Pay in Advance - Die Immediately (PADI)

Trip Start Mar 17, 2010
Trip End Jul 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Shiva's Beach Resort

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, May 1, 2010

This has to be one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to SCUBA dive but also was full of colourful marine life.

We were lucky to be taught by the protege of Sri Lanka's most experienced diver - 10000 dives in his career - only 3 resuscitations! He was just setting up his school after moving from the big tourist resorts in Hikkaduwa (we were his first north-east students).

His son is a bit of a celebrity in Sri Lanka too: our driver in Mirissa told us about a kid who was an accomplished diver at the age of eight and there had been a documentary programme about him. We hung out with him for a few days while he was on school hols and were really sad when he had to go back as he was such a good kid. Rich and him got on really well as they are both deaf and spent all of their time communicating in a goofy sign language they devised.

We spent our first day of PADI diving at Pigeon Island, a quaint little place that had been a military restricted area until this year and so we were one of the first - along with boatloads of local families - to step foot on the beach. It's surrounded by a beautiful coral reef (half of which is now dead and washed up on the beach from the tsunami), which one of the Sri Lankan chaps who was diving with us unfortunately managed to annihilate with his clumsy swimming style, snapping a sizeable chunk off as a souvenir before pulling the antennae off a lobster and swimming triumphantly up with his sea bounty.
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