Published: February 10th 2007February 10th 2007
Yes, yes, I know I'm crap at updating - but I have the best excuse this time - I've been Scuba Diving!!
Firstly, scuba diving is absolutely awesome, and you should all stop what you're doing (well, after you read this obviously!) and go learn to dive....
Going back a few days though - I spent a few days in Bangkok, just soaking up the civilisation.... Also went to the Grand
Palace, which was absolutely stunning - I'm planning on going back again when I get back to Bangkok, as we did a bit of a whistlestop tour. Check photos - they totally don't capture it, but give a taste. In the Grand Palace is the Emerald Buddha (made of jade) which is one of the most sacred things in Thailand, the hall it's in is particularily stunning - covered in murals of the jakata tales etc.
After that I managed to kill my foot (no idea how) so I just laid up, had a massage or two (great things...) went to have a look at some of the shopping centres - huge, huge things, full of versace, jimmy choo etc etc - and went
to see Blood Diamond (which I was surprised by - very good film, go check it out)
Getting to Koh Tao (my current location) involved a tuk tuk to the train station, an overnight train, a minibus to the ferry company office, a coach from there to the pier, a ferry (its only 7am by this time) which took 3 hours, then the back of a pick-up to Bans - the diving resort I'm staying at.
We started off in the swimming pool - doing various exercises - partly just learning to feel comfortable (about every ten minutes you suddenly go "argh! I'm underwater, I can't possibly be breathing!" ) but also doing such things as taking the mask off and putting it on again underwater, 'loosing' the regulator, buddy breathing (if one person runs out of air) and various other things.
After the pool session, and several classroom sessions - theres quite a lot of theory, much of which is fairly technical, gas exchange and such, good to have a grasp of, but far more mentally taxing than anything else whilst travelling.... - we got to go in the ocean! I've done 4 open water dives,
down to a maximum depth of 18m (the max this course certifies to), which have been amazing - its crazy how quickly everything starts to feel natural - and today's dives focused more on generally enjoying ourselves, rather than skill practice (- cue much Matrix fighting) and we saw some great stuff - Trigger fish, Stingrays, Clownfish (or as they tend to be named....NEEEEMOOOOO).
Anyway - to sum it all up - I've enjoyed it so much I'm starting my advanced course on Monday! Shall report on that in blogs to come....
There are more photos below