Hugely excitingly, well, to my mind at any rate, we have just been accepted on a 4 month Marine Conservation Dive Master Internship! This is exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, we get to do actual marine conservation and help out with research, which is something I’ve always always wanted to get into. 2ndly, we’re going to be Dive Masters (Dive Masters are really cool)! 3rdly, we get to do all this on Pom Pom Island – a tiny little blip in the Celebes Sea, sort of between Borneo and The Sulu Archipelago bit of The Philippines. This very island has starred in the Skandinavian version of Castaway – it is idyllic, desert island type stuff that we are going to be able to call Home for a while. And that’s pretty big for us. 4 months is longer than either of us have spent living in any one place for years now. True, it’s also on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s list of places not recommended for non-essential travel due to the risk of kidnap by Abu Sayyaf members – but I’m pretty sure one glance at us and the more focused among them would hotfoot it to more handsomely rich ransom likely climes. And the rest are welcome to join us for a beer (or coconut water). So all is well unless our Mothers get wind of this. In which case we may be in for a rougher ride…
On receiving the news, I set about furiously googling the hell out of anything I could think of that might be useful to know about Pom Pom Island. And dashed madly around Semporna on a search for tampons. Had I known I’d be staying in SEAsia for 6 months, I would have brought more with me. As it is, I have 9 left and no hope for any more from Semporna. This is not nearly enough for 4 periods. On the bright side, it is 9 dives I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, or three days worth. On the not so bright side, that means 3.5 weeks of our Internship where I won’t be able to dive unless I can come up with a) a way to make tampons, b) a way to get either tampons or a mooncup posted to me.
The boyfriend’s approach was somewhat different – he rushed off to the nearest roti outlet and began frantically ordering vast quantities of Roti Canai. Somewhere round about half way through his 4th, I managed to make out a few of his daal flecked mutterings as having to do with his extreme anxiety that Pom Pom Island may not exactly be Roti Central… I think he was suggesting ordering 50 or so to take with him, then struggling with the idea that Pom Pom Island is also not exactly Fridge-freezer Central either. The obvious solution being to eat all 50 right now. Last time this sort of thing happened, I had to learn to make chocolate eclairs from scratch. Roti spinning is possibly harder, but I aim to give it a good try.
Anyway. We start tomorrow – this involves being outside the Bismillah II Café at some point between 11:30 and 13:30 (I guess if it turns out to be 13:30, we can only hope The Bismillah has enough Roti Canai to keep The Boyfriend happy in the interim).
Like I said, I am SO excited! Pom Pom Island has a total circumference of 2.3km – it is teeny tiny. I know from my research that it sadly does not boast any snakes or monitor lizards, but I guess I’ll have to live with that and content myself with whatever other wildlife it does boast – which I know includes a lot of flying foxes. We’ll be living in a tent, with very basic facilities that some TripAdvisor reviewers have complained bitterly about. I suspect they may not be used to the sort of basic that we are and have no worries on that front. Luckily I have more than a year’s worth of learning that showers and deodorant do not constitute necessities for a fulfilled and happy life. And even loo paper is something that can be got along without. I do have a slight worry that the place may be over-run with Gap Yahs every now and again – but the organisers have assured me that it isn’t currently Gap-Yah season and they don’t become overly prevalent until June-ish, which is when we will be leaving. I’m also ready for hard work – I’ve been going ever so slightly mad with lack of purpose lately, Australia being so silly as to decree that I am too old to legally work in it did not help matters there. So, generally feeling very good and very very lucky to have the opportunity to do this.