09 May 2010
Having booked a Padi Discover Scuba Diving course yesterday I made sure I got a good early night and woke up excited and ready. As instructed I was at the shop just before 8am and ten minutes later we were carrying our weights down to the dock. We had two instructors between the three of us, one of the instructors was from New York, the other from Australia. Doing the course was a Belgium guy, a Chilean girl and myself. Our dive boat was roughly forty feet long, wooden and comfortable. We had a captain and a deck hand, so overall there were four people taking the three of us for a dive!
On the way out we went over diving basics like hand signals and were shown the gear.
We did two dives each approximately 50 minutes long, the dives were separated by an hour stopover in Maya Bay, where the movie The Beach was filmed. We had lunch here and I went for a quick swim; the area has an amazing landscape, but the number of boats and people on the beach was ridiculous – no longer the remote island paradise depicted by the movie.
Our first dive was on a gradual slope, after initially getting in we ran over some skills on the surface such as clearing your mask, recovering your regulator and buddy breathing. We then descended and repeated the skills in about 3m of water.
The maximum depth we were allowed to go was 12m (give or take a metre or two). I wouldn’t describe the dive as amazing, but it was good. I don’t think I’ll consider it the best thing I did in Thailand as one of the shop guys had promised.
We saw a few turtles, probably closer than I’ve been to them before (we were in a protected marine reserve). I saw one black and white sea snake, two Scorpion fish, one Stonefish and one octopus intricately weaved up in its little hole. Plus there were Angel fish, Nemo’s (renamed after the movie), Trigger fish, and numerous small tropical fish. I guess what was lacking for me was anything big, with the largest fish we saw barely two feet long. Unfortunately the coral also seemed kind of dead to me; the water temperature is very warm (over thirty degrees) so this may be having a negative effect on the colours (health) of the coral.