Thursday, December 21, 2006

Diving into the Blue

I think I mentioned that while on our honeymoon, we went diving. In fact, we learnt to dive and got our divers licenses (there's a joke lurking somewhere in this but I will refrain). We did our divers course in 3 days with 1 day spent in the swimming pool of a local resort (there were some very surprised swimmers as we popped up from the deep), and 2 days of boat dives. Actually the pool wasn't very deep. Less than 6 foot at the deepest point. This made the whole diving thing a little tricky, as every time we plunged into the not so murky chlorinated depths we hit the bottom.

Our 2nd and 3rd days were fantastic. Exhausting but fantastic. We had an early start, catching a big catamaran to Koh Tao, a smaller island ideal for diving. The boat trip took about 1.5 hours each way and this provided time for us to review the theory that we had had to study the previous evening. On the final day, on the return trip we did the theory test for our Padi Open Water Diver tickets, which was an excellent use of time. The only tricky thing about doing it on a catamaran was that that particular trip was quite rough. Consequently, Mr Heroic (me) got sea sick. It's a touch distracting needing to race outside for fresh air every few minutes while trying to take an academic exam. Still, the Madeline Barnes, our instructor was brilliant and we can highly recommend the company that ran our dive course, Searobin. The course was very time efficient, and we felt like we had the complete, undivided and supportive attention of our instructor.

Diving off Koh Tao was great. Our first dive was just off the island. When we arrived at the island, we boarded our dive boat and were dropped near the beach. We did the dive and finished on the edge of the beach and walked up the sand to the island restaurant for lunch.

Our second dive was in much deeper water and was a lot more fun. The dive boat was shared with a Japanese company, and for some reason they had preferential treatment, making the decision as to where would dive. This wasn't too much of a problem though, as they were keen to dive at cool places.

On the second day of boat dives, we again did the first dive in shallowish water (less than 10m) due to having to finish a lot of the practical material for our PADI tickets.The second dive was to have been off Sail Rock but sadly, the boat broke down before it picked us up after lunch. We could see it just 15 metres away over the water from the jetty, but no boat, no dive. Eventually it arrived, wheezing and literally fountaining oil from a hole in the engine. One of the boat staff sat in the engine bay and poured more oil in the top while the other drove us just a little way from the jetty for our final dive.

Overall, we had a fantastic experience and loved every minute of it. Well, apart from trying to find masks that worked for us. Neither of us could find a mask that fitted perfectly, so we spent some of our time each dive clearing them. All the same, to see another world like that and to realise afresh the brilliance, versatility and sheer creative genius of the our God was a great experience. Can't wait till we can dive without all the Scuba Gear.

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