Published: July 29th 2010June 10th 2010
On the dive boat on the way out.
I am cr8pping it at this point, but have put a brave face on it.
We flew down to Koh Samui and stayed a couple of nights, mostly lying on the beach moaning about it being too hot.
Then caught a ferry across to the island of Koh Tao, found a place to stay and signed up for a PADI open water diving course (with the awesome Master Divers).
The course involved lots of reading (we were a pair of total nerds, doing our homework every night, calculating hypothetical levels of residual nitrogen in our bloodstream), swimming underwater without a mask, filling up your mask with water and then clearing it again, pretending to be out of air, taking your kit off underwater (that’s diving kit).
I've never done anything like it, and had some (admittedly irrational) reservations. These tended to involve scenes from Jaws, and/or Paula getting into a fight with a turtle. It turned out to be frankly terrific and we loved it. It's like being weightless but still having a sense of up and down. Not at all scary either. The fish just have a look at you, then get on with what they do.
After 3 days and 4 dives, and thanks to the excellent one-to-one tuition of
Paula launching off.
...straight onto a turtle.
Mr Tomo and Mr Chris, we were qualified. We loved it so much that we then took the advanced course a couple of days later.
This involved another 5 or 6 dives. The night dive was the pick for me - jumping in just as the sun was setting, and being 15m down as it got dark, barracudas circling around us, using our torch beams to hunt.
We also did a navigation dive, a deep dive to 18m, an underwater photography dive, and a naturalist dive to look at the fish and corals.
We didn't see any monsters of the deep (in fact the visibility on a couple of dives was the worst they had ever seen), but Paula spotted a sea snake and managed to get a photo of it. Otherwise it was loads of colourful and weird fish and coral, a few rays, and a turtle (from the boat).
Outside of the diving, one evening we learnt how to trapeze. I was caught mid-air 10 metres up by a bare-chested man wearing tights called Augusto. This is not a sentence that I ever thought I would write.
The world cup also kicked off,
and we caught most games, not least England v Algeria. This kicked off at 1.30am and came after we’d done 4 dives that day. Most of the England fans had been drinking for ten hours. It was messy.
In all we stayed for a week. Didn't see a great deal of the island itself, other than the dive boat and big screens showing the footy, but had an amazing time and were sorry to leave...
There are more photos below