Scuba diving in Thailand

grey Scuba diving in Thailand
Fumbling and trying to screw the air regulators onto the tank, I am very excited to be Scuba diving in Thailand but have not dived for over a year so feel suitably nervous. Trying to remember what my friend Marek and I leant on our course I simply copy what the others around me are doing. No one has checked my PADI dive licence and I doubt anyone will. The tank to which I am about to trust my breathing is scratched and dented, the buoyancy vest is faded with ripped storage pockets.

Notwithstanding, the scenery surrounding the boat is spectacular, a steady stream of tourist laden boats pass us on sheet metal smooth water to view karst islands. Small green islands rise sharply and dot the bay with patches of green. The whole area provides ideal sightseeing and an opportunity for people to reproduce brochure photographs.

Loaded with scuba gear my delightfully busty Norwegian dive buddy and check each other’s oxygen flow and jump into the water to descend twenty-two metres to a cave. I am wearing only shorts and she a bikini as the water is bath warm even at depth. Our plan is to descend and explore a cave near the ocean floor then to corkscrew our way up around the island to the surface. The steep cliffs as seen from above continue right down to the ocean floor and make for truly spectacular diving.


grey Scuba diving in ThailandA small shrimp nervously pokes his head out from some coral, spots me then darts back into his hiding place. Eels that peek their bald heads out hold a striking resemblance to my grade ten maths teacher, I am relaxed enough to forget where I am while watching and grin losing my mouthpiece. Holding back panic I recover it by following an air hose from the tank, I replace the lifeline, clear the water out and start breathing slightly embarrassed but glad that none of the other divers notice.


We swim a little way into a large cave, far enough in for the light to dim significantly. Normally I am not claustrophobic but sitting twenty-two metres underwater in a dimly lit cave make the walls feel like they are closing in. When I add another dent to my tank by bashing against the cave’s roof I decide to swim for open water and gladly continue exploring open water.Back on the boat my experienced dive buddy, whose wet bikini is losing
‘You have hardly used any air Ben, how do you use so little oxygen?’the struggle for decency leans down to check my gauges. My eyes reluctantly follow to where she is pointing,‘I’m making up for it now.’grey Scuba diving in Thailand‘What?’‘I really don’t know how.’

Maybe my body is still full of red blood cells from the altitude of Nepal, maybe I am just fitter than last time I went scuba diving, on previous dives I gulped

grey Scuba diving in Thailand through my air at a furious rate. We went on to dive around a nearby wreck called the King Cruiser and at a reef called Shark Point which had no sharks.

With my air tanks all on empty and sinuses full of salty water I munch on tropical fruit as the boat slowly chugs its way past myriad other tourist boats exploring this amazing area. My dive buddy is luxuriating in the sun, I am desperately trying to avoid staring as her chest rises and falls in time with the ocean.

 

Thoroughly relaxed I listen to the world and simply revel in the tired floppy-limbed feel that follows a long dive in the water.

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