Koh Tao, Thailand
I did not want to get up out of bed this morning, so I stayed, lying on my back, for as long as I could, until finally getting up and using the communal shower downstairs. Then, while I was packing my bags, I met one of the diving instructors who had knocked on my door to let me know to stop by the shop to check out and be given a different room. So I finished packing, then walked to the dive shop, paid for the room last night, and met some of the other instructors. I also filled out some paperwork before getting a ride on a motorbike to my new accommodation (this is the first time I’ve ridden on a motorbike with my large backpack; I noticed that as long as the motorbike does not accelerate at too high of a rate, I will not fall off; for this ride, the driver kept it slow, but when he did accelerate, I had to readjust my balance, leaning forward each time). We then reached the new accommodation for me: a beach side bungalow. The location is nice, but I’m having to share my room (and bed) with a considerable number of ants. Oh well.
I decided to use the free time I had before beginning my diving instructions (in the late afternoon) to walk along Sairee Beach to enjoy the views of blue water, khaki-colored sand, green palms and trees, and giant boulders jutting out in a few spots, making a perfect picture of paradise. After that walkabout, up and down the beach, I found a cozy place nearby to eat lunch and had a salmon salad, juice shake, and iced Thai tea. Then I walked back to my bungalow and waited there until it was time to meet my instructor at the dive shop. At 16:30, I was waiting and ready to go with my first set of instructions to become a certified Open Water Diver. My instructor was a Swedish woman who had come to Koh Tao for two months (for the Dive Master course), but ended up staying here for over two years (this is entirely understandable since this island is a paradise). She had me watch some videos which went over risks involved in diving, the equipment used, how to descend and ascend, different types of dangers a diver may face (e.g. decompression sickness, lung over-expansion, mask squeeze, failure to equalize ears and sinus, nitrogen narcosis), and how to deal with those dangers. She explained each video further, going in to much more detail before giving me my homework assignment for the night (read three chapters and answer all the questions at the end of each one). She also told me about an underwater video they’d be showing in a half hour at the Aussie restaurant (footage of the latest graduating class) and suggested I should come. I agreed; so after the lessons, I raced back to the bungalow, dropped my class book off, and then walked over to the Aussie restaurant that I had eaten dinner at the night before. Once there, I found a seat in front of the main projector, ordered my dinner (Mexican lasagna and a juice shake), and waited for everyone else to come in to the restaurant before the video was projected. The footage of the latest graduating class was quite crisp and clear, and the dive sites they visited were gorgeous – crystal clear blue water, colorful coral, and exotic fish. I was a little pumped after viewing the video. I then finished my dinner and walked back to the bungalow. I read the first three chapters of the SCUBA Schools International (SSI) Open Water Diver book and answered all the questions (like the good little student I once was). Then, it was past midnight, so I promptly went to sleep.