AsiaRound The World TripThailand

Thailand: Koh Tao

Dive Master in Training – Day #7

This morning, I went to the equipment room to set up equipment for the Open Water course.  The group came at 8:30 and started putting on their gear.  We had to continue with yesterday’s “Confined Session” because we didn’t get through all the skills yesterday.  

Another Confined Session

As soon as we were underwater and the skills started, Kirsten motioned to me that she wanted to go up.  I signaled to Flav and went up with her.  On the surface, she was obviously upset and said she just didn’t feel comfortable.  We talked for a while and Flav came up.  He spoke to her in Dutch for a bit and then suggested that she and I just go for a swim around the coral.  So we did.  It was a lovely little swim.  She got the hang of it after a while and was doing just great.  But since she didn’t complete any of the confined skills, she wouldn’t be able to dive with us this afternoon.

Physics Schmisics

Back on land, we disassembled the equipment and I put the stuff into bags for the dive this afternoon.  Then I went to get my physics notes and to take the physics test.  I sat in the dive center with Kate taking the test, Jon and Ela were also taking it in the restaurant.  We waited around for the tests to be graded.  I swear, this is just like Corporate Finance all over again: Here I took the time and effort to study, but everyone else did better than I.  It’s so freakin’ annoying, but I guess I’m used to is by now.  And it’s fine because I still passed with flying colors.  We all did, actually!

Timed 800 Meter Snorkel

Thomas and Jon decided that they were going to do their 800 meter snorkel before this afternoon’s dive.  This is another water skill we have to complete for the DMT.  Since they were so motivated I decided to join them.  Kate yelled “GO!” from the shore and we all took off.  Thomas and Jon were taking their time because they didn’t need the points, but since I haven’t officially done any water skills I really needed a good score.  So I hauled my butt out to the buoy and back to the shore in 10 minutes and 30 seconds.  Jon and Thomas – for whatever reason – went past the buoy and around the boat.  So they came in around 16 minutes.  But Kate took some time off their scores since they went so much further than necessary.

We ordered a quick lunch (yummy tuna salad sandwich) and got everyone’s gear ready for the dive.  Then we all boarded the speed boat and went out to the boat.

Dive #1: Open Water Dive at Twin Peaks

Depth: 16 meters

Bottom Time: 35 minutes

Visibility: 15 meters

We dove down the eastern pinnacle and had the guys do the skills on the bottom.  They did their mask clearing/removal and regulator recovery, in addition to practicing their hovering skills.  We swam around and played with the clown fish.  We also avoided a huge trigger fish.

Timed Water Tread

During our surface interval, I did my 15 minute water tread which is another water skill that must be completed for DMT.  The last two minutes had to be done with my hands out of the water.  So for 13 minutes I floated on my back (which is allowed) and sang to pass the time.  Since it was in my head, I sang “Build me up Buttercup”.  During the last two minutes, my hands were in the air and fingers were snapping to keep rhythm.  Then I looked over at the boat and they were all laughing at me which made me sing even louder just so they could enjoy the song as much as I.

Later, when we were getting suited up for the second dive, I heard Flav whistling “Build Me Up Buttercup.”  Hee!  Hee!

Dive #2: Open Water Dive at Japanese Gardens

Depth: 12 meters

Bottom Time: 40 minutes

Visibility: 20 meters

Dive #2 was more skills on the bottom: alternate air breathing, hovering, and a CESA.  While we were kneeling on the bottom doing the skills, Flav suddenly pulled David and Jarrod away and started kicking at a rock on the bottom.  Only it wasn’t a rock, it was a scorpion fish about 6 inches away from their knees.  Scorpion Fish, by the way, are very very poisonous.  Not really deadly, but its bite swells-up badly and gives days and days of pain. So Flav pushed it away with his fin.  Scorpion Fish don’t actually swim – they scoot.  So Flav actually made it “scoot” away with his fin.  Then we went back to doing the skills again.  At one point, Flav looked up at me and loosely shook his hand as if to say, “Whew!  Close one!”

Timed 400 Meter Swim Back to Shore 

I wasn’t going to do the 400 meter swim because I’d already done two water skills today.  But the water was calm and the timing was right so I decided to go for it.  I had Mark time me and jumped in.  My watch has broken and so I couldn’t time myself, but Mark told me later that I made it in 9 minutes and 30 seconds.  I guess all that training in a wetsuit really helped.  So I did 3 out of 4 timed water skills today.  The only one left is the timed 100 meter “tired diver tow” which Jon and I will likely do tomorrow if the surface is calm.

Evening Out

We helped put the equipment away and then went to the room to shower.  Jon showered first and rushed down to the restaurant to take pictures of a glorious sunset.  I followed soon after.  We hung out at Ban’s each with a Chang Beer.  I sat with Flav and the students from the Open Water course and Jon hung out with Thomas and Alanna.  When the “Apres Dive” crowd began to thin out, Jon and I went to get some food and then back to Ban’s to meet Alanna and Mark for drinks.  They had already left but told us beforehand that they would be at a bar down the way called “Simple Life”.  

So we met up with Ela and walked 10 minutes down the road to where the bar was located.  She took a right to where she was staying and we took a left to the beach to find the bar.  We walked past it, but since no one was in there we continued walking along the beach just to see this part of the island.  Then we went back to Simple Life and walked in.  There were two guys sitting at a table and they looked at us, smiled, and said, “Sorry – we’re closed!”.  Well, that explains why no one was in the bar.

Jon and I walked back to Bans and went to the room to hang out for a while.  We toyed with the idea of going to AC’s, but it really doesn’t start hopping until 11:00 and we were beat.  Give me a break.  I swam almost a full mile today.  Timed.

We were asleep by 10:30.