Scuba diving in Phuket

IMG_1002

With our BCDs (buoyancy control devices) inflated, we’re floating in Racha Island’s Bungalow bay, some 12 km south of Phuket. Alexia, our dive instructor explains our next practical test on the final day of our 4-day open water scuba diving course.

“Ok, once we descend to about 12 meters , you’ll completely remove your mask, swim 15 meters along the sea floor, put your mask back on and clear it.”

As we hear these instructions, Marina and I exchange nervous glances.

“Are you ready?” asks Alexia.

“Ready!” Marina and I respond in unison, hoping the volume of our response masks our trepidation.

Only 3 days ago, while doing the theory part of our course, the mere idea of breathing underwater made my palms sweaty. And yet, that is the least of our worries now.

Before we have time to contemplate any further, as if by instinct, we place our regulators in our mouths, raise the exhaust valve of our BCD’s above our heads, push the deflator button, and begin to sink under the water.

Once we’re all kneeling on the sandy sea floor, Alexia signals that I’ll be the first to go.

As instructed, I slowly remove my mask and instinctively close my eyes as the water rushes in. Although the regulator is still in my mouth, breathing through it while not sucking up water through my exposed nostrils is a challenge. I grasp the mask in my hand, and begin swimming.

Before I know it, Alexia is right beside me, tapping on my shoulder; I’ve covered the necessary distance. With both hands, I place the mask over my face, and secure the strap behind my head. Next I tilt the bottom part of the mask away from my face as I begin to blow air through my nose; an action that replaces the water in my mask with air. After a couple breaths, I can once again open my eyes and avoid the sting of the salty water.

Making an “o” using her thumb and index finger, Alexia signals successful completion. She shakes my hand, and swims over to Marina, who’s about to perform the same test.

After Marina and I do a few more tests, the fun finally begins as we go for an exploratory swim around the bay.

Marina and I swim along as John keeps a close eye on us in the background

 

Moving around through this foreign world, spotting honeycomb eels, porcupine fish, yellow box fish, sergeant majors, among others, I note how relaxed my breathing is, and how calm I have become.

So this is what scuba diving is all about.

When I was younger, I’d watch shows about sea life and often wonder whether the underwater world actually looked as brilliant as it did on television. Being naturally sceptical, I certainly had my doubts. However, this scepticism was quickly shattered during my first snorkelling experience in Cuba in 2001. As soon as my mask touched the water for the first time, I was stunned by how colourful and lively the underwater world really was. Since then, I have been absolutely mesmerized by underwater life and have taken every opportunity to snorkel on our travels.

Not surprisingly, I’ve wanted to learn to scuba dive for nearly a decade. A good friend of mine who also happened to be a scuba instructor even lent me a copy of the study guide so I could prepare to take the course. Sadly, that book sat and accumulated dust on our book shelf for years as we ploughed through our PhDs. And to be honest, I wasn’t particularly keen on learning to dive in the frigid and murky waters of Lake Ontario.

When we initially departed for Southeast Asia, getting our scuba diving certification was a top priority. As soon as we took our first steps on Phuket’s beautiful beaches and swam in the warm and crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea, it was only a matter of time.

And now, resting on our boat ride back to Phuket, we revel in the satisfaction of having finally accomplished one of our long-term dreams. Also, we’re ecstatic to now be able to pursue another one of our dreams: diving the Great Barrier Reef!

Thanks to Phuket Scuba Club, and specifically to Alexia, John, and Nic for making one of our dreams come true. You guys were phenomenal instructors, and great friends. We hope to dive with all of you again!

Us with Nic and Alexia on our celebratory dinner:)

Peter

Note: Thanks to Alexia for taking the wonderful underwater photos


G Adventures

Other Adventures:

Enjoyed this post? Did you know you could get future posts delivered directly to your email inbox or RSS reader for FREE? Click here to subscribe and never miss another PhD Nomads adventure.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

9 Comments

  1. Thank you Peter and Marina for your lovely review. It was a pleasure having you dive with the club and we hope to see you guys soon again. In the meantime dive safely….hugs from all at the club :-)

    Reply
  2. Diving in Phuket is the perfect antidote to the stress of working and living in the city. It gives you an experience that soothes your inner self and opens up your eyes to the magnificence of Thailand.

    Reply
  3. South Africa and Mexico tied 1-1 inthe opening World Cup sport in Johannesburg.

    He had every likelihood to present victory to William
    Haggas and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who had been essential of the Tapeta surface, and bravely held on to second.
    Completing an awesome result for Godolphin, the Charlie Appleby-trained Cat O’Mountain stayed on for third, with many of the large names failing to show.
    De Sousa said: “He was very unlucky here last time when he banged his head in the stalls, but he has proved he’s brazil world cup tour the boy.” “It’s a tremendous feeling, one in all absolute delight. Godolphin known as me to ask me to affix their group and I used to be privileged to simply accept,” de Sousa went on. “Saeed thought African Story was an ideal horse. He had a couple of points, particularly on his second start this yr, but tonight he was at his very best. Scoring Abstract: 1 2 F

    Reply
  4. At the World Cup in Brazil Ottmar Hitzfeld will
    take care with Switzerland once again furore right after the gentleman will end
    his successful coaching profession What Is The Soccer World Cup
    Format. The “most tough choice of my coaching career,” announced the 64-year-old on Thursday, sparking the Swiss Association of deep regret.

    The occupation of the midfield will not trigger big debate.

    The central axis with Captain Gökhan Inler and
    Valon Behrami is for years. In the couloirs Valentin Stocker
    and Xherdan Shaqiri are undisputed. For the position behind the
    top granite Xhaka need to be the very first option despite its insufficient second round
    in Mönchengladbach. No contingent, nevertheless, offered the extended-standing
    captain Pirmin Schwegler of Frankfurt, Basel’s Fabian Frei and rounder Pajtim Kasami, the talented U21 strategist.
    Both T20 World Cup 2014 Knockout Stage Format
    free of charge, excelled during the weeks in the
    European Cup, and Kasami created rightly hopes.
    Meanwhile has to suffer free of charge under the oversupply in the center, came for
    the Ex-U17 world champion Kasami relegation with Fulham undoubtedly the worst possible moment.

    Reply
  5. I like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more here regularly.
    I’m rather sure I’ll learn a lot of new stuff proper right
    here! Best of luck for the following!

    Reply

Leave a Comment.