I am an official PADI diver!

Trip Start Aug 14, 2006
Trip End Sep 04, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, August 25, 2006

I finished my Open Water diving course! Yesterday was really fun again. We met up with the diving instructor Sandra at Big Bubble and quickly finished off some questions that she needs for the records. Then we grabbed our gear and headed towards the boat. (Once again, a longtail boat took us to the big boat further out at sea). We were all pretty excited, knowing we were almost finished with our license.

We went to the Japanese Garden near Ko Nangyuan (beautiful little archipelago next to Ko Tao). We prepared our diving equipment on the way already, so we quickly put everything on and jumped in the water as soon as we got there. At the diving center beforehand we rented an underwater digital camera so we could take some pictures! Sandra said she allows students to do so sometimes, but only if they seem confident and experienced enough to handle another distraction underwater, but she said we were definitely prepared!

We took over 100 pictures throughout the two dives of the day, but we haven't seen them yet so we don't know how good they look yet! We descended to 15.6 meters quite quickly (once again I had no problem at all with my ears). It almost felt natural being so deep underwater with all the equipment! You get used to it all very quickly. We had to do a few more basic exercises, but the rest of the time we had time to dive around and explore the area with our instructor! It was beautiful...lots of lovely fish and corals. We even saw some huge trigger fish that looked like they were trying to protect their nests! Quite an intense encounter underwater (they can bite and had a spike kind of thing). We saw a massive baracuda in front of us at some point, but we didn't have the camera ready in time unfortunately.

After 46 minutes we ascended to do a safety stop at 5 meters so the nitrogen in the blood can be minimized. Back to the surface, onto the boat. We had to wait about an hour before it was definitely "safe" to dive again (this is due to nitrogen buildup at large depths, which is absolutely fine if you handle it correctly and don't overdo it and take a break between dives). For the second dive we started at the same place but headed towards a cave where we explored the outside (we weren't allowed to go in unfortunately) and the corals on the way were magnificent. They looked very beautiful and I think we got some pretty good pictures of them too!

After diving we went back home to take a shower and get ready, then we met up with 12 people (including the dive instructor, the Canadians, the French, the other people in my diving group etc) at the beach where we headed to a nice beach restaurant and I ate a VERY spicy Thai squid curry mmm delicious. I specifically emphasized I wanted it as spicy as possible, and it really was quite nice and hot.

Afterwards we sat on a balcony kind of thing that was directly by the beach. We stayed there for quite a while, and Sandra and I played fire poi for a while! It was a lot of fun, right at the beach, swinging large flames around our heads.

This morning I got up early and had breakfast with some others because they had to catch a boat to the mainland. Then I went to the diving school to book a boat for myself too. I have a few hours to waste before I get on a catamaran to take me to Chumphon, from there I will get a bus to Bangkok (and arrive at midnight or so hopefully). Tomorrow I will probably head over to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. I will improvise more or less again. It's a bit sad to leave all the nice people I met and leave this paradise island, but I think it's about time to move on!

Just over a week left now! Bye bye!
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