I spent the past 5 days on the island of Koh Tao. This is the best diving spot in the Gulf of Thailand and a great place to get a diving course and a PADI license, which is a diving license accepted everywhere in the world.
PADI licences come in different levels and the first level is "Open Water". In 3 or 4 days you get a few classes, a book, and you start to practice in the pool for 1 or 2 days before you go out into the ocean. You learn to breathe steadily, stay buoyant, undo and redo your mask underwater, etc. Some things are a little scary before you start, but you quickly get the hang of it. Finally, you do an exam, which is more just a formality.
Besides all the practical things you must learn and demonstrate to the instructor, the diving is also fun. We saw a lot of beautiful fish and coral around. My deepest dive so far is 15 meters. With an "Open Water" license, you are allowed to a maximum of 18.
So, today I got my Open Water license! I've decided to go for the next PADI level as well: "Advanced Open Water". With this extra 2-day course, you take 5 dives. On one, you are going to 30 meters and on another one you learn how to navigate with a compass underwater. You can pick 3 more "fun or skill dives" out of a whole range of different dives. I'm probably going to take a night dive (yes, you go with torches!), a photography dive and another one that I'm not sure yet. Probably a buoyancy skill dive, to master staying on the same level better, because as you breathe in and out, you are going up and down in the water.
When I'm finished with that, I can dive most places and explore the uderwater world. On this trip, I'm planning to dive in Malaysia, Australia and the Cook Islands, so I can put my skills to good use!
I hope I'll have some pictures of my diving soon. I'll put it up in my next post!
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