A Travellerspoint blog

8.16.10: Koh Tao, Thailand

Flashy Fish & Oscillating Anemones

sunny 92 °F

This morning was day two of our scuba adventure. I started out the day with a nutritious meal of muesli and some warm tea and I was ready to rock ‘n roll.
We grabbed our equipment and hopped in a boat to take us to an area of the coast of Koh Tao called Twins. This was our first dive spot.
I flipped myself overboard and was ready to dive.

This dive was probably the most aesthetic one yet. I ocean floor gleamed with florid coral and oscillating anemones. Flashy fish glistened with the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen. These fish radiated psychedelic hues that are only seen underwater. With the exception of some species of exotic butterflies, I’ve never seen a more brilliantly colored animal. Their perfect patterns looked like a painted work of art. It was amazing.
I swam around in a euphoric cloud surrounded by a kaleidoscope of ocean life. I was flabbergasted by the beauty. I saw damsel fish, blue ringed angelfish, long fin banner fish, and an unpuffed puffer fish.
I was tempted to scare him so I could watch him inflate but my better judgment told me to leave him alone. It was a good thing too because I later found out that, not only are they poisonous, but they can also die after puffing up.
We surfaced again after a great hour underwater. I tanned on the boat deck as we cruised to our next dive spot, an area called Whit Rock South.

It was time to suit up again and go through our buddy checks. Our instructor Dave taught us a nifty way to remember the steps using a funny acronym.
Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas.

BCD? Check.
Weights? Check.
Releases? Check.
Air? Check.
Final Check? Check!
Buddy check complete. Ready to Dive.

This dive was more than just glitzy glamorous fish; there were lessons to be learned. We worked on controlling our buoyancy and hovering over an area. This is really important when you’re scuba diving because many species of coral die once disrupted. You don’t want to be responsible for the demise of a reef because you accidentally plopped your fin down on them. In addition to hovering vertically and horizontally, he taught us how to hover upside down. That was an interesting one.

On our way up we implemented our lesson of how to do an emergency assent. To do this you simply control the pace of your ascent while exhaling slowly or vocalizing a continuous sound. As the diver swims toward the surface, their lung pressure increases relative to the surrounding pressure and exhaling equalizes this difference. So the diver can still have air in their lungs at the surface. We took turns ascending while making an ‘ahhhhhhhh’ sound until we reached the surface, passing our final test.

We got back to shore around noon and decided to meet back up for dinner to celebrate getting our scuba certification.
We lounged around the resort, ate some lunch, and took a sweet nap before the evening.

We woke up a few hours before our scheduled meeting time so we decided to grab a drink before dinner. We dawdled down the boardwalk to an ocean front bar with a sign that said “Free Pool”.
We never pass up an opportunity for bar games, so we wandered inside.
In honor of our location, I ordered a Mai Tai from the bar which turned out to be the best I have ever had!
It was so good I had to indulge in a few more which resulted in a steady decline of my billiard skills.
We relaxed and watched the sun fade over the water.
We paid our tab and headed back to Ban’s to meet up with our scuba group.
Our group grew by two as Dave introduced us to his beautiful girlfriend and Sonia brought her friend Poppy to tag along.
We enjoyed a tasty dinner and reminisced about our amazing time underwater. It wasn’t until we were done with our course and sitting around reflecting on it, that we realized we really wanted to go again. We had only planned to do our open water certification but we were so captivated by the experience we wanted more. We were hooked. We pulled Sonia aside and asked her how she would feel about doing an advanced course and immediately she was in. It was unanimous.
Dave had been tempting us to take his advanced course, so we knew he was game. Instead of simply agreeing to his offer, we decided that a little bargaining would be appropriate. We came out of our scuba huddle with a proposition; we would sign up for the advanced class if he would wipe out all the beer fines we’d racked up. The ‘Thumbs up’ bet we’d made at the beginning of our class had come back to bite us in the ass and we were all in deep debt. He laughed and agreed that after one more beer, our tab would be settled. He had been telling us that we were one of the easiest groups he’d ever taught, describing horror stories of people that sign up who can barely swim. Needless to say, he was happy that he’d get off easy for a few more days.
We had planned to celebrate and drink the night away, but now that we volunteered for the advanced course, we had an early 7:30 meet time. We finished our meal and retired, excited to see what the advanced course had in store for us tomorrow.

Posted by emichele 06:48 Archived in Thailand

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