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Colie's Travels Experimenting to see if a few words can make my mommy feel better

Hello, paradise (May 23 - May 26)

THAILAND | Wednesday, 30 May 2012 | Views [474]

After a lovely bus ride from 9pm - 5am (thank you melatonin for making that possible), we arrived at Chumphon. Asian public transportation is notoriously unreliable but we somehow got the one bus that left on time and arrived well before the 7am ferry.  As we waited on the beach watching the sun rise over a pier, my decision to leave the bustling city and escape to the islands was completely affirmed.


We rode the boat about two hours and arrived at Koh Tao.  I spent the entire time getting misted by the spray in the front.  At certain times, when we could see no land, I was convinced that life was perfect.

Once we hit the pier I found the free "taxi" to my intended location.  My friend from Bangkok joined along and we held on for our lives as the mini pickup truck sped along dirt paths and laughed at the near misses with others doing the same.  He dropped us off in a car park with the direction to go down a dirt path.  From here, I was starting to question Thailand as a whole.  But then this happened:

This is why I don't feel bad for not updating my travel journal for a few days.  When you are staying at a place like that, you don't need internet.  Even if there was internet, I didn't have time. 

I stayed at Big Blue Diving School.  I would love to say that I have a tan, but I spent more time underwater than I did on the beach.  I signed up to get my open water certification immediately upon arrival.  As I waited for the classroom section to begin, I ate some delicious Thai food on the beach while a trained monkey climbed a nearby coconut tree.  Unfortunately I did need to leave that for the classroom.  Being an actuary had me numb to the fact that we were studying while on vacation.  Or maybe it was just the fact that I wanted to be alive at the end of the course.

Day 2 began with more classroom time and the announcement that we would need to do homework.  Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.  We learned about the nitrogen levels in your body, pressure, and the safety procedure known as BWARF.  Before every dive a buddy check is done to ensure that everything is safe.  You check eachother's BCD (the vest that holds all your equipment and inflates), Weightbelts, Air, Releases, and Final.  There are many sayings to help remember this. 
Some of my personal favorites are:
Burger With Relish And Fries
Bruce Willis Ruins All Films
Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas

We practiced all of the breathing techniques and setting up equipment in the pool until about 5pm.  After such a long day, an early bed time felt good.  Of course that wasn't until after a traditional Thain dinner, some beers, and good company.  Life on Koh Tao was really roughing it.

Day 3 began at the lovely hour of 8am.  Despite being incredibly tired, we were all excited to dive in the ocean!  Our first dive was at a site called "Chumphon".  We didn't have to do many skills as we adjusted to just diving in the ocean for the first time.  It was absolutely amazing.  You almost forget that you are not supposed to breathe underwater as you float through schools of fish and see incredible corals. 
Our second dive was at a location called "Japanese Gardens".  We sank to our maximum depth here (18m) and did skills on the bottom of the ocean.  We practiced filling our masks with water, clearing our masks, and being out of air.  It is a really weird feeling to be sitting on the bottom of the ocean and not having an oxygen source.  But it was still awesome.  Once we finished all the skills, we were able to swim around the site for a bit as our instructor watched our "no decompression" limits.  By the time we returned it was nearly 7, so an early bed time after another delicious dinner was had.

Day 4 began at the obnoxious hour of 6am.  Even though I was waking up around then out of habit, I was NOT happy.  We were pretty excited to hear that we were going to have a videographer with us for the day.  As we did our two dives that morning, Mickey swam around filming the sea life.  My successful backwards roll entry was captured on dive one and my accidental belly flop was captured on dive two.  We also jumped off the top of the three story boat, did some under water skills, and constantly harassed the camera.
We trekked to the bar at 6pm that night to watch the videos for my entire cohort.  I am not sad to say that ours was the best; I am sad to say that my belly flop made the cut, was put in reverse, and then done again in slow motion.  After that, I gave the videographer quite a nickname.  Ultimately, I gave in to the peer pressure and bought the video.  I don't know if I should blame my dive group, the beers, the lack of dinner, or the shots for this expensive purchase but I don't think I will regret it.  I can also use it to make everyone incredibly jealous.

As our group celebrated well into the night, myself and two boys from the other group made the official decision to continue our courses.  We had a taste of diving and wanted more.  Eighteen meters had plenty to show us, but we had to find out what waited for us at thirty.

Tags: diving, koh tao, open water

 

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