Chris and I have now been in Thailand for two weeks and it is truly the vacation from the vacation that we both needed. I cannot think of one thing to complain about. The food is amazing, the weather is perfect flip-flop and bikini weather and we had fun learning to scuba dive!
We are currently on a very small island off the east coast of Thailand called Koh Tao. The island is only 21 square kilometers. We decided to learn how to scuba dive here because it’s pretty much the cheapest place to do it in the world and there are many dive sites surrounding the island.
We choose Ban’s Diving Resort because it was highly recommended by our faithful Lonely Planet. It certifies more scuba divers every year than any other scuba school in the world! Last year they certified 40,000 people!
We did the first two dives of our lives on July 17. We descended 12 meters for 45 minutes for each dive. On our second dive a videographer came along. We’ll put parts of her video on our blog later.
In total we did four dives to get our Open Water certification which allows us to dive to a maximum of 18 meters and then we did five more dives to get our Advanced Open Water certification which allows us to dive to a maximum of 30 meters.
In the Advanced Open Water course we learned how to navigate underwater, how to read a dive computer and how to plan our dive with a site map and based on how much nitrogen our bodies will absorb.
We did one dive strictly for practicing our navigation skills and I’m proud to say that Chris and I managed to find our way back to our instructor using only our compass. This is important because at the time we couldn’t see more than 3-5 meters in front of us. I have come to understand that the water is not crystal clear, instead it is mirky and filled with thousands of particles.
We also did one deep dive where we went 29 meters below the surface. When you are that deep is it very possible for some people to get something called nitrogen narcosis. They can start to act funny, sometimes trying to take off their scuba gear. Mostly, people’s brains don’t work as well. To test if we had nitrogen narcosis our instructor did a math game.
For example, he would show us four fingers with the palm of his hand facing us and we simply had to show the correct amount of fingers so the total was ten. We also had to show him the opposite side of our hand, so in this example I’d have to show him six fingers with the palm of my hand facing me.
We all settled on our knees at 29 meters. There was a very strong current coming right through the middle of us and pushing on Chris’s back. He was having a lot of trouble staying on his knees because the current was so strong. I saw Steve flash five fingers, palm facing himself, towards Chris.
Chris, simply trying to hold his position waved his right hand, five fingers with his palm facing out, trying to signal “Hold on, I need to regain control”. Little did Chris know, he showed the right number of fingers in the right direction! He passed the test and he wasn’t even trying (reminds me of university). I chuckled to myself a little in my regulator but then quickly focused my attention on Steve for my finger test.