Kimi B Ley

From life as a beach bum scuba instructor in a bounty ad., to the joys of englandshire-upon-sewageville...Hugs and I'll blow some bubbles for ya

Monday, April 30, 2007

Kiwi weekenders

Doug Jupiter Mcdonnell of the cosmos and Hanky

Great Quotes#1: Tom Robbins

If carlsberg was an author it'd probably be Tom Robbins, in my opinion the finest, most fabulous and inventive user of the english language!!! Read some if you haven' me.

"She lunched on papaya poo poo or mango mu mu or some other fruity foo foo bursting with overripe tropican vowels."

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business."

"Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature."

"It is never too late to have a happy childhood."

"Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Great Quotes#2: The Sea and Diving

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. - Isak Dinesen

Buoyed by water, he can fly in any direction - up, down, sideways - by merely flipping his hand. Under water, man becomes an archangel.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free. - Jacques-Yves Cousteau

What's important in life is not how many breaths we get to take but those moments that take our breath away. - Jaques-Yves Cousteau

No human being, however great and powerful, was ever so free as a fish. - John Ruskin

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. - Robert Henri

"I'd like to be....under the an octopus' garden in a cave..." - Ringo Starr

"we'll hold hands and watch the sunrise from the bottom of the sea." - Jimi Hendrix.

The Deckies...

Evan(hard at work or hardly working?)and Nice Kiwi Doug(over for a brief weekender visit)

Evan, Macky et moi

The deckies...these are figures of some local renown around Brighton, they walk the beach all day through the summer renting out that british icon of the summer; the deckchair. I am not one, however my kiwi boys Dave and Evan are, as is the uberfab Macky, and I've met a fair few of the others(Niso, Josh et al)...and am not adverse to spending a day reclining down there, supping beer from the Fortune of War, reading a book and overseeing their activities;)

Must comment that it is far easier returning to the UK when the weather is bright and warm as it has been this April, if this is global warming then I'm all for it;) It's really pretty enjoi-able to be able to sit outside down at the beach, fresh air,sea and sunlight.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sleeping in Hammocks...

Well in case it wasn't abundantly clear (or you're slightly slow) I was back in Thailand of late: Phi Phi, Lanta and Lipe for 6 weeks. I had a superb time back in my second home, and am still an islander at heart. The cameraderie and community is so strong...don't think I'm all rose-tinted nostalgia however. I remember and know that at times island madness/fever takes hold, that there are times you wish everyone didn't know everything, but...I still miss that crazy lil island and my peeps there. A couple more higlights...

For the first time in all the years I've dived I dived in a rash vest instead of wetsuit, such ease of movement, the feel and sensation of the 31 degree water... I loved it and am chuffed I was talked into giving it a go!!!!

I also discovered a new found enjoyment of, and appreciation for Losammah dive site, the last site I dived before returning to the UK:( was mindblowing and uber-amazing!!! You know how it is when you see something or somewhere in an entirely new light?

Barry – I enjoyed many a sambuca-fuelled evening with the irish pikey, and must admit to muchos respect for his electrical skills (and hidden articles up terribly high above a well-known London landmark and stadium). You are the daddy!!!! The glaring sight of his pastey-white arse having dive-bombed into the pool will haunt me for some time yet...;)

SuperScuba Jon helped me break a hammock with our immense combined obese-esque weight, shared the odd singha and king cruiser cocktail (so named as it gets you wrecked), and offered me a temporary position as his Personal Assistant. I feel his profound loss over his long-owned comfy shoes disappearing, apologies;)If I had the time I'd organise a charity drive to send care packages of carrots, onions and peas over to him since those are the only veg he can face. Thank buddha (or should it be Oh my buddha?)Ya is over and making him her rather delicious homemade chips. Thank you maak maak and long time. Miss him...

Clare one of the best friends you could be lucky enough to meet, and strong beyond belief...I'm so excited you're coming to the uk for summer!!!Thank you, thank you, thank you XXXX

Vix and Fausto – miss you loved-up guys, and Fausto could have been over for years. that you and Cian went up into the jungle bamboo-hunting, Fausto most insistent that bamboo doesn't look like bamboo, therefore they spent an evening hacking at anything non-bamboolike...inspired!!! Vix, always amazing and beautiful...Thanks chick.

Also big up to Johann, Evan, Jamie and Connie at Dusk Bar, and Padrey and Ming at Talay restaurant both up at Sunset Village, Viewpoint resort.

And all the other islanders: Jenny, hopefully we'll get more time together soonest; Neill, keep healthy, and clothed; Toby,X,Donald,Paul,Tim,James,Mark at Tiger and Sports Bar;D.D. obviously; Cian and Lisa; Ya...and all the folks I've forgotten to name...loves y'all.

So in all likelihood and if all goes to plan, I'll sit out summer in Brighton and then head back and work high season on pp as an instructor again!!! Yeeee-ha, Wo-hoo!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Birthday Boy: April 4th

I was honoured to be about on phi phi for D.D.'s birthday. I've known D.D. on and off since he arrived on pp about 4 years ago, and used to work in the shop next to the one I worked in. He is a superb pool partner, gossip and dancing partner and style afficiando!!!Blue View Divers provided the boat for the day and we headed out diving....

Lisa, Ya, Archie, Vix took DD, I took Evan and Pookie came out on the boat too.

It was DD's millionth DSD (discover scuba diving), since he never gets round to doing his OW course (slacker) but that means he's very good in the water and obviously loves it....and it was Evan's first time worries bro believe!!!I love taking and teaching friends diving for the first time, watching how mesmerised and enthralled they are(and it helps when they're a natural).

Diving Diva...There were underwater renditions of happy birthday, a birthday kiss,a birthday dance....and during dive 2 D.D. saw his first turtle!!! Tim Ecott expresses it well in his book Neutral Bouyancy “to swim at a respectful distance from a turtle and match its pace without making it fearful is to fall in love, charmed by ancient eyes”.

After a great day diving with friends we headed to Pums Restaurant in the evening. D.D. manages Pums on Phi Phi, and many of his close friends and dedicated fag hags came to eat his divine food and keep him company.

The next morning we enjoyed a girlie sesh at ton sai massage, manicures and pedicures to beautify and pamper ourselves.(Please no comments about the fact there were 9 girls at one point dealing with us...your feet get pretty minging and hard when you walk around barefoot or in jangles:flip flops) Muchly enjoyable and amusing...there now exists the D.D. Pedicure, painting each toenail a different colour nail varnish...rainbow feet..I love it!!!

Ki'ora: Evan

Aaah, my crazy kiwi winner of a friend!!! A fellow face-licker, closet nature-documentary lover, keeper of random knowledge (therefore not too shabby in a pub quiz), advocate for the belief that if you were at sea it would be useful to employ some dwarves, who could carry limes on ammo belts about their person to compliment tequila, rum and prevent scurvy, and my fellow Brightonian friend came along and joined me for a couple of the weeks I was on Phi Phi.

He unfortunately never got round to getting a bamboo tattoo of a trout riding a tricycle on his back, nor frangipani coming up his side over his shoulder and up his neck as he had hoped :( However the ocassional drinks may have passed our lips here and there!!! He made a fabulous boy toy and member of Team Jesus for D.D., drinking comrade for Archibald 3rd (also on a wee visit up from the wedding on Lipe), regular piece of furniture at viewpoint pool and bar, and dancing partner, all-round friend for me:)I have even forgiven the up-chuck his first night upstairs in my mates bar, Tiger...(forgiven, yet find hugely amusing)

Evan and Fausto at Tiger.

Arcie and Evan

We trekked up to viewpoint (after a heavy night, in the midday heat requiring me to pause about 6 times on the climb), down through the jungle to Runtee Bay for a spot of snorkelling, bouldered over to Loh Moodee, and Long Beach one afternoon...pretty active huh? Anyhoo basically Evan saw his first shark...yeah!!!! Blacktip Reef Shark!!!
It was also a constant source of interest to see what Evan would find each day to replace his ear plug piercing...varying from frangipani, dead coral, pink straws to bamboo...such initiative!!!

The original plan was that Kiwi Boy, Dave-cat, was due to join us too on his flight back from N.Z. All did not go to plan though, and being easter etc., he was unable to bring his ticket forward so remains in kiwi-land until the end of May.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

St. Paddy's Day

St. Paddy's day necessarily meant muchos drink and frivolity (and a lil mischief too...sorry). Happy Irish-ness to D.D., Cian, Barry and Padrey!!!

D.D. and I pouting our way through the festivities

Clare, moi, D.D. and Barry

Barry and I were feeling the caleigh dancing vibe on the street...

Jenny, Clare and Me upstairs at Reggae Bar

Cian may not have made the whole way up the hill to bed at the end of the night, requiring Lisa to get up,dress,put her contact lenses in and search and recover him from a brief nap-break part way up at 4.30am!!! and I should thank Jon for doing the gentlemanly thing and escorting me home via sunflower bar's comfy sofa...what a hero;)

Blue View Divers - Ko Phi Phi

Okay, so as a general enthusiast, instructor and ex-islander these are the guys I dive with every time I return to Phi Phi. I must send a heartfelt thanks and much love to them for the dives, fun and friendship they continue to offer me...thanks to you all xxx

Blue View Divers can be located nestled on the hillside, part of Viewpoint Resort and Sunset Village at the far end overlooking Loh dalum.This is diving as it should be in Thailand, off their customised longtail boat Kathleen, allowing access to the beaches and bays the larger dive boats cannot reach. They offer small diving groups, and a personalised service, lead by friendly, relaxed and professional staff, a far cry from the hurried, conveyor-belt diving experience. Boats leave at times of day where other dive schools and their divers are rarely encountered, frequently leaving Blue View Divers the only divers on a selected dive site. This school is active in marine conservation and clean up days, and supports close ties with the local community including the free training of the thai rescue team. Blue View dive because it is their passion, more than a mere tourist-trap business, staffed by people who wish to share the joy and priviledge they experience whilst diving daily in Phi Phi's spectacular National Marine Park.

Jon is one of the most competent SSI and PADI instructors I ever had the opportunity to work with. He exudes calm, confidence and patience, enabling even the most nervous student to enjoy their diving experience. A close friend and diving partner yet don't just take my word for it, check out this review in the thai newspaper The Nation:

Lisa is an enthusiastic and fun Divemaster, thorough in briefings and post-dive logging taking her customers through fish books, explaining more about the behaviour and life of the marine life seen earlier. On a more personal note, congratulations to Lisa on reaching her 500th dive whilst I was over this time!!!

Barry is also an adept, fun divemaster and all-round great guy (albeit with a dubious sense of humour-sorry Baz) to be found staffing the new Blue View Divers Beach Club located as part of Sunflower Bar on Loh-dallum beach itself, with the beautiful Ya.

Congratulations to Ya for completing your DM course, a welcome, friendly addition to the team...who has truly astounding air-comsumption, a real pleasure to dive with!!

Clare is the founder of Blue View Divers, and joint owner and manager with Cian. I had the pleasure of being both close friends and working side-by-side as instructors with Clare all those years ago. Clare has been a familiar, respected face on Phi Phi for 7 years now, and her knowledge of the island is second to no other farang. She helped lead the tsunami recovery efforts on the island, speaks fluent thai and knows pretty much is her personality and knowledge that is the essence of the dive shop. As she walks about the island Vou-dog is never far from her side, and is defo., the shop mascot, to be seen protecting his territory up at Viewpoint Resort, sleeping off a hard day in the shop, or bounding up and licking the salt off you!!!

Cian is the new partner and manager, although long term friend of BVD. His friendly enthusiasm, ideas and drive are a refreshing and positive addition to the team...along with his professional attitude and sense of humour. He makes everyone feel welcome and special, and as a previous travel agent on the island has plenty of ideas for dry-day activities

Or if in Ko Lanta...

If you wish to dive from Ko Lanta, my advice would be to try these guys:

Run by Saffron and Darrel, you have a choice of 2 dive resorts under their management; Scuba Fish and Narima Diving, both exceptionally professional and friendly dive shops.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Diving - Immersion

So lets see whether I can do credit to my passion...scrabble around for appropriate the enticing nature of tropical scuba diving...hmmmn!

Amongst the Ko Phi Phi Marine Park are two spectacularly beautiful dive sites, Bida Nok and Bida Nai.You sink below the surface to a mass of life hanging in the depths amongst the coral. The rock walls and pinnacles are covered by velvety pink and red barrel sponges and intricate gorgonian sea fans larger than me. You emerge through a swimthrough, the glassfish parting before you to hover effortlessly above the reefs,gorging yourself in the abundant colour.

Red and white squirrelfish shelter beneath vast sheets of plate-like table coral, damselfish dart in and out of the bony branches of the staghorn corals tipped with blue or white, and whip coral rises above the reef battling, flailing and writhing in the current. The richness and diversity of this underwater fairytale cake-icing landscape offer up knotted fan corals; white, yellow, pink, purple, black soft corals, hawksbill turtles feeding on pink bubble corals, and mounds of brain coral.

You hang motionless, air bubbles a glittering trail to the surface, priviledged to be amongst schools of yellow-striped snappers moving as a single entity; black and white striped seasnakes gliding, hunting or swimming to the surface for air; tiny, cute yellow boxfish swim about their snout pursed like a kiss; the trumpetfish hover head down;the copious tropical colours of the parrotfish and wrasse, angelfish, butterfly fish and emprorers- so regal, in stark contrast to the vaious species of moray eel mouth agape, looking like as if its swallowing testing the current for morsels to eat; clownfish dart in and out fiercly protecting their anemone, anemones of fleshy blues and pinks; scorpionfish so well camoflauged and adapted, often only their eyes betray their position to the keen diver;lionfish feathery finned suspended waiting for its prey;tigertail seahorses so delicate, perfect and bizarre nestled and anchored amongst the roots of fan corals, sprouting from nooks in the rock walls;anemonecrabs and porcelain crabs minute visible only as the current lifts and gently drops the underside of larger anemones; oriental and harlequin sweetlips;lobsters antennae protruding from a crevasse; perhaps the simple beauty and grace of a featherstar freeswimming, no longer clinging to the top of a fan; and the graceful leopard shark saunters effortlessly past, so perfectly designed,so elegant...sunlight penetrates the water, the silvers and neon colours shimmering and glinting...

Diving “provokes joy and contentment in a world where people find less and less space to experience their own personal space” (as Time Ecott says in his fab book Neutral Bouyancy). Each dive is a haven, freedom, equilibrium, allowing your mind to free itself of the everyday clutter of the terrestrial world, allowing perspective. There exists a degree of intimacy in diving with other people, no verbal communication, merely a shared experience, look or signal...

Na, can't do it justice, you'll just have to give it a go eh?

ooo, mwah

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Save the Shark!!!!

My phone rings. It is a chilled out day following a heavy late night at Tiger:

Toby(all breathless): Where are you? Do you know where D.D. is?
Kimi: I'm relaxing in the bungalow, haven't made it out yet, probably same for him.
Toby: There's a shark washed up on ton sai beach near the hospital!!! It's still breathing, I need help to try and get it back in the water. What do I do? Can you come down?
Kimi: S**t!!! Keep it wet, I'll be down soon as, I'll get some peeps...

Kimi phones her mates at Blue View Divers and grabs Evan. Kimi wuns (walks, so fast its pretty much runs) across the island in 38 degree heat, sweating 90% proof from the night before, picturing and planning how to float the shark, what we may need etc.

Nearing Cabana hotel, phone rings:

Toby: Where are you?
I tell him
Toby: What's the date Kim?

Oh yes April 1st!!! April f**king fool!!!!
I am unable to repeat the remainder of our conversation at pretty much any hour, who knew I possessed so many expletives?! As I finish the call Barry runs up, closely followed by Ya, Jon and Cian. Blue View Divers had shut the shop so that all staff could help!! Hmmmmmn...hehehehe!!!

We all then have to walk back past Sports Bar (the daytime haunt and sister bar to Tiger staff) where they are all laughing "ooooh save the shark, save the shark"...buggers!!! They got us soooo good that I couldn't even really be cross, rather had a grudging respect for their ingenuity...(and we got a free beer each for giving them a laugh.)

On a theme they'd also put up a sign outside advertising non-eco friendly tours, "150THB Dynamite fishing on Hin Deang" or " Come spear-fishing in our National Marine Park - Whalesharks, Mantas, Turtles and Dolphins... Boys!!!

Moray eel eats thumb - the vdo

Slight tangent warning!!!

Okay, so long time readers and amigoes will know a lil story of a friend of mine having his thumb somewhat bitten off and removed by a moray eel...and sometime later having one of his toes transplanted into it's place. Finally it's available for public consumption so have a lookie:

Thumb Gets Eaten By Eel! - For more funny movies, click here

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Karma Wedding - March 7th

The bar has been set!!!!

When I first arrived on Ko Phi Phi all those years ago there existed a legendary bar on the beach, called Karma Bar. Many since tried to emulate it but with little success because it was the staff, the warmth, generosity, spirit of fun and laissez-faire, and in particular Kansas Jeff that provided it's essence. Together with Princess Fiona, they and Karma Bar moved to Ko Lipe in 2004, which was the beautiful, charming, utopian setting for their wedding.

Words alone cannot touch or begin to define their special day, surrounded by friends and family who had all travelled from and represented most countries on the planet (and perhaps even other galaxies- guru Din!). From South Africa, Canada, the US of A, Germany, Sweden, France, Ireland, Scotland, Singapore etc., to the Chao Ley community of Lipe, all were enveloped in the real joy and love shared by this couple.

The procession down from Mountain Resort; their thai flower girls scattering petals along the sand before them; the floral arch under which they wed on the beach in front of Karma; receiving the traditional buddhist thai water blessing (Rod Nam Sang - Rod: Soak, Nam: Water,Sang: Conch. The couple wai(hands together similar to a westerner praying), whilst guests pour sacred water from a conch over their hands as a blessing) whilst holy string connects both their heads symbolic of their spiritual union; after sunset releasing thai lanterns up into the night sky; the fireworks; the fireshow; everything so very perfect that I am unable to do it justice.

Mrs Kansas Jeff and Mr Princess Fiona

The Bride and Groom

Ko Lipe, Karma Beach

Karma beach

Sunset over Lipe

D.D. and Toby letting off a lantern

I had so much fun catching up with old skool faces that had in our lil transient way parted ways for other places, then all come back together for the Karma wedding.

Walter Lauter Laufer, it could have been yesterday instead of 3 or 4 yrs. Happy memories of you teaching us military gun drills in pp karma, where's wally costumes made of coconuts...everyone should have a pocket-sized Wally to keep them smiling. Loch, Darrel, Saffers, Trev, Simon, Wanna, Cowboy Kiang, still all amazing...

My travelling companions Toby and Donald, my beautiful friends Clare, D.D., Vix and Fausto I had an uberfab. time on Lipe with you all.

Clare, D.D. and Me dolled up for the wedding

Donald, Toby, D.D. et moi

D.D. working it with Chao Ley children