Into Burma: You have to love immigration!

Kawthaung, Myanmar

Continuation of my dive trip to Thailand and Myanmar (Burma!)  

 We woke to the sight of Burma/Myanmar outside our windows. We have been here for HOURS.  Immigration took forever, and then we had to stop and pick up a Burmese crew member.  As Mexico requires the hiring of Mexican Boat Captains, Burma requires that Burmese also work the boat.

Young monk

Young monk

While sitting in my cabin, nursing my sore throat and encroaching sinus, I am watching the scene from my cabin. (My cabin is quite nice, larger than most, with a separate sink, toilet and shower, which is an unexpected treat). A young Buddhist monk, ( a boy, either a monk in training or a little boy dressed as one collecting food from the passengers on our boat) has been outside of my cabin door speaking to me, and I would love to give him food, but I simply do not have any in my room.  I did buy a coca cola for 20 baht (about 75 cents) but it’s warm so I’ll just give it to the boat.  It is very difficult to say no, but I managed to do so this time.  They were selling food, and since I am fearful of taking food from strangers, I passed.  Oops, got to go, I’m being called to the upper deck!

I just came back down to my cabin: I was summoned to the food deck so the Myanmar officials could look at every one of us. The Head Dude looked at every woman on the boat as though they were not the same person…but wearing full makeup on a boat is not too standard. We all took down our hair to show them, yes, it is me! Four officials, drinking beer, eating, laughing…so reminiscent of Africa where they hold you just because they can.  Steve, our boss man, is quite the handsome devil, and he looked like he was trying hard not to go up in smoke.  The officials want a copy of this, a copy of that, blah blah blah let’s stay for hours and hours.  Ah, off they go!  Relief, now we can head to the Mergui Archipelago for some diving.

Part of "Team Spain"

Part of “Team Spain”

The passengers/divers are an amazingly diverse group, more so than I even expected.  We have Mexico, Spain, England, Germany, Austria, Finland (yes, Finnish identical twins, Mikka and Tommy, two of the nicest, sweetest guys you could meet), and Italy. Oh, and one other from the USA, myself and Chris from San Francisco, who is married to a Thai and is here frequently. The dive masters are British, American via growing up in China, and German. The woman from Austria, Karin, looks so much like my cousin, Kathy, I cannot believe it.  It is amazing.  She is even built the same, with the same blonde hair and blue eyes.  I will have to sneak some photos of her and show Kathy.  Everyone seems very, very nice.  Half of the boat is from Spain, I think.  A large group together.

Chris, the other American passenger just gave me some Sudafed…bless him!  I am almost out of Airbourne and Emer-gen-C.  Nap time!  I will be sure to be back in touch as we head north into Burmese waters.

A Feather Star!  A group of animals.

A Feather Star! A group of animals.

Day 3:  Still fighting a sore throat and congestion….I had to give in today and start antibiotics.  I just hope they work.  I did the first two dives, but skipped 3 and 4 today.  Too tired, not feeling well.  I have come to realize how exhausted I truly am…all of these months of worrying and taking care of Randy have taken a steeper toll than I knew.  I am surprisingly emotional, and miss Randy more than I can say. He should be with me on this trip…we should be diving together.  I still cannot believe what has happened to him.  He is the most unlikely person ever to become ill.  I am worried a bit since I cannot reach anyone…Myanmar (everyone calls it Burma) is so remote, and there is no signal of any kind to be found. I hope everything is good with Randy.

I am very much looking forward to vacationing with my daughter, Alexandra.  She arrives on the 9th of March.  We are going to hang out in Phuket, go to Phang Nga (Pang Nah) to see the islands that look like the floating mountains of Pandora (from AVATAR), then off to Bangkok. We plan to visit shrines and temples, and an elephant sanctuary.

A Banded Sea Snake!

A Banded Sea Snake!

Oh, I saw my first sea snake today!  Holy shit, it was long!  Very pretty, and everyone crowded around to take photos (I admit I kept a distance).  There is no anti-venom for these snakes, it is fortunate that they are shy and not aggressive.

I hate the BCD that I rented…it totally sucks. I’m trying a new one tomorrow, with a weight belt (L).



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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at

Comments (2)

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  1. Juetta West says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you are feeling a bit under the weather Tammy. Take the anti-biotics, lay low and sleep–hopefully by tomorrow or so you will be back in your fins and ready to dive. I’ve been enjoying all your pictures, keep them coming sweetie. As for that banded snake–not loving him. Never did like snakes. Take care and keep your journals coming.


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