Friday, 15 August 2008

Ko Tao - Scuba Diving

James and me travelled for a whole day (Starting at 6.30am) on 2 buses and a ferry and still did not make it in time to catch the ferry to Ko Tao (An island off the east coast of Thailand). We ended up on Ko Pang Nang -the Island where the full moon party is held on. It was the afternoon after the party and everyone was lolling around looking slightly worse for wear. Not wanting to hang around here, we booked our ticket for the ferry for the next morning.

Ko Tao is beautiful. When we arrived we knew we wanted to do the PADI course (Scuba diving) and with guide book in hand we headed to the one it recommended - Easy Diver. It was just off the pier so we walked straight in expecting to be ambushed by people trying to sell us their course, instead it was really relaxed they sat us down, offered us water and a friendly English woman gave us a run down on the courses and accomodation which came included as well as some food vouchers. James and me planned to walk around and compare prices so we could get the best deal. When we mentioned the plan they kindly offered to look after our backpacks to make it easier for us. After weeks of the hard sell and people pushing their products, we found this so refreshing that instead of leaving we signed up there and then. It was 9000 Bahts each (which is around 138 pounds) for 4 night accomdation 4 days scuba training and 6 dives and food vouchers, which looking around afterwards was very good and slightly unique.

The course started that afternoon with some theory in the classroom and a video. We were in a group of 6, an irish couple Beven and Phil, a English girl Emily and a Danish girl Kate. Our instructor was Elliott. We had more theory the next morning and then we were out in the sea in the afternoon.

We got a boat to a small island near Ko Tao. Elliott had us jump in the water from the boat fully kitted out, then snorkelling towards a beach where the water was shallower.

Some photos added by James!

After we'd swum to some shallower water we practised breathing with the equipment and taking our masks off and on and clearing them under the water, also we did exercises swapping mouth pieces. I was James' buddy, I was worried we might argue but we were fine.
Then we swam back to the boat under the water going down to about 5m. There were so many fish in all the different colours and shapes.Really tropical, it was amazing!

Over the next few days we did more theory and dives guadually getting deeper. I think we went as deep as 20m.

Being super fit like James doesn't pay off in scuba diving. On one dive James with his massive lungs ran out of air, so as his buddy i had to share mine with him. He was like a big leech trying to suck all my air that i'd been gradually using. Least we know now though that we can share, and that my shallowing breathing can save us both if need be.

On the last day of the course we were woken up at 4am by a massive storm wind and rain. We wondered if our early morning dive would be called off but it wasn't and we were out on the choppy sea by 8am.
I felt alright and thought it was quite a laugh being tossed around in the boat, but about 5 minutes from the dive site when were kitting up for the dive, it stopped being funny and i just felt sick. We all jumped in the water and when the first wave hit me i was sick! YUCK but least i wasn't under the water with the mouthpiece in. Elliott was adamant that i would feel better once I was under the water and not being bobbed around by the waves so we dived down.
It was a hundred percent better under the sea! I was surprised.

We had 2 great dives that morning and we were filmed by Fran another diver. It was so relaxed, we all knew what we were doing and we just enjoyed the expereince without worrying about the fact we were 20m down while a storm was going on above us.

The the whole course was amazing and Elliott was a fantastic instructor and put my mind totally at ease. I'd recommend the course to anyone and you don't get seasick under the water even if you normally do on the surface (I know!)

Even if you're not bothered about diving Ko Tao is a great island and well worth a visit.


This picture was taken in Bangkok on our last night in Thailand. Already pointing to our new home in New Zealand.

The second stay in Bangkok was much better than the first. We had got use to the tuk tuk people and could ignore them easily and weren't so naive. We stayed in better area and travelled using trains to get around. It was a much better expereince and meant we could leave Thailand thinking of it in a positive light.

1 comment:

becka said...

Wow! Scuba diving sounds amazing! Something i have always wanted to do!

I'm really enjoying reading this, as is everyone else i speak to. Even my mum is managing to keep up with it!

Get some pictures of your house up when you're settled!
Miss you both,
Lots of love,