed my surface protocol. I just proved to myself what I could do, and what I am capable of doing next. There may have even been a yell of elation.

PB photo
Showing off my tag for my 25m Free Immersion dive in Taupo on 23 March 2014. My depth PB. Photo by Kat Nevatt.

Of course, being freezing cold, and diving with a cap and not a hood meant that I managed to spasm my right arm, shoulder and side of my neck on the dive and waiting for the adjudication. Attempting to get onto the launch was interesting. The 25 minute hot shower and hot chocolate that followed was like manna from heaven.

Despite a few little niggles and my brain, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend with an incredible bunch of lunatics. Freedivers are a mad group, but they are also a wonderful shoal of merpeople. It is always such a pleasure being with others who love being in the water as much as I do. And so to the winter champs, and to ODEX in September. Countless lengths of working on my kick has already begun. There will be many more hours to go.

And so I sit here, with my fins across the way and my yoga mat behind me, missing the cold water of Lake Taupo and my wetsuit. My days have already been roughly ordered, and my WIPs and Books will not be neglected. Mind you, I may need to get my equinox back to the mindless knitting stage for the Lights Up Knitting in two weeks. It’s the Grand Budapest Hotel, and the trailer looks amazing. I can’t wait!

Summer has ended. My favourite season has begun. Now just to put my head down and reach my next set of goals. I have a very long way to go before June.

Swings and Roundabouts

November is always a busy month. It’s the festival of the Scorpio (and my part of the celebrations were absolutely fantastic), and there are usually other bits and pieces that fall into that end of year category as well. This November, it included the Dive Wellington Beuchat New Zealand Pool Freediving National Championships in Palmerston North, seeing OneRepublic live (and crossing that off my bucketlist), and celebrating 10 years of conference presentations with my second NDF Conference. It has also been a month of lows, and highs.

But we’ll start at the beginning of the month. I went and had morning tea at Sweet Pea with some lovely ladies, and caught up with friends over the course of the week. I don’t like big celebrations, so I usually take the time to see/talk to as many of my friends as possible. I like to take my festival week as time to reflect on what I have accomplished during the year. Where I have been, and what I want to do for the next celestial cycle.

Morning tea at Sweet Pea
Morning tea at Sweet Pea

And what a year it was. Travel, adventures, new friends, old friends, music, challenges, hard work, depression, dengue fever, equalization issues, heartache, laughter, and food. Take the Dengue, depression, and equalization issues out of that mix and I’ll do it all over again, thank you.

I got a plushy squid and a seahorse for my birthday. Look at the quizzical expression!
I got a plushy squid and a seahorse for my birthday. Look at the quizzical expression!

The Pool Champs were my first real foray back into the water since Gili in July. I was conservative in both my dynamics attempts, and my statics just let me down completely. I was terrified in disappointing myself, but breathing and music, and just letting go helped. I can start edging back now, after the frustration of just feeling like hitting a brick wall with lack of energy and ear pain. Depth is still going to be a challenge. A big challenge. But baby steps. It was a great weekend with some really brilliant people.

Casper - our entertainment at the Pool Champs. A regular dynamo.
Casper – our entertainment at the Pool Champs. A regular dynamo.

Which finished with seeing OneRepublic live. Still so very stoked about this concert. It was wonderful. Ryan Tedder is a brilliant singer and they are all incredible musicians. They have promised us more concerts in the future, and I look forward to each and every one. Another bucketlist experience completed. (Not to mention the Day of the Doctor in 3D at the Embassy. I have no words for that!)

OneRepublic playing Secrets. It was all that.
OneRepublic playing Secrets. It was all that.

And then, there was NDF. I love this conference. I decided last year it would become my annual conference, and I stick to that. But it was difficult this year, so I need to apologise to all those who were there and do read this blog for being off my game.

Back. Again.
Back. Again.

Murphy would have it that a low would hit on Friday, and continue through the week. I had a great time seeing catching up with many, many people – and the presentations were all brilliant. I took notes, I presented, and soaked I it all in. But it took quite a bit to just focus on being there that some of the enjoyment was blunted. And people I really should have been catching up with just got a passing hi and bye. So – my apologies for that.

Yes. I did read them Pratchett. I did reference Tolkien, Dr Who and the Terminator. So?
Yes. I did read them Pratchett. I did reference Tolkien, Dr Who and the Terminator. So?

I guess I can chart how far I’ve come since April. I got out of bed. I went. I was present and absorbed information. I didn’t hide and the blankets and cry like I really, really wanted to do. What I would love to be doing now. But I am strong enough to not be hiding, or crying. I am able to identify what is exacerbating the feeling. I just need to accept things and try not to worry about the what ifs.

That is the real rub. I get frustrated with myself for feeling so damn wretched when I have nothing to feel wretched about. I have a good job, a beautiful apartment, great friends, my health, an incredible Other Half who doesn’t realise how extraordinary he is, a wonderful family, and people who care. I have all this, and yet, I still feel numb. It is so difficult to articulate, let alone try to get people to understand this feeling or lack thereof.

In fact, the only way I can really work through it is by writing about it, so I’m afraid you have to listen to me ramble. It is something that has been suggested to me as a mechanism of some sort. Maybe it’ll help somebody else work through an issue bugging them as well. Maybe I should just be writing fiction and the illusive first novel instead. Who knows? I enjoy blogging. I just hope I don’t bore you all too much, eh?

So, here’s to the Festival of the Sagittarius. Us Scorpios have had a damn fine parade, it’s time for those fiery archers to have their turn. I will be waxing lyrical about pretty, pretty yarn next post because I have an overwhelming need to start new projects. But I shouldn’t. And I won’t. I think.

Dengue Fever and starting from zero. Again.

So. I’ve been quiet. I still have those entries for my time in Gili T to write-up and backdate, but while my holiday over there was stunningly wonderful, I brought back a souvenir that has effectively taken all my hard work and rendered it null and void. Within 26 hours of being back in the country, I was in A&E with symptoms of Dengue Fever.

We went through the whole gamut of tests – lumbar punctures, blood tests (I swear they were draining me dry), urine, visual, etc, etc, etc. I spent hours in A&E before being in isolation for a few days, and spent the total of a week in hospital. Rash, spiking temperature, excruciating pain and hypersensitivity, and I’m sure there were periods of deliriousness too. I appear to be one of the 5% that get Dengue badly. That’s not the end of it though. I now get to deal with the chronic fatigue that comes with the recovery. And the aching bones. And the non-existent ability to concentrate (makes reading and knitting difficult).

None of this helps my fight against depression. The meds have been a godsend, but even they can’t help me rally when the Black Dog is constantly at my feet, and the frustration at being weak, helpless and useless is pretty much a constant. I’ve lost 2 dress sizes (not that I had many to lose to start with). I’ve had to cancel my gym membership. I can’t go anywhere near a pool. I walk 250m down the road and I’m shattered. The more tired I become, the less I am able to mask the pain. Which becomes more frustrating because I should be able to function normally, but presently, I can’t. And when I do try ignore the pain and the fatigue and do things I’d like to get done/participate in social activities/ see friends/ etc, it all goes horribly wrong and I pay the price when I get home.

I wonder what it is that Murphy is trying to tell me this time? Over these past few weeks, I’ve watched all the results from my training, yoga, stretching, swimming, walking, etc, etc slowly come undone. The work I did strengthening my ankles and getting my leg muscles balanced has gone out the window. My core strength is going, the muscle tone I’ve worked hard to keep will be non-existent by the time I’m able to do anything again. And all I want to do is counter it now. Do some yoga. Go to the gym. Swim a couple of lengths. Walk to Pencarrow. Anything that is not curled up on a couch or dozing in bed. But while the spirit is very willing, the flesh cannot physically complete any of these tasks. Which makes me despair. Also, because I know that the moment I am able to start again, I will probably push myself too hard. And that is also a very bad thing.

More so because I have now had countless people tell me “to be kind to myself”. Those who know me, know that this is not something I am good at. In fact, I fail dismally at looking after me. I have this expectation that I should be able to do something, and get it done – damn the consequences. That is how I have managed to get myself into a more or less constant state of injury over the past 20 years. Add to that the post-PhD fear of missing out: the having spent so long focussing on a future goal that once it is no longer, all you have left is the now.

There are so many philosophies that talk about mindfulness. Living in the moment. Being present and content with what is here and now. All we have is today. Buddhist principles are all about mind and body occupying the present: don’t linger in the past, or worry about the future. This is sometime to aspire to, but sometimes (and I am guilty of this), I neglect the future to experience the now. If the opportunity is there, I will take it. I have done this for the past few years now, and it has been quite a ride. But I am unable to do this currently, and it is painful to me. Not for the fear of missing out, but for opportunities wasted. It is a hard challenge for me. Probably the hardest I’ve faced so far, and it is something I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemies. As my brother sagely informed me this morning, when I have fully recovered, I’ll be stronger than ever. It’s a lovely sentiment, and I hope that it does come to pass because it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. I should probably think about learning and reciting the Serenity Prayer. I wonder if that will help…

But I should start taking Doctor’s orders (I am today), and plan my re-entry into society when I am finally able to do that again. I’ll write-up and post those entries from Gili T (with pictures) over the course of the next few days. But for now, it’s another cup of rooibos and sleep.

More on what I have managed to knit next time too. There has been colourwork and cables.

Failure is a relative term. Day 8.

I hate itchy bites with a passion. Went and stood knee-deep in the water waiting for the sunrise – that helped some.

Did a bit of shopping this morning: La Dolce Vita, Yin Jewellery, and scarves from this beautiful little shop – it truly was difficult to not walk away with one in every colour. I think I’m just about set now. Part of me is ready to go home, and part of me really doesn’t want to.

Another cafe setting up in the morning
Another cafe setting up in the morning

Because we were out on a fun dive – Mike and Kate were training for the Depths, and there were a few lines out for those of us tagging along. I was on a 20m line with Greg, and we just chilled for a while in the water. Avoiding mysterious stinging things in the water and just enjoying hanging on the line. CWT to 15 and 18 was fine (dolphin kicking back to the surface was so much fun), I pulled up at 20 without heading into freefall because my right ear was a world of pain. I couldn’t make it past 5 after that. Greg has the same issue. So we swam the kilometre and a bit back to the boat and proceeded to bake in the sun some more on the boat’s little foredeck.

Beautiful morning walking along the shore
Beautiful morning walking along the shore
These dive boats are crazy - the motors cost more than the boats themselves.
These dive boats are crazy – the motors cost more than the boats themselves.

So I failed my SSI level 2. I went and tried an earcandle to see if that would help, but I’m sure it did more harm than good. Yoga, at least, was fantastic: I managed a hand raise without falling over. And now I am just finishing packing. I bought a decent nose clip, another weight belt and a t-shirt. When the red from the sun today is gone: I’ll have a fantastic tan too. So I’m pretty much set for the trip back tomorrow, just the wetsuit to go.

I’ve just had a look at the temperature in Wellington: I probably shouldn’t have done that…

You put da lime in da coconut. Day 7.

I had a rest day today. Took a walk around the area to see what remains of the town after the rain. Many places flooded inside as the water seeped through the thatch. Usually they cover the roofs with tarpaulin during the rainy season so many were caught off guard. I had to duck puddles and large inland lakes on the road this morning en route to my morning pastry (it’s mostly compact dirt, so it has all turned to quagmire), but I took a few photos of what the place looks like – that was fun.

Gili Cat
Gili Cat
There is something seriously wrong with an item on this menu.
There is something seriously wrong with an item on this menu.
More fiends.
More fiends.
One of the arterial roads up from the jetty.
One of the arterial roads up from the jetty.
The town square
The town square

It promised to be a scorcher, and it delivered. I ambled towards the south of the island to where they have loungers and a bar and sunned myself while drinking fresh coconut and lime (at 9 in the morning). I had a decent doze, so that was fine. Between the thunder and competing calls to prayer from the mosques (it takes me back to my childhood, there was a mosque in the area, and the sound of the prayers is usually quite soothing. Unless the PA system is next door and it is set to be heard across all three islands), it was an unsettled night’s sleep. So I felt really tired this morning.

Evidence of putting lime in da coconut
Evidence of putting lime in da coconut

The sea was a little dirty on that side of the island, so apart from a quick dip, I basically tanned until my massage appointment (I love a good massage, so I was a very relaxed girl), and then I ambled on up the road to another Italian cucina – this one specialising in fish, and had grouper and baby octopodi for lunch, and headed to the northern tip of the island for sun, swimming, a little snorkelling, and to be propositioned by 3 different men, all wanting a girlfriend. Apart from fending off these awkward suitors, it was quite lovely at the top of the island.

View at lunch
View at lunch
a barnacled beam at the north of the island
a barnacled beam at the north of the island
lazing at the north of the island
lazing at the north of the island

The water was clear and warm, and with the artificial reefs, there were rays and turtles and many fish to swim with.
Yoga, however, was very painful on my ankles, and I have decided to just enjoy my fresh coconut for dinner and head to bed. I’ve my last chance to make the depth tomorrow, and I’m going to try swimming down eyes closed. No lanyard does make things difficult, but I’m so close to freefall… and I’m really looking forward to it.

chilling in the arvo at the centre of wifi connectivity
chilling in the arvo at the centre of wifi connectivity

So my muscles are loose, I got a lovely tan, I have gorged myself on coconuts, and I have just relaxed today. It has been good. Pity the bites on my feet are so darned itchy so I’m just going to keep on ignoring them until they go away.

Tropical Rain Again. Day 6.

It started out alright. I watched the sun come up, and then hung around outside Le Dolce Vita waiting for it to open.

I managed to snaffle some of those glorious custard pastries to have with breakfast, and pre-ordered the stromboli to be picked up at lunch. We started with a quick static session so that Vincent managed his 2:45, and then had a lazy 50m warm-up DYN (Dynamic with fins – distance in a pool on a single breath with fins). I felt I could have smashed at least 75m in this state. The water was lovely, and I forewent the wetsuit for togs. I was then told off for performing a non-depth dynamic: I needed to be kicking the entire distance, not the kick and glide that I’m used to. I manage just over 60m. Then Kate let me try on her carbon fins. My ankles are in love and I have a serious case of fin envy – they are just so light! The only downside to the wearing fins is that they’re rubbing on some mozzie bites I managed to pick up yesterday. I looked at them last night and hoped they aren’t going to lead to anything more. I don’t know what made me think that, but the antihistamines are working (so far).

The training pool. I rocked my nemo cap.
The training pool. I rocked my nemo cap.

And then it all went downhill from there. It was another beautiful day out on the water, and we went back to sunset to try again. I was too stressed and therefore dived badly. I managed a 23m FIM (new PB), but I needed to do 20m+ CWT. I got to 18m before needed to turn, and then couldn’t get past 10m due to equalisation and losing my cool. I am still pretty upset about it, but there’s nothing I can do now. The moment we got back on the boat my calf cramped again, so I missed diving the Bounty. Which has just upset me even more.

The only upside was being kept company by a mad Frenchman from the Pyrenees who was also having issues equalising. Greg is a tattoo artist with some amazing ink. He is also a rock climber and spearo and we chatted about diving spots around Noumea – which he had done in January, and I had snorkelled some of the reserves in April. We watched some serious clouds build up over Lombok, but as we were told with certainty by the locals: it never rains in July.

It's dark, I know - but that is the pool overflowing in the deluge. Trust me.
It’s dark, I know – but that is the pool overflowing in the deluge. Trust me.

I’m sitting here now watching it absolutely bucket down. We cancelled our “graduation dinner” as the roads are currently about a metre underwater, and the island has shut up shop. There are lightning strikes on Meno and the hill above us. It was magnificent to see the clouds roll in, and the sheet of water sweep across from Lombok. It started during yoga class, and has not abated in the 2 hours since. We’re sitting in front of the office, watching light fittings fill with water, the swimming pool overflow, and horse carts up to their seats in water. This storm is an absolute doozy. The island is floating away, but my room is on stilts, so that’s okay.