Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

This was my 6th Christmas in the tropics and away from all the traditions that usually marked the season. The holiday takes on different dynamics in the varied places i have been.

In Mexico it is of huge importance but shadowed by the bigger event, the Virgin of Guadalupe Day that just proceeds Christmas. That is the day the Mexicans celebrate their faith along with their culture and it is impressive.

The next year was spent in Australia, where Christmas falls midsummer. Jingle Bells, Frosty and the idea of a White Christmas are replaced by a day on the beach or playing cricket and a picnic, which what we did. I celebrated Christmas with a huge group of cruisers at a family owned marina. It was a great day spent under the warm sun with friends and playing with kids.
The next two Christmas’s were spent in Thailand, on boat with small groups of felang and Thai friends. Thailand is not a Christian country but does celebrate the holiday with flare. the stores all decorate and the holiday is in the air. One of the things i love about Thailand is the array of holidays all taken in with vigor; four New Years Eves, all the Buddhist holidays and some local ones, even some Hindu celebrations and Muslim holy days. My favorite day of all is Songren, the water festival.

The last two Christmas’s have been spent here in Coron. The Philippines are predominately Catholic with influences of all the Chinese, a product of their long history of colonization. Christmas is celebrated with great color and enthusiasm.

For Furthur, thanks to our crew member Sam, Christmas in Coron has taken on a more Christ like mode, that of giving back. Last year Sam arranged for us to visit an impoverished family with eight kids who lost their meager home and most belongings in the typhoon. We brought clothing, food and building materials and helped them rebuild their home. The personal rewards for this gift were astonishing- i found the true meaning of Christmas.

This year a bit less dramatic but fruitful opportunity came again just before our saviors big birthday. The local tattoo artist, who put upon me my last ink and i had become friends. Unlike the stereotype of tattoo artists, he is a meek and mild chap always with a warm smile. When i arrived in Coron he greeted me with his big smile and told me he had been robbed and the tools of his trade taken, leaving him without the means to support his young family. Without a blink i gave him the money to buy a new tattoo gun again thankful for the chance to help. This brought me such joy that when another friend from last year, a twenty year old girl with two kids said she had not money for toys for her kids i gladly made that possible.

A few days before Christmas i arrived at Puerto Del Sol and was warmly greeted by many old friends. I was asked to play music at the neighboring resort, Al Faro, for Christmas Eve. We had a great time with a group from all around the world, some even danced to my music. The next day was a busy one for the dive cente. i joined them as a dive guide leading three dives. My holiday dinner was two ham sandwiches i brought along, eating them under warm sun between dives was a proverbial feast. I was given a group from Sweden who had not penetrated a wreck and were a bit apprehensive, the plan was for me to take them on the outside of the ship if they were not comfortable. When we reached the opening i motioned to see if they wanted to enter and they did, we took it slow and easy, not going to deep into the ship. They surfaced ecstatic over the dive and the next one we went farther into the ship. On the surface they were all so happy as was i for sharing that great experience.

So ended my sixth Christmas away from home and all the traditions i loved and so ended my first Christmas thought i would be alone. The people i shared the day with are new friends, always a blessing. The gifts of this Christmas were the best ever, the joy of helping friends, sharing the music i love and opening new windows into the world of diving for great people. After two days of diving and a great party i crawled into my bed a blessed man, sincerely wishing, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

4 thoughts on “Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree”

  1. SUBJECT: Re: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

    Absolutely beautiful, wishing you a healthy and happy 2015.Jim
    On Dec 30, 2014, at 8:54 PM, “Furthur Adventure” wrote:

  2. SUBJECT: Re: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

    Love the blog. Read ’em all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Brian. Kent D. Huisken
    Cell: 605-351-3525
    Fax: 605-371-1560

    From: Furthur Adventure Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 7:54 PM To: kent.huisken@s… Subject: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

  3. JOHN Sipkens SFC USA Ret

    SUBJECT: Re: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

    What is the plan for new crew????

    John Sipkens SFC, USA (retired)
    On Dec 30, 2014, at 17:54, Furthur Adventure wrote:

  4. SUBJECT: RE: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

    Terry Rennhack

    From: Furthur Adventure [mailto:blog-31901-comments@t…]
    Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 5:55 PM
    To: trpga@a…
    Subject: Christmas’s Under the Palm Tree

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