#5: Singapore

Well there’s no doubt that 2019 has been off to a very busy start for me. Between a return trip to the Philippines for this years surgical mission (just as magical as the last trip!) and getting four of my wisdom teeth out thanks to a terrible dental abscess I obtained whilst on said trip (the not so magical part) – I managed to interweave a little wind-down holiday in Singapore.

For those who follow the blog, you’ll know that #5 on my bucket list is to travel somewhere new each year, somewhere I’ve never been before. This year I chose Singapore due to it’s close proximity to the Philippines and the chance it provided for a little bit of a wind down after a very busy two weeks operating in the Philippines.

What made this trip even more special, was the fact that my Mr. met me over there in his first ever trip overseas! I don’t think anyone could have moved faster than me as I headed down that terminal corridor in a beeline for the arrival gate to run into his arms. I was just so excited to finally be travelling with him!

By the time I arrived at Changi Airport, my Mr. had been there for a little over 3 hours arriving on a much earlier flight from Australia. For someone who had never travelled overseas before, he had already collected his bearings giving directions out to other tourists we met on the way through the terminal and efficiently navigated my tired and sore self through the airport to the taxi bay. I was impressed.

Clambering into a taxi, we were lucky to have one of the most friendliest drivers I’ve ever met. As we took in the sights of Singapore by night, he happily chatted away giving us tips on the best spots in town, and the things we must do whilst visiting. Dropping us to our doorstep on River Valley Road, a skip and hop from the centre of the city, he help lug our heavy bags up the steps of our hotel. He wished us a safe trip, and left us to check in.

Thankfully, checking in was smooth and quick process – it was about 10pm by this time, and both my Mr. and I were looking forward to stretching out after our travels. Despite our varying levels of exhaustion, we spent the better half of the next two hours catching each other up on the events and adventures of our time apart whilst I had been in the Philippines. We don’t spend a lot of time apart in our lives, and it showed. Eventually, our eyelids were heavy enough to facilitate sleep, waking only as the sun began to show itself the next morning.

Stopping in at Starbucks on the way to the MRT, we caffeinated and cream cheese bagel-ed before setting out to Sentosa Island. In true tourist form, Universal Studio’s was first on our list of places to visit. Deciding to fly over to the island in style, we caught the sky cable cars from Vivo City Shopping mall. The cable cars gave us a spectacular birds-eye view of Singapore and Sentosa Island on a 10 minute trip across the bay.

After getting a little side-tracked by the amount of things to see on Sentosa, we finally arrived at Universal Studios Singapore. The theme-park weaved us through five major movie sets, each area adorned with it’s own rides and food stalls. And like any good adventure park, they had a show in the water-sports arena which we both loved (spoiler alert: watch out for the sea plane!). For any Aussie’s reading this, Universal Studios is very similar to our Movie World, and worth visiting!

Looping through Universal a couple of times, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring a little more of Sentosa Island – after all, the sun sets late, and there was still plenty of it. We followed the signs to the eastern side of the island, to see the beaches of Palawan and Tanjong. The stretch of beach between the two destinations made for a really lovely afternoon walk, with a pitstop to walk the suspension beach at Palawan. From a tower located on the other side of the bay, we took in the 360 degree surrounding, appreciating the cool vantage point it provided.

Speaking to almost everyone before our trip, the two words to describe Singapore were clean, and humid. And I truely believe those two descriptions will neither cease to be true, or ever change – because Singapore was just that. Not that we minded in the slightest – in fact, upon returning home, we were met with the same kind of humidity, so it wasn’t too much outside the norm. And while we appreciated the air con when we crossed paths with it, we grew accustomed quickly to the balmy glow.

The beach club at Tanjong Beach provided us with a quick rest spot before beginning the walk back to the cable car hub. Ordering a cider and an iced tea, we watched the sun start to set over the ocean. We had only been in Singapore for one day, but we were already willing to adopt it as our home – and even more so after our dinner back on the mainland in China town (hands down the best Chinese to date, without being in China!).

Navigating throughout Singapore is a dream. The whole city is both well-signed and well-organised, which makes it easy when you’re a visitor. When travelling in Singapore, the EZ-Link card is your best friend. Between my Mr. and me, we spent less than $90 for the week in travel costs (inclusive of our tour-like taxi ride). Getting from one side of the city to the other, cost us $1.83 each – which I think to be excellent as far as public transport goes.

Masters of the Singapore transit by day two, we headed out away from the city centre to Singapore Zoo – allegedly one of the best zoo’s in the world. Stepping out of the MRT, we caught the zoo’s tourist bus for $1 to it’s entrance and excitedly headed through the gates. We did both the main zoo, and the River Safari (which was my personal favourite given my love for all things Giant Panda) and it wasn’t hard to see why the zoo was held in such high regard world wide – this place was simply amazing. We loved every fur, scaled and feathered moment.

We filled the third day with an array of activities and sight seeing – determined not to miss anything. From Madam Tussauds, to flying down the Sentosa Luge (four times I might add); venturing out to Siloso Beach, and then back to the mainland to visit the infamous Gardens by the Bay by dusk – it was busy day.

Getting to admire Gardens by the Bay whilst in Singapore, isn’t just recommended, I almost think it’s a rite of passage for any traveller in this part of the world. This place is the heart of the city, and a beautifully vibrant one at that. Watching it come to life as the sun dipped behind the horizon was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my young twenty-something years. From exotic blooms in the Flower Dome, to the hauntingly beautiful Cloud Forest with misted greenery – there was only one other place that could out-do the both of them.

The Supertree Grove is likely to have been the first picture you see when you ‘google’ Singapore. Giant metal infrastructure created to resemble trees, cascade over you as you walk through it’s valley and it takes the cake. Intwined with greenery, the Supertree’s come alive with colour once the sun sets, set alight with a flick of a switch – like glittering Christmas tree’s, but on a whole other level.

Without knowing, my Mr. and I had stumbled upon the perfect place to eat dinner and watch this happen. Sitting at the base of the biggest and most central Supertree, we lay on our backs to watch the Garden Rhapsody. For fifteen minutes we watched the tree’s change colour, lighting up the night sky and sparkling effortlessly in harmony to it’s music. For a girl who thinks twinkling fairy light to be spectacular – this was a moment of happiness in it’s most pure form (easily pleased, I know, but I can’t help it).

Day four saw us visit Little India bustling with life and colour; Merlion Park – which was unfortunately down for maintenance (all the more reason to come back, right?); Orchard Road and it’s renown shopping precinct capable of overwhelming even me! And Clarke Quay – a colourful gem on the doorstep of our hotel.

Clarke Quay was our pick for dinner, and a lively place to finally squeeze in a Singapore Sling (when in rome…). Although the rumours of alcohol being outrageously expensive in Singapore ring true, the beauty of it’s alter ego is an all-day happy hour on Sunday (and Tuesdays in some places). Ergo, picture my Mr. and I enjoying two well-deserved cocktails on the edge of the river at sunset at a fraction of the price, and all the more happy for happy hour.

From Clarke Quay we caught a ferry out to the Marina Bay – which I recommend doing at night for the best views of Singapore. Big city lights adorned the horizon in every direction, and as I rested my head on  my Mr.’s shoulder I knew this was a moment I would always remember, and a perfect end to our last night in Singapore.

With one more destination left on the itinerary the next morning, we caught the MRT to Marina Bay Sands – also perhaps a staple google image to appear in your Singapore search. The famous hotel is comprised of three tall buildings with a large ship set atop it’s roof. The icon draws many guests in from overseas and boasts a large infinity pool which  is perhaps the most ‘instragram-able’ pool in the world. And we were heading up all stories to see Singapore from the top.

While the original plan had been to do this by night, plans were changed when a private event stole our thunder and occupied the deck for the only night we had available. So we had had to settle for a daytime viewing – which really can’t be complained about. It was the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a city we had fallen in love with. And as we made our way down to plant our feet back on the ground, we mentally right-clicked and saved the birds-eye view of Singapore under places to come back to one day soon.

If you want to see pictures (and you definitely should!), you can head to my POLARSTEPS travel tracker. All the details and itinerary destinations of our trip are there, including travel costs and some handy tips for visiting Singapore.

And if you wanted to see how we fell in love with Singapore in eight minutes, theatre-style – you are more than welcome to head over to my YouTube channel!

#5 – Travel; everywhere I’m able, and a new place every year: Check!

d x

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#39

At this point in my life, my strengths and weakness are becoming pretty clear. And not that I like to focus on my weaknesses by any means, but this blog entry relies on one of my biggest – balance.

Since I was little, my balance has never been my strong point. I can elegantly trip over my own feet standing still, and while that sounds like a unique talent, I assure you it’s never been beneficial.

I’ve tried everything from skateboarding to surfing, but I’ve just never been able to figure it out. Perhaps I’ve never really given it enough of a go, but after watching a documentary on bones at the age of sixteen, the fear of falling with my wrists out first has ever since had me fear unbalancing the wellbeing of my radius’.

But as all things go in my life, this determined bundle of ambition I call myself can’t seem to ever give up on the hope of one day not being capable of losing balance on flat ground (or in a room full of people at Pilates).

The thing is though, if you don’t keep trying, you never will learn something new. And I’ve grown to learn that the moment you believe you can’t do something, is the moment you quite literally can’t.

I met someone the other day who told me she couldn’t snorkel because she hadn’t ever had lessons. Now I’m not sure I’ve met one person who’s ever actually had a snorkelling lesson, so I was confused by the notion at the time. Put the mask on, breathe through the tube, swim. Granted it takes some getting used to at first, but I’ve always thought the process to be pretty straight forward.

The entirety of our trip at Isla De Potipot in northern Philippines, she refused to snorkel the beautiful reefs surrounding the island because she’d already made up her mind that she couldn’t. She was scared she would fail at it, and despite us all offering to teach her how, she declined.

And the more I think about it, the more it really stands out to me as a lesson on never imprisoning yourself in accordance to what you think is not possible. She missed out on a whole under water wonderland that day, and while she had every right to make that decision – I just couldn’t understand it.

So I guess when it comes to balance, why should the fact that I have none of it mean I should corner myself in. The reality is, I’m happy to fall off, over or out, if it means experiencing something new. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance and see where it takes you. To hell with the wellbeing of my radial bones, right?

Ergo, bucket list #39. Learning to stand-up paddle board (SUP, as it will from here on be abbreviated to).

It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. I live close to the beach, and on the ocean’s softer days, it’s home to many people aboard SUPs. To stand on the roof of the ocean, under blue skies and sunshine, had always struck me as being the dream.

On the fourth day of being at Moreton Island last year, we had woken up to a windless morning. The sea was calm, and clear. So my Mr. and I decided to hire a couple of SUPs and give it ago. The added bonus was that I figured falling off into water, would turn out to be a much softer break fall than concrete.

I must admit that while I knew my balance and lack thereof, would keep things interesting, I didn’t anticipate just how hard it would be to stand up, let alone remain upright.

In the time it had taken my Mr. to help me push my board out, head back to the beach, grab his board, head back out, stand up and paddle over the small breaking waves – I had barely accomplished kneeling on all fours.

He could barely control his laughter in between shouting encouragement my way as I put on a show that could only be likened to Bambi’s first steps. With wobbly legs and a whole degree of arm-waving, I finally stood up after far longer than I care to admit.

From there things got easier. Turns out standing up was the hardest part for me, the rest was relatively straight forward. While the occasionally lump in the ocean unsettled my balance, I never fell off. However I will admit to a fair bit of yelling, “Don’t come near me!” and some use of my oar as a jarring stick whenever my Mr. would teasingly come too close for comfort.

After we had paddled ourselves up the beach and back, we decided to spend the rest of our last hired hour laying on our boards. From the depths of the clear blue waters, we had been spotted by a pod of playful dolphins. Sitting on my sup with a smile as wide as my face plastered on, I watched them swim, dancing through the ocean as if it had been rehearsed especially just for us.

If I could SUP and swim with dolphins everyday, I would – because I’m really not sure how it ever gets any better than that, even if it does take me a small lifetime to stand up.

Balance or no balance, never let your weaknesses define what your capable of. There’s always a way if you will it. You can always do something extraordinary.

#39: Learn to Stand-up Paddleboard – Check!

d x

#66

When I was 12 years old, I broke my wrist riding a scooter down a hill. Granted that it could have been partly my fault given I had been sitting on the foot ledge rather than riding it properly, but you just couldn’t have convinced a younger me that this wouldn’t have ended in disaster at the time. Nevertheless, one fleeting 15 second ride led to a 6 hour wait in hospital and whole lot of not swimming in the middle of summer thanks to one very unfashionable cast.

When I was 13 years old, Dad let me drive the family run-around car back into the garage after we had finished washing it. It was one of those things that sounded like a good idea at the time, but later left you thinking why on earth did we do that. Because there were two things that went terribly wrong in the space of a few seconds. The first was that I forgot where the brake was; the second was that my soap-covered feet had little grip. Slipping on the accelerator was bad, crashing at a decent speed into the foundation wall of our two story house was worse, but forgetting where the brake was and plowing straight back into the wall a second time was downright priceless (in the most expensive way). This stunt also landed me in the emergency ward with a nasty gash to my forehead, and the requirement of a tetanus injection.

When I was 14 years old, I let my friend teach me how to ride her motorbike. I’d never ridden one before, nor did I really know how they worked – so naturally, this also seemed like a good idea. I actually hadn’t been doing too badly, the worst only happened when we decided to stop. You see, there’s a throttle on the handlebar and if you relax your wrist in the form of twisting down (don’t ask me how), you can find yourself tangled in a barb-wire fence pretty quickly with half a metal barb sticking out of your ankle, and a rather large third degree burn curtesy of the exhaust. Back to the hospital, and eight weekly burn dressings later – I never touched another motorbike.

When I was 15 years old, I let a boy push me down a grass hill in a shopping trolley. Was I sober? Yes. Was I smart? Not that day. Hitting a rock halfway down caused the trolley to capsize to the left crushing my elbow under both the trolley and myself. The stomach-turning crunch of my poor bones landed me a return trip to hospital, this time for a surgery and nine months of rehab. I still can’t look at shopping trolleys without cringing.

The point of these three stories is to show you that things with wheels and me, well we’ve never really gotten along. I purposely have never taken on a skateboard for obviously reasons, and have more than a few misfortunes to tell when it comes to my cars. The reality is, there would be less havoc in my life if the wheel had never been invented. But the greater good prevails, and as it turns out, they’re pretty useful in anyone else’s opinion.

But despite having sworn off wheels for the most part, there has always been one more set of wheels I’ve always wanted to try…

At #66 on the bucket list was to ride an adventure ATV, and call me crazy, but despite my unfortunate history with all things round – I’ve always been mentally prepared for the injury I would surely entailed completing this bucket list item.

When planning our trip to Moreton Island last year in November, I stumbled across an advertisement for riding beach ATV’s through the islands notorious sand dunes. Better to stack it on a balmy sand island rather than out in a balinese jungle, I thought. So I convinced my Mr. in no time (who is most definitely pro-theinventionofwheels, and master of all of them!) and we booked it in.

In an unlikely turn of events, I can confirm I managed to ride one without injury or a hospital admission… maybe wheels have taken pity on me and my battle scars after all. In fact, in comparison to the three tourists riding in front of my Mr. and I, who undoubtedly were more of a liability than even me, I think I did quite well. And I most certainly enjoyed every second of racing through the sandy figure-eights built low into the sand dunes, and over the tops of the berms.

Moreton Island is such a beautiful part of the Australian coastline, and to see it from behind the handle-bars of an ATV was such a great experience. Zooming along the shoreline on the beach at sunset is something I will remember as being one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Even with the most wonderful of descriptive words, I couldn’t out-do seeing this place in person. It’s just simply something you’ll need to add to your own bucket list.

There is video proof of my successful ATV adventure in my latest holiday vlog, so if you wanted to check it out in live motion, you can click here.

And as for my war with wheels? Well, I’d like to believe that perhaps we finally made peace in paradise.

#66 – Ride an Adventure ATV: Check!

d x

 

 

 

#64

I think when I look back, I’ve always been a water baby. Between being strongly influenced by red-headed Ariel the Little Mermaid, and being driven by a school-girl crush to reach the level 3 swimming group so I could swim with the cutest boy in third-grade – I always preferred water to land (and not just because LM was swimming in it).

Any given family holiday, you’d find my parents borderline-dragging me from the water’s edge. Wrinkled skin? Not a worry in the world. All the better to hang onto the pool floor with!

Although roughly twenty-something years later my Mr. would argue that my now chosen swimming technique leaves much to be desired, I just put it down to being a different type of swimmer, a floater if you will. A much more leisurely way of enjoying the ocean, because lets face it, I never actually made it to the level 3 swimming group, and the Butterfly Stroke was never meant for me.

All of this aside, almost 6 months ago, I found a way to overcome my shortfalls for my love of the ocean. Its black and orange, and zips through the water like an ocean lamborghini – yes, sir. I did in fact, buy a jetski!

To buy a jetski, has been a goal of mine for quite sometime. I’m not exactly sure what appealed more to me, the thrill of soaring over the water, or just the adventure that comes with it. Maybe a bit of both? All I know, is that life got a little more fun with this new addition!

There is now a new toy to fit into the ever-shrinking garage alongside my Ryobi Builders Collection (that’s what I call it anyway, theres a dropsaw now too boot. This girl is no longer a damsel in distress!). And we have made use of it most weeks since getting it. Whether down along the river, or out in the ocean (I’m getting the hang of the ramp-like waves), we’ve started to explore around home from a different perspective.

Learning to ride a jetski is a little odd at first. For someone who hasn’t really had a whole lot to do with motorbikes or anything throttle-related (and perhaps without being of good cause), riding a jetski for the most part, was a learning curve. But it doesn’t have wheels, so judging by my history we’re safe.

Although speeding along the water at 80km sure used to feel like a death-defying dangerous feat until I got used to it, I’m learning I like being on the water much more than ever before. There’s just something about the wind grazing your face and the ocean salt spray that makes it feel liberating.

Recently, we have bought a donut tube – literally shaped and coloured like a donut with sprinkles. With a double hit of the control panel’s middle button, a little oomph with the help of ‘sports mode’, we can have you scooting round a lake as the donut hole at speed on the back of the ocean lamborghini. It makes for one hell of a day, and a whole lot of laughter, I honestly don’t know why I never invested in buying one sooner.

My Mr. and I are certainly ready for 2019, and many more Jetski adventures to come.
And if you wanted to check out one of the adventures from 2018, click here!

#64: Buy a Jetski – Check!

d x

 

#33

I’ve always had a odd fascination with crime. Not in ever committing it, just that people do and that despite all the psychologists in the world, we just really will never know truely why it happens. Call it my innate desire for justice, or just too many crime scene shows watched as a child (C.S.I was my bread and butter), I was just always intrigued with anything to do with the subject. Perhaps that’s why I’ve dabbled with the idea of becoming a lawyer, I’m not sure.

When I was in grade eight, we went to St Helena Island on the school excursion. St Helena Island is located in the Moreton Bay Region, four kilometres from the mouth of the Brisbane River and home to colonial Queensland’s foremost maximum security prisons for men in the 19th century. We had spent most of the day there touring the old ruins of the prison, imagining what it would have been like to be a prisoner there all that time ago.

I was enthralled. I always had been when it came to history, and when paired with a notorious past of crime – I was hook, line and sinker. I remember standing fearful to the soles of my feet as they talked about the Cat-of-nine-tails, struggling to believe how much times have changed.

On the way back to the bus, my school teacher at the time had made mention of another well known prison in Melbourne. And when she explained it was the prison Ned Kelly had been held captive at before his hanging – you bet it made it’s own special place on the bucket list.

Almost ten years later, I finally got to visit the notorious Melbourne Gaol, #33 on the list.

My Mr. had booked a surprise getaway to Melbourne for my birthday last year. We had stayed in a cosy little AirBnB in the heart of the CBD, and spent the week walking through the many back lanes of the busy city exploring. We had become so exceptionally good at riding the Tram be the end of the third day, we could have almost been mistaken as locals.

Nevertheless, in the home town of the Melbourne Gaol, we decided to visit.

After grabbing a coffee from a cafe on a nearby corner (with honey instead of vanilla, because apparently syrup in coffee in Melbourne is a crime all of its own…), we walked along Russell Street to the jail entrance. If there is one thing I really love about Melbourne, it’s the integration on old historic buildings amongst the new. And there on Russell Street, we found one of the oldest buildings in the city.

The Old Melbourne Gaol opened it’s first cell block in 1845, lasting 79 years until it’s closure in 1924. Famous for being the location of the hanging of Ned Kelly, the jail remains open to the public today to explore the prison, and it’s eyry past. You can climb the stairs of the prison and explore the cells. There is a multitude of information plastered to the walls, and plenty of real life memorabilia to take in. And when you reach the end of the prison block, you can even stand where Ned Kelly was finally hung and bear witness to the rope that claimed his life.

If you have a bit of time, it’s worth doing the full tour, which not to give too much away, includes being processed as prisoner and locked in a prison cell – just a little something to put you out of your comfort zone. The tour includes the city watch tower and magistrates court, before delivering you through to the prison block itself. There are plenty of tourist photo opportunities along the way (and you better believe I made use of every one of them). I thoroughly enjoyed every moment learning about the past, and the lives of some of the most notorious criminals. The tour through the Old Melbourne Gaol cost $28 per adult, and is worth every cent. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

If you’re interested, you can check out our Melbourne trip (inclusive of the old gaol!) here.

Otherwise, if you’re in Melbourne – go see for yourself, this is definitely a must do!
You can find more information about the Old Melbourne Gaol at https://www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

#33 – Explore the prison where Ned Kelly was help captive in Melbourne: Check!

d x

 

#68

It’s really not until you become a house owner that you understand the true beauty of a hardware store. As a child I used to dread trips there. I would drag my feet down every aisle adorned with every different kind of screw known to mankind (and yet still not the one my father would need) and grumble the entire way.

I really never understood the hype, until three days after moving into the new house when I needed to use a screw driver to attach the new 75 inch tv to its accompanying stand and realised a large gap in my inventory… tools.

Off to the local Bunnings I marched, concerned that my creativity and a knife tip in place of a screwdriver may not quite get me through the years to come. How I had gotten 22 years in and never found use for one, I’ll never quite know – but I was very aware this was now an issue.

In the midst of the large store room, inundated with every tool, contraption and adjunct I could have imagined, I realised I was well out of my depth. If the crisp white dress and beach wedges hadn’t already given that away, I was sure my overwhelmed, and slightly clueless, expression would…

And without warning, standing there in the middle of the tool section, it happened. I caught the hardware bug, my creative bones humming at the new ideas growing bigger aisle by aisle.

That was all it took. From that point, I’m sure I became Bunnings best customer, taking fondly to the ability to create an online ‘Bunnings Wishlist’.

I had so many big ideas! But the first of many, was a hanging vegetable garden – earning a spot on the bucket list at #68. My first industrial project for the little white house.

With a old palette collected from the skip bin down the road where another house was being built at the time, a little Tarzan SuperGlue, screws and my newly acquired drill (possibly my favourite purchase since becoming somewhat of my own builder’s apprentice), I managed to construct a hanging garden shelf. Pulling every second wooden paling from the palette skeleton, I cut and glued it to the base of the existing palings. And with little tightening of a few screws, a whole lot of youtube instruction and some creative ingenuity, it was finished.

A true tradie would have laughed hysterically at me. But everyone has to start somewhere right? And I hadn’t sawed off a finger or glued myself to the wood – so I viewed that as being rather successful in my books.

A week later it was secured to the fence just outside the door to my butlers pantry and I filled it with a dozen herbs, a little bit of lavender (out of Igloo’s reach) and a couple of succulents for show. And I oddly had never been more proud of anything else as watched my little herbs grow to overflow their pots.

Now, even two years later, every time I eat my famous spaghetti bolognaise infused with fresh basil, oregano and chive, I feel just that little bit more accomplished and that little bit more in love with creating something of own.

And if that has you inspired for dinner tonight, I’ll leave the recipe below 😉

#68: Build a hanging vegetable garden – check!

d x

Spaghetti Bolognaise
Ingredients:
– 500g Pork Mince (somehow just better than beef..)
– 425g Tomato Soup
– 140g Tomato Paste w/ Garlic and Herb
– Basil, Oregano + Chive (fresh is better, but from a jar will do too!)
– Pasta

Method:
1) Heat saucepan and cook pork mince on high until brown, removing excess water from pan if necessary.
2) Reduce heat + add in tomato soup, tomato paste and herbs
3) Leave to simmer + add Basil, Oregano and Chive to taste (I prefer a good pinch of all three!)
4) Serve with pasta

Servings:
4 people (or 2 + a delicious lunch for you both the next day!)

Happy cooking!

#65

Whilst away on my tropical getaway, I finally had the chance to do something I’ve embarrassingly enough, never done before…. I snorkelled!

Yes, I can tell you now that it is entirely possible to live 24 years and not don the ol’ flippers and snorkel to investigate what lays beneath the oceans skin. I am the very proof. So upon visiting the picturesque Mystery Island last month, I decided to change that small life fact of mine.

It may not be a huge leap and bound in the big scheme of things, but it was something I have always wanted to do given my intrigue with the ocean. And so it found a worthy home at #65 on the bucket list.

Having never snorkelled before, and being mostly a nose-breather (it’s a thing, just ask any nurse), I must admit that I found it a little hard to do at first. Training your brain to suddenly only breathe through your mouth in an almost dire circumstance given that you are under the sea and water in your lungs is not exactly compatible with life; wasn’t exactly easy.

I resembled something close to a struggling baby seahorse at first, trying to coordinate breathing and swimming simultaneously. Throw in a subtle wave or two to supersede the end of my snorkel, and you could have easily found enormous entertainment in my personal underwater wrangle.

But for the sake of the rainbow fish, I persevered.

Eventually I grew accustomed to having a little less air in my lungs, and slowed down my breathing enough to find a slow rhythm with my stride. I was able to navigate the oceans movement and anticipated the waves. I almost instinctively learnt how to blow any water that dared to enter my sacred breathing tube right back out into the air above.

After an hour, I decided I was brave enough to attempt a dive under the surface. After two seconds of deciding this, I was convinced being brave was a death warrant. Cue struggling baby seahorse performance number two. How people did this so naturally was beyond me. It was like the moment the water travelled down the snorkel and touched my lips, my body spontaneously thought, ‘Oh sure, come on in!’.

But for the sake of the blue starfish, I persevered.

Spitting out the salty ocean water my body had executively decided to harbour, I tried again. This time concentrating on blowing the air in my lungs out slowly enough to combat the water. By day two of snorkelling, I had this manoeuvre down pat enough to venture through tunnels in the reef at Paradise Cove in Port Vila.

This baby seahorse had found her wings… or scales? Either way, I had become a little less entertaining to the observers onshore.

It was worth every moment of frantic underwater fear, and salty-ocean-water-swallowing just to swim with the multitudes of tiny fish who call these beautiful reefs home. From clown fish (totally found Nemo), to vibrant coloured starfish; giant sea slugs, to vicious eels; curious reef sharks, to bright coral – it was an experience I enjoyed whole-heartedly and plan to do a lot more of in the future.

I’ll call it my warm up for scuba-diving – which also makes the list, and I just know that when I get to it I’m going to love it just as much, if not more!

Oh, just as a side note for anyone else who, just like me, may have not yet snorkelled – here’s a prominent tip above all else… try only to smile internally at the beauty of it all. As it turns out, smiling externally breaks the seal of your snorkel mask causing a great deal of salt water to flood your eyeballs. And take it from me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

#65 – Go Snorkelling: Check!

d x