Like a fish in the sea

I don’t know whether you like it that I always write such long posts but this is the travel diary I’d be keeping for myself if I wouldn’t publish it on a blog and so I’d be writing all that anyways 🙂 But you know that you’re free to just read the parts you want to or even, just look at the pictures. But it makes me really happy to see that so many people are reading and following my blog!!! Thank you so much for all the likes and comments 🙂 And please keep on doing it 🙂

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I had a good first night in my 6 bunk bed bungalow. There was only a couple from the Netherlands inside and so it was quite agreeable. When I got up at 8.30, the sun was already smiling at me. I put as much sunscreen on my skin as I could but later I’d have to accept that there’s no way of preventing a sun burn on this island if you want to get in touch with the beach and the sea.

I had breakfast in a modern but comfortable café around the corner (they had good wifi :)) and had my first bread with jam since I arrived here, if I don’t count the toast in the hostel in Bangkok. Afterwards, I strolled through the shops for a while and finally bought a new bikini. I haggled it back to Bangkok market prices but at least I could try it on this time 🙂

Then, I wanted to see whether my new possession was of any good (I was prepared for it to lose its color or fall apart when I enter the water, since some ear rings I bought in Bangkok already broke before I had even worn them once. Bummer!) So, I went to the beach, which is more quiet in the morning and only has a few joggers (in that heat, really ?!) and people reading books. I placed my towel below a palm tree and lay into the now agreeable cool water for a while. When I was convinced that my bathing suit was made out of good material, I got back below the palm tree and read in my book until it was time for my refresher dive course.

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Our group was made out of 6 divers and our instructor, Carly. She is a real live wire. I don’t know how she does it! Diving is so exhausting and on top of that she seems to be in charge of organizing the dive groups for all the boat trips.

We got our gear. However, most things weren’t really the perfect size because they are out of material. Koh Tao is crazy busy right now, because it’s right after full moon and everyone is coming back from Koh Phangan, plus it’s summer holiday for most people. Nevertheless, they said that it has never been as full as that. When we were all set, we had to climb into a small nut shell kind of boat, which brought us to a bigger boat. Like a really small yacht. There weren’t really any places to sit except the floor on the first deck and the sun roof. So, our group climbed up to the roof and had a roof top briefing party 🙂 Meaning, Carly went over the signs she would be using on the dive, the specialties of the dive site and what fish we might see. We wouldn’t really see much this time since we would only drop down on the sand and refresh the dive skills. When we got closer to the site, Carly explained again how to set up the equipment. I wouldn’t have had a clue anymore otherwise. But it’s actually quite easy to get used to setting it up again.

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This is how it goes: The handle of the tank has to be on the left side when you’re standing in front of it. Then, you strap the BCD on, about 4 fingers below the inscription. Then, the tubes with the regulator (take away the dust cap and screw it on so that the regulators are on the left and the other two things on the right). Clip the inflator tube to the tank tube. Open the tank all the way while pointing the pressure meter away from everything important and then slightly close it back up. Tuck the buddy regulator into the jacket. Go set up a weight belt (buckle to the left and then the same amount of weights on each side with a space for the bottle in the middle).

What followed was putting on the gear. I remembered that getting into the wet suit was the hardest part of diving :). Once we squeezed ourselves in them, we slid into our jackets and, with all our strength, got on our feet. Carrying the tank out of the water is so heavy! And of course a rocking boat doesn’t make it easier. We then did the buddy check:

Bangkok: BCD, does it inflate and deflate?

Women: Weight belt, is it on and can you open it with the right hand?

Really: Releases, how many, where?

Are: Air, breath with both regulators and check that the finger on the pressure meter doesn’t move too much, do you have at least 200 bar?

Fellers: Final check, do you have the mask and fins?

And then, we got to the back of the boat, had to hold on to our mask and regulator and take a big step to jump into the water. What a relief to not feel the weight anymore!

We slowly descended and I was sooooo happy that my ears didn’t make any troubles. I was afraid not to be able to dive anymore because when my doctor at home did an ear check, they didn’t always equalize. But with pinching my nose every half meter, it was no problem.

We tried to wait in the sand in a semi-circle. I was doing absolutely fine with the skills like taking the mask of and putting it back on, losing the regulator and finding it again, getting the correct buoyancy and taking off the jacket or weight belt (funny, try to stay balanced like that!). Some of the others in the group were having more troubles and it already took them a long time to finally get under water. I was getting quite cold on the ground until everyone had finished the skills (and that being in 28 degree water, wearing a wet suit). So, I was quite glad when we started the ascend and got back on the boat. Getting on the boat though, is the thing I like the least. It’s such hard work, since suddenly, you feel all the weight again and you have to pull yourself up, your wet suit being filled with water. I hate it when the waves are big then, I always see myself getting knocked out by the boat or latter.

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Back on the boat, we switched our gear to a new tank and rode to a second dive site, called Twins. There, we did our first fun dive, which means, no learning skills but just floating in the water amongst all the fish. Oh God, it’s sooooooooo wonderful. Amazing. No words for that feeling. I don’t know how I could be without that for so long. It’s so quiet down there. Just the blue water, the colors of everything else you see and the bubbles you’re breathing out. The first few breaths under water are always very special because you just don’t expect it to work but then the air just flows so easily. Like I said, amazing. My buoyancy was pretty good so that I could even swim through a few rings in a buoyancy test garden. We saw a big sting ray and long morays that weren’t even inside a rock but just hiding below one like a long snake.

Back above sea level, unfortunately there was no way of avoiding more sun burn. This has been a bad year for my skin in this regard.

We only got back to shore by 7, where we logged our dives.

After a cold shower (this time, I’d have preferred a hot one but it wasn’t possible to turn it to warm) I met up with my new friends and we went to have sushi. Everyone had something exciting to tell from their day and it’s so good if you go out eating with a group of people who like the same food and are willing to share plates so you can try several dishes :). I could see myself traveling with these people for longer. Especially Rabea, always with a huge smile on her face, will be an inspiration for my Australia plans. She was abroad for a whole year and had the time of her life.

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Afterwards, we went to the beach for a while, where all the beach bars were packed with people. Many places, Thai men were making shows with fire, they have done that every night so far.

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Back in the bungalow, the newly arrived German girl was sleeping. She arrived from Bangkok in the afternoon. There also was a group of two American and one British guy. When they came back in the middle of the night, they were really quiet and didn’t even turn on the light, which made me love them already 🙂

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