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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Radar Takes Over the Blog — Part Three

Sea TREK would not be what it is today without Radar; and we love to hear, and share stories from his world travels setting up Sea TREK locations. If you have not read the previous installments of Radar Takes over the blog be sure to check out (Part One) & (Part Two).

Radar’s most recent trip took him to Wuzhizhou — a small island near Hainan in China. Located in Haitang Bay in the South China Sea, Wuzhizhou is known for its beauty. Boasting a wealth of tropical vegetation, pristine clear blue seas, white sand beaches, coral reefs, and a plethora of sea creatures, Wuzhizhou is a very popular travel destination.

The island, often referred to as “Lover’s Island,” is steeped in history and shrouded in folklore. One such legend tells of a young fisherman who was washed ashore by a storm. Being on an uninhabited island he was surprised to meet a beautiful girl. The young fisherman and the girl fell in love, and soon she moved to his home off of the island. The girl’s father was the Dragon King, and when he found out about her affair he returned her to Wuzhizhou and locked her away. Her lover found a way to the island and the girl managed to escape to meet him, but as they were leaving Wuzhizhou the Dragon King caught them. In his anger he turned the lovers into two large stones that stand on the island, silently facing each other. Ever since then Wuzhizhou has become a popular meeting place for lovers who take an oath of devotion to one another.

Due to Wuzhizhou's popularity, and its gorgeous waters with vibrant marine life, it’s the perfect location for a Sea TREK site. Sea TREK Wuzhizhou (now open) offers the first open water Sea TREK in China!

Radar travelled to Wuzhizhou in September to install the Sea TREK system and train Guides; however, as always, his trip was filled with quirky adventures. His flight to Shanghai went without hitch and he stayed in a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately, the next day his flight from Shanghai to Sanya was postponed 7 hours, and then cancelled until the following day. No one spoke English and Radar was bussed to a hotel with all of the other passengers — with no information regarding why the flight was cancelled. Eventually, he learned that there was a hurricane over Wuzhizhou, and his plane would not have been able to land. The following day he nearly missed his flight. Only after Radar noticed that all of the other passengers had left for the airport on a shuttle — did he realize (being the only English-speaking passenger) that he had not been notified of the new morning flight schedule. He had to bribe a hotel desk clerk to give him a ride to the airport. After running through security and catching the plane, he finally landed in Sanya.

From Sanya, Radar took shuttles and ferries to reach Wuzhizhou. “It was very interesting to travel through some of the old tunnels that were built when the island was a Naval and Army fort; the old systems have been incorporated for use in the tourism industry that now thrives on Wuzhizhou,” explained Radar, “The island is beautiful — with high seas and hot weather from the hurricane — and lots of greenery, it is a tropical paradise.”

Finally, Radar arrived and was able to review the designated Sea TREK platform and dive site. Yet, once he arrived he realized that the Sea TREK site was not even finished being built — he would have to build the infrastructure from the ground up. Thankfully there was plenty of help, and the crew was able to get the job done… and, not only did they get it done, but the site was built perfectly! Radar was able to finish the system installation and train all the staff before the deadline.

In every one of Radar’s stories we always hear about exotic food, and local eating customs. Each culture is different, and China is no exception. During Radar’s stay he explored a number of local restaurants on his own, but one evening he went out to eat with Mr. Yong Li (WuZhiZhou’s representative). Radar noticed that the waiter brought out tea and a small bowl. Yong proceeded to fill the bowl with tea and rinse his chopsticks, cup, and spoon in the boiling liquid. Radar asked what he was doing, and Yong said, “Do your own dishes!” Apparently Radar should have been doing this all along, but did not know until that day! Oops!

During their meal, Radar enjoyed delicious food, and also discovered some interesting ingredients in the dishes. “They do not waste anything in their culture,” explained Radar. Photos of food from his trip confirmed this– “I’m pretty sure that’s a chicken’s foot,” he says, as he points to an indiscernible object on his dinner plate.

Radar also experienced interesting company along the way – from two German women who bought him coffee during the long flight delay, to a Chinese mother and daughter who hitched a ride with him to the airport. Although he found it easy to make new friends, it wasn’t always easy communicating with them. Radar shares, “No one spoke English, and after 12 days I was starved for conversation. I found out about a local pub that was known for English speaking regulars… and fish and chips! I was able to have a few beers, some good food and exchange stories with some friendly Australians,” shared Radar.

Overall, “this trip was long, challenging, and full of surprises… but that is what I love!” says Radar.

We thank you Radar for your hard work, and crazy stories! We can’t wait to share more as you continue your worldly travels.

Next, Radar will being doing his annual site visits to our Mexican and Caribbean locations… including the new site in Curacao and the installation of the 1st Clear Lounge in Cozumel. Subscribe to be sure you get that blog post when it comes out!