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The Adventures of the Advanced Diver

THAILAND | Friday, 1 June 2012 | Views [461]

Last time I left off, my hunger for diving had begun and I knew I had been sucked into the Koh Tao vortex.  After signing up for the advanced course, I realized that my intended three night stay on the islands would now be six.  Whoops.

At the lovely hour of 9am (are we sure I'm on vacation?), I met with my same instructor from my open water course.  We did a quick briefing and chose our five out of twenty specialties that our dives would be focused around.  We did:

  1. Bouyancy
    I actually loved this one even though I was quite horrible at it.  I had been diving with five weights for three dives and Laura made me go down to four.  To test how well we could make ourselves "float in midwater", we had a series of tests.  First we had to lay on the ocean floor.  With only our breath, you bring yourself standing on your tippytoes and then lay back down.  Then we had to put a weight on the ground, turn ourselves upside down and bob to kiss the weight.  Apparently all four of us were straight up and down when another group swam by.

    Another activity was done where we picked up weights as we swam along and then we swam through hoops.  Once all this was done we did a quick swim through the dive sight.
  2. Navigation
    I was even worse at this.  Have you seen me try to give directions?  We swam with compasses for a bit before heading off to Aow Leuk Wall. This was a favorite of mine because you are swimming around and then you just come up to this:

    It was pretty awesome.  At the end we navigated ourselves back to the boat and were done with navigation.  Yayyyyyyyy.
  3. Night dive
    The night dive scared me more than any other dive.  You know those dollar flashlights you can pick up at the entrance of Target?  We had those and nothing else.  The weather was so bad that we had to return to the protected cove of Japanese Gardens.  Once we were in the water and swam around for a minute, it was suprisingly comfortable.  Everything is pitch black so you have to scan around with your flashlight to find creatures and avoid coral.  We were lucky enough to see one of these guys:

    And a huge one of these guys:

    All in all, I was really happy I did the night dive and would definitely do another.  Don't worry mom, I won't tell you before hand; you can just find out when you read my next travel blog.
  4. Deep Dive AND Camera Skills
    Part of the advanced certification is the ability to go down to 30m instead of 18m.  Because you are getting less oxygen, we had to do nitrogen narcosis testing.  You are pretty much checking to make sure that you aren't totally spaced out.  After our testing, we swam along Chumpon.  Being so much lower was amazing.  The entire dive sight was filled with these:

    I absolutely loved it.  Being a more secure diver, I swam closer and really enjoyed this dive sight so much more the second time.  As far as the camera skills, we really didn't do anything.  But the homework from that section was SO much easier.
  5. Wreck
    Our last dive was on a wreck.  This was pretty awesome as well.  It was only sunk about a year and a half ago, so there wasn't a ton of coral and sea life.  There was enough to entertain us and get some pretty cool pictures.  I haven't seen them yet, but I do know that I posed with this guy

    As we navigated ourselves back to the boat, we got to swim along two more dive sights.  This isn't always possible, but my entire group was really good with our air consumption.
At this point, I was advanced certified!  I was also covered in a rash and had to go to the clinic.  I went back to my room, showered, had my roommate (who was a doctor) look at it, and went to the doctor.  Apparently there was something in the water that got a few people.  My arms and legs were covered in little itchy marks that accompanied my jellyfish sting quite well.  Since I couldn't go in the water, I made the decision to leave Koh Tao the next day.  This actually worked out quite well since most of my friends were leaving as well.

I probably don't need to write about the large beers, classy dinner, more beers, vodka buckets, fire dancers, beach bars, shots, and more beer that we celebrated our last night on Koh Tao with.

Tags: aow, koh tao

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