Published: July 15th 2012July 15th 2012
How do you begin a blog? ...
I've no idea so i'll just start by informing the thousands of my readers about my first two weeks in Thailand, from the epic journey to get here and other bits and bobs along the way. Enjoy!
It started with a 6am bus to Manchester Airport on a wet and windy summer's morning (typical), for a 9am flight to the land of the Thai's stopping over in Dubai (could have been worse!)
Complimentary whiskey and cokes at 10 o'clock sounded a bad idea at the time but when everyone else is doing it, why the hell not? It is a holiday afterall!
A 7 hour plane journey later and we touch down in Bangkok (the "City of Life") and I realise that I only have a 30 day tourist visa - not that helpful when i'll be here for over 60! Now what do I do? (Really should have planned this part before I came but oh well!) After being befriended by a tuk tuk driver and an eye opening whizz through the city I had an 8 hour wait in the crazy world that is this enormous, overheating polluted
vibrant city. Sights included the huge Siam Paragon shopping centre (8 floors high) and the giant open indoor market opposite in the MBK centre and also the biggest Tesco I have ever seen.
It was now time to vacate Bangkok and after a 6 hour "luxurious" (questionable) coach, a 2 hour stop in a mosquito plagued port and a 3 hour ferry journey I had finally arrived on Koh Tao (Turtle Island) - a diving mecca... and what a view! A huge stretch of golden sandy beach with clear blue ocean awaited me and i'm still wearing my jumper and jeans... what a wally. After arriving at the dive centre i'd be working at for the next 9 weeks I clambered out of my sweat ridden clothes and it was time to sign my all important diving papers.
I was now on my way to move into my new beachside bungalow and had the full day to explore the island, or so I thought... I instead chose to complete my EFR first aid course just two hours later to get it out of the way and so peresevered through sleepy eyes and the most boring yet informative video
the diving associations had to offer. I passed and finally had a few hours to get myself together (which was spent fast asleep... yes, I slept for over 16 hours - blame the jet lag!)
The morning after now and it was time for my Rescue Diver course - this involved yet more theory work and two afternoon dives where I would be refreshing my diving skills and keeping an eye out for certain emergency diving situations that may arise at the surface and under the water with my super instructor Sian and Divemaster in traning buddy, Justin.
After more theory it was then time for my rescue dive scenarios. These included surfacing an unconcious non-breathing diver from the bottom of the ocean, providing rescue breaths and towing the diver back to the boat where CPR would begin if the situation came up. Truly exhausting but such a rewarding course to take part in and knowing that I can now deal with emergencies underwater (in the very unlikely case) will be benefical in my future diving.
I decided now was the time to take a few days off, recharge the batteries (at the various beach bars of course!)
and discover the rest of this small island.
Onto week 2 which signalled the beginning of my Divemaster course training. This is the first transitional stage from diving for fun, to becoming a diving professional and allows me to assist instructors with beginner and advanced courses in open water (down to 30 metres) with the ultimate qualification allowing me freedom to solely lead any certified divers anywhere in the world or conduct scuba refresher courses on my own anywhere in the world.
It's a flexible course where I can dive up to 4 times a day whenever I choose, including night diving and where I can take as much time off as I feel like. You pretty much get out what you put into the course so i'm making the most of diving as much as I can whilst observing and starting to assist courses with different instructors, making notes of the different teaching styles.
We've a great bunch of people on the course also - 13 trainees in a similar position from all over the world with 12 other full time staff members, fully booked boats, super diving facilities and well... the glorious weather always helps
Other mentions on the island include the vast array of awesome cheap Thai food (generally between 1 and 2 pounds), spotting turtles, stingrays and a small shark whilst in the underwater world and some very questional "ladies" who hang out on every street corner. They aint fooling anyone! Unless you like a woman with a moustache and size 10 feet of course...
I'll take a guess and say the next 6 weeks are going to be pretty darn good.
Until next time...
There are more photos below