Underwater Adventures

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Trat,
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I've figured out that the best way to deal with the heat: water. Not just showers, although the cold water feels nice (why would anyone want hot showers here!), but you're sticky again as soon as you dry off. Swimming is a different matter. You're in the water long enough to lower your core temperature a bit. Although, this is not quite the 'refreshing dip' I'm used to. With a water temperature above 30C it's easy to get into. And it's not just warm at the top.  There are no thermal-clines as you go down either. It is so nice to go diving as you don't really need to wear a wet suit. Even when we were in Dahab Egypt, the water was only about 24C and I was very cold after a dive (hot water in showers very much appreciated). Here, you just feel like you can breathe for a few minutes after leaving the water.

Brian has been having a great time getting back into diving again. He signed up for a 3 day 6 dive package so he's out to all sorts of different sites everyday seeing moray eels, spotted rays, giant porcupine fish and many other cool things.

I haven't tried diving this trip as I had so many problems equalizing when I took my Open Water in Dahab. My head was always in pain under pressure as I just couldn't get my ears to clear.

One of the instructors here, Jack, said that he could help. Took me out on the boat and we held onto the anchor line to go down very, very slowly. Still it didn't work for me. We tried a 2nd time. It was the same as in Egypt, I just got to a depth where I couldn't tolerate the pain anymore and had to stop. This is so frustrating as I have no problems popping my ears on the surface or when flying. I just do a little bit of pressure at the back by my jaw and everything is
fine. However, this doesn't seem to work for me underwater. I tried holding my nose as everyone says to do, and I pushed so hard I felt like I was giving birth...nothing. Finally, I figured out that it's not a push, but a blow. Once I tried that my ears cleared underwater without a problem! Now
I can't wait to try a real dive again! I'm sure I'll enjoy it much more if I don't feel like my head's going to implode!

In the meantime, I've been doing lots of snorkelling. Yesterday I went out with the divers to the marine park just west of Koh Kood. It was an hour and a half boat ride, but it was worth it. The water was glass as we set out in the morning with hardly a breeze to ripple the surface. The sun was out with no clouds and the visibility was great! Many more corals than in our little bay. I especially enjoyed watching the little fish playing in the anemones. My most interesting spot was a honeycomb grouper.

After the full day on the water, we went out on the boats again. This time for some night fishing. Every night, we sit and watch the dozens of boats on the far horizon with their bright green and white lights shining, fishing for squid. The squid are attracted to the lights and you fish off the boat with a regular rod and reel, just like you would for any other fishing, but reeling in very slowly. The lure has many tiny hooks and barbs on the end to catch the tentacles.

Fishing at night was a bit like watching a black and white film in the negative. The water was black, but since there were lights above you could see into the water a bit. Squid started to appear as faint shadows below the water, only white. Mysterious rippling ghosts.  Impossible to tell how deep they were. But when caught, all their rage came out spewing black ink everywhere. Clouds in the water, squirts over the deck – everywhere.

Meanwhile, a few of the divers set out with torches and spear guns and brought back some gigantic fish! The first was a large blue-fin Tavally and the second was a barracuda. Hopefully we'll get to eat these on the barbecua tomorra.

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