Monday, March 3, 2014

Scuba Diving in Koh Tao

Although visitors of this blog can more or less keep track of my current itinerary by looking at the Blogabond map above the title logo, it's still hard to make out the actual situation of the three islands I visited. Let's take a closer look at the group of islands:

As you can see, Koh Tao is really the smallest of the three main islands (note also the Ang Tong Marine National Park in the west I visited before). So while Koh Samui really was quite large and had lots to offer, why would Koh Tao attract my attention at all?

Well to be honest, I actually was quite dissappointed when I first arrived on Koh Tao. In only one day I already explored the whole island, furthermore there were no considerable culture sites like temples or historical areas. Rather everything is overbuilt with resorts and hotels. So with my empty bucket list on 'What to do in Koh Tao' I asked myself if that really was it already? A nice little island with nothing to do on it? I first considered to move on to Chumphoon (on the Thailand mainland) earlier than planned, but something kept me back.

Just when I arrived on the island I quickly noticed how many Scuba diving schools and associations were scattered throughout the island. Unlike Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, it seemed that everything in Koh Tao is marketed at diving. A little research on the internet revealed that in fact Koh Tao is quite a scuba diver's paradise and pretty much recommended for getting a diver's license. So after a brief moment of consideration I said to me 'Oh what the hell, I'm going to do this. What else is left to do on this island?' and shortly afterwards I was already taking diving classes.

Before going diving Open Water there's still training in the swimming pool...

Things got started really fast actually. After a few theoretical video lessons and some interesting reads on diving sicknesses we were already training our first Scuba skills in the school's swimming pool. I don't wanna know how many ongoing scuba divers left their piss in that pool, the visibility under the surface was just horrible. However, our group made an enourmous progress in a just short span of time, and even then the course didn't felt rushed at all. Everything was explained as clearly as possible and no question was left unanswered. So just after two days of training we were already ready for real Open Water Scuba diving!

Now things get serious!
Just like doing a driving test we students had to do some theoretical and practical exams, for example some emergency underwater skills like sharing air with each other or doing an emergency ascend. We were also teached to control our buoyancy with our own lungs or how to clear a flooded mask of water.

And again I'd like to stress out the professionality the diving instructors displayed. If we were doing something wrong, they immediately corrected us until we mastered it. They always took care of each one of us and told us exactly what to do.

But enough jabbering, you want to see how things look like 18 meters below the surface. Well watch this then, at best in fullscreen and in HD quality!

Hey, and now I can go diving everywhere around the world up to 18 metres of depth. I'm a certified Open Water Scuba Diver now, biatch. :D

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