I’ve been shaking out the piggy banks and flexing the credit cards for the past few weeks, eyes screwed up and fingers firmly in my ears. The BBC series South Pacific has become compulsory Sunday night viewing in the Guineapig household. We’re going on holiday. Had I mentioned that? A BIG holiday. The sort of holiday that consumes the boys’ inheritance. We’re off to the other side of the world.
I wasn’t much older than GP1 when I first decided I wanted to dive. We lived in Jamaica at the time and I had already spent many hours snorkelling over the coral reefs. Diving was the obvious next step. Being one of six children, though, nothing came on a plate and my mother refused to pay for me to join the dive club; I had to wait until I could pay for it myself. I took a year off after A levels and taught in a small High School in Kingston where the girls weren’t much younger than me and I used my earnings to fund my diving. There were a few weeks in the pool and then it was off to the coast, and every weekend from then on was spent heading for one reef or another.
I was 18 and diving has been my passion ever since. I’ve now dived around much of the British and Irish coast, from Rockall and Muckall Flugga to Thanet and the Scillies, taking in Rathlin and the Saltee Islands on the way. There have been trips to other parts of the world over the years, although noticeably fewer since children came on the scene, but I have never been Down Under. I’ve never been to Australia or New Zealand, never dived the Barrier Reef. So this summer, that’s what we’re going to do.
We’re heading for Australia via Singapore, then on to Fiji, San Diego and home. The boys are learning to dive before we go and will do their first dives in the sea on the Great Barrier Reef. It feels hugely extravagant but after everything that’s happened in the last couple of years I don’t really care. GPD and I want to share our obsession with the children while we can and while they’re at an age when they can appreciate it. If they like diving, that’s great. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter at all but they’ll have had a go. They’ve both just done exams this summer and who knows, they may not want to go on holiday with their parents for that much longer. It took a bit of effort persuading GPD that he really could take a whole month off work, that the place wouldn’t come to a standstill without him. It took a bit of will power on my part to turn down a couple of interesting/lucrative jobs because we were going on holiday. Once in a while, these things just have to be done. And they have to be done before the children have grown up while you weren’t looking.
We’ve only planned in a couple of days diving, in case they hate it. We can do more if it all works out. If you look on Google Earth, the place we’re going to in Fiji is a white speck surrounded by rainforest and sea so there’ll be plenty of opportunity there to dive, if we want to. And after Fiji, we’re going to catch up with Kris, a friend from the past in San Diego. The wonders of Facebook!
Not long to go now. A few last minute things to do – should I shell out more cash on a netbook, for instance, so that we can download photos while we’re away (and maybe do the odd blog post…)? And could I trust Amazon to deliver when they say? Can I live without my underwater camera? We’re reading the guidebooks, taking advice from Potty Mummy and others, wondering what to do in Singapore and elsewhere. All suggestions welcome!
We can’t wait!
Must nip off now; there’s still time to dig around down the back of the sofa.
Photo credit: Richard Ling (Must scan some of my own 🙂 )