• Day52

    Day 52 - Koh Kood - Scariest Day Ever

    October 31, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    We did it! We finally went scuba diving. It was absolutely the most terrifying thing either of us has ever done. But it was also amazing.

    We set off this morning for a snorkel trip that we arranged with a local dive company. We got on the boat with the other 15 or so tourists, 3 dive/snorkel instructors, and 2 boat staff. The majority of the group was diving. Within about 5 minutes, I asked if we could switch from snorkeling to diving.

    The boat trip to the first dive location was about 30 minutes. Long enough for the beginners dive group (just me, Tim, and a Bulgarian girl, Maria, who can't swim) to get some basic (frightening) instructions and get all of our gear ready. We anchored in, the advanced divers and snorkelers took off, and the 3 of us and our instructor jumped in. Non-certified divers can go down 12 meters max. This didn't sound deep at first for some reason. We started with some surface breathing exercises and, after just a couple of minutes, were "ready to go". We held on to the anchored rope and the goal was to pull our way down slowly. I made it about a half of a meter before I freaked out. All of the instruction and safety precautions about lungs exploding and ear drums exploding was all I could think about. I made us all come back up (even though the instructor basically refused when I pointed up) and told them I couldn't do it. She insisted I try again. We did some more breathing exercises, and set back down the rope. Again, I immediately freaked out again, this time hyperventilating, and came back to the surface. I told the instructor I was absolutely not going and that I wanted to go back to the boat and snorkel. She pretty much refused but once she saw there was no chance I was going, she let me go back to the boat, as long as I promised to try again, one-on-one, after lunch. I said "okay" - anything to get out of the scuba gear.

    Tim, Maria, and the instructor set off without me. Tim said it was really scary at first but after about 5-10 minutes he got comfortable. They all stuck together but the instructor really had to focus on Maria, since she can't swim, so Tim had to learn quickly! They all said this first dive was pretty murky and the visibility wasn't great, but they saw some cool coral and fish. By the time I caught up with the snorkelers, I had missed the giant sea turtle they saw. But I was able to see a lot of colorful fish.

    We all got back to the boat and ate a pretty good chicken curry lunch. Then, while everyone else went to snorkel or to walk on the nearby beautiful beach, I set off for my private dive lesson. This time, where we jumped in the boat was only about 2 meters deep. I could see the bottom and was a little more comfortable. After finally getting comfortable with the breathing techniques, we set off slowly underwater. Getting to the bottom here wasn't hard (except for the ear pressure - I really had trouble with the "equalizing" techniques we briefly learned). But as she started to pull me away from the boat, I knew we were getting deeper and deeper and two or three times panicked and made her take me to the surface. We eventually got down about 6 meters, which doesn't too sound deep, but it really feels deep when the furthest down I've ever been is a 12 foot swimming pool for a second or two. Especially when the visibility isn't great, there was no way I could see the surface, which was a little unnerving. But eventually I got comfortable. The next 30 minutes or so was amazing. She finally let me swim on my own. We saw a ton of cool coral and schools of fish. It's crazy how different it feels down there. One breath in and you float up 3 feet, one breath out and you go back down. I never quite got used to the ear pressure and how to equalize it. But it was an amazing experience. I had a crazy adrenaline rush for awhile afterwards.

    Once we got back to the boat, everyone else had already returned and so we set off for the third stop. I wasn't ready to try another group dive, so I set off with the snorkelers, and Tim set off for his second dive. He said the visibility was much better this time. They got down to about 9 meters. He had an amazing time and was so glad he did it. My snorkeling this time was a little intense. The waves were rough. But I saw lots of huge colorful fish, Angel Fish, some crazy crawling fish with wings, and beautiful coral. The swim back to the boat through the waves was tough though and I was ready to be on land for the day.

    We got back to our resort around 3:00. We relaxed on the beach for awhile, Tim went SUP boarding, then we watched the sunset before getting ready for another delicious dinner. What an exhausting, scary, amazing day.
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