After 3 days, when I could function reasonably normally again, and Mary had fully taunted me with stories about how excellent diving is, I began my course
. First day was spent in the pool, practising all the exercises, like taking your mask off, and your regulator (bit you breath through) out. The evenign coincided with Mary finishing her dive course, so we were obliged to go out for some drinks in the main town, getting back about 1am, a little drunk.
The next day I had my first dive in the sea, we did 2 dives around an island called Nong Yuang (I think), and both were really good fun. It's a strange feeling floating around with plenty of space all around you, and the odd fish floating past. Afterwards we had a quiet evening, as Mary was still feeling rough after the previous night, and I had to be diving at 7:30 for my final day.
The last day was by far the best, as we had done most of the hard work the day before, so most of the time was just diving for fun, we also got video'd as a group, and Mary came along as an extra in our movie, as her cameraman had been ill so she couldn't get one (probably out drinking too much). We went to a site called Chumphon Pinnacle, where the top of the underwater pinnacle is about 10m deep, but it drops off all around to about 40m. The sensation was excellent, seeing divers far below and far above, and the visibility was also very good as you could see right to the bottom
. After finishing this one we did another dive to a site we had been the day before, which has a small area containing a family of clown fish (like on the film 'Finding Nemo'). After a hard morning's diving we headed back to do our exam and have a drink. The exam was very informal, asnwering questions in between sips of beer and mouthfuls of chicken fried rice. We all passed without a problem, although Mary got more than I did, which I'm gutted about obviously. Around 6pm we all reconvened at the bar to watch out dive video, which was very funny so we all ordered a copy. That evening we went out for a few drinks to celebrate my dive course finishing, at a beach bar next to the resort. Half way through the evening the floor of the bar collasped, giving a nasty scare to the barman, but he carried on serving until everyone got tired and went home.
The following day we spent relaxing on the beach, as it was to be our final day, the next day we had boked our tickets to get back to Chumphon (on the mainland) and then to Butterworth in Malaysia, from there we will be going to Kuala Lumpur, where we hope to spend a couple of days before I move on to Singapore, and Mary begins her month of travelling around Malaysia.
We arrived in Koh Tao (Turtle Island) after a nice relaxing few days on Koh Phangan, and ready for our dive course (PADI openwater), as soon as wee arrived the dive instructors sorted out our accomodation and we got settled in, then into the classroom to start our course, which involved a cheesy video about diving. Unfortunately for me, the travelling had taken it's toll and my back was playing up (I sound so old, although I have just turned 28). The next day I was sent to the doctor along with an Australian called Jason, before we ventured as far as the water, I was told to take it easy for a few days to let my swelling go down. So while my sister was enjoying her dive course I was lying down, taking short strolls, and reading a lot while packing ice onto my back.