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Island Life in Photos

Before I start with photos of Island Life I wish to expand on my final dives. I forgot to mention a very important piece of equipment that I grew to love and also provided many giggles for guests and fellow divers alike.
MY SOCKS!! On my first dive since I was wearing closed heel fins, my instructor suggested I wear a pair of socks to prevent chaffing on my ankles. The first pair I grabbed just happened to be Christmas socks, and I ended up wearing them through over 50 dives. They served me well.
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Island Life Pics

Here are some photos of day to day life on Koh Phangan Island. They are in no particular order, hope you enjoy a glimpse of what it was like.

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Thai Fishing Boat in Chaloklum Bay

Thai Fishing Boat in Chaloklum Bay

Full Moon as Seen From my Hammock

Full Moon as Seen From my Hammock

Creative Coconut Palm

Creative Coconut Palm

Sunset Near my Bungalow

Sunset Near my Bungalow

Boat near Thong Sala Beach

Boat near Thong Sala Beach

Local fishing at Chaloklum Beach

Local fishing at Chaloklum Beach

Crab!

Crab!

My breakfast spot on non diving days

My breakfast spot on non diving days

Lotus Dive Center Kitties

Lotus Dive Center Kitties

Island Life is Tough!!!

Island Life is Tough!!!

Our little kitties almost all grown up!

Our little kitties almost all grown up!

Lotus Dive Center

Lotus Dive Center

Chaloklum Hyena dog (1)
I nicknamed this local stray, Hyena Dog, due to his scraggly looks and general mannerisms. He was known to be quite the contortionist when wanting to get into something, he was a constant threat when driving as he refused to give way…and yet I kind of admired his spirit.

You can understand my fear of falling coconuts!!

You can understand my fear of falling coconuts!!

One of the roads after heavy rain

One of the roads after heavy rain

Sunset over Koh Mah beach from viewpoint

Sunset over Koh Mah beach from viewpoint

Keeping a look out

Keeping a look out

Glorious Icecream Selection
I discovered too late the amazing Icecream place near the main town of Thong Sala. All icecream is made from natural ingredients and it tastes divine!! There were so many choices you don’t know where to begin.

Phaeng Noi Waterfall

Phaeng Noi Waterfall

Roots

Roots

Elephant feed delivery

Elephant feed delivery

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On the way to the gas station just out of town I had to pass the Phangan Safari and see the elephants every day. A highlight every time.

Great spot to learn archery and have a beer...

Great spot to learn archery and have a beer…

The owners and cooks of my favorite dinner spot

The owners and cooks of my favorite dinner spot

Good friends who came to say farewell, will miss them and can't wait to see them again.

Good friends who came to say farewell, will miss them and can’t wait to see them again.

Panorama from the pier

Panorama from the pier

And Finally my favorite kitty from the dive shop, Momma Cat!
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A Big Thank You

A big thank you to everyone I met on the island, to my Instructor Ricardo, to the staff at the dive shop, John, Marc, Gem, Andy, to their better halves, Thong, Linda and Steffi. To Monique and Neil and the rest of the Sail Rock crew, great fun was had by all.

See you all again in January 2014!!!

 
 

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Snorkeling and Recovering

I had decided on a self-imposed dive ban for a few days and this was day 3. After diving 6 days in a row the previous week and with my mysterious night time non-fever fevers* and the rash like markings all over and a left ear that seemed permanently water logged, I felt I needed a break to get my body more adjusted. So I began making sure I was drinking copious amounts of water, which of course involved pee’ing more. Staying out of the sun as much as possible, which is harder than it sounds as it feels so wonderful. I dowsed myself in prickly heat cooling powder (only in non-sensitive areas) and baby powder, which seemed to be soothing the rash. And finally forced myself to eat at least 2 good meals a day. It seemed to be working as my non-fevers were a lot less intense, the rash was almost completely gone and my ear sounded less like being stuck in wind tunnel. But I sure was getting ‘ancy to dive again.

*Non-Fever fever is when I felt like my skin was on fire every night but didn’t actually run a fever.

Snorkeling Adventures

Urs had invited me for breakfast at Malibu Beach Resort. He had extra tickets and so meant it was free and involved bacon and eggs and cereal and coffee and juice and and and…. delightful!! It was quite pleasant sitting on their very well maintained little island of a beach. You crossed over a bridge to get to it and it was more in the inlet of a small lagoon than right on the shore of the ocean, but it was beautiful to sit and look out at the boats.

Malibu Beach Resort's Beach

Malibu Beach Resort’s Beach

We decided to grab some snorkeling gear and head to a place called Haad Kom or Coral Bay Resort Beach. Luckily his resort had a shuttle and it was reasonably priced, they picked us up at Lotus and drove us the up and down road to the entrance. We had to hike down a rather steep path but then discovered a little scoop of paradise. Haad Kom is just a short stretch of beach with a few bungalows scattered along it, but being out of the way of the main traffic of Chaloklum meant it was unbelievable quiet and peaceful. I went for a short swim and then decided to brave the glorious sunshine and sunbathe a little. While Urs went snorkeling I found a hammock, rather an old one with a few precarious holes in it, but after multiple attempts and idiotic moments I was able to get in… wondering how I was going to get out.

Haad Kom Beach / Coral Bay

Haad Kom Beach / Coral Bay

As beautiful as Coral Bay was, Urs was disappointed in all the dead coral and felt it should be renamed Coral Grave instead. It seems as if pollution and over use had reached this little sanctuary, however, further out closer to the boat markers it was meant to be healthier, but that was an awful long swim on a relaxing day. We opted instead to grab a drink at the little open air cafe’s nearby and I ordered the most impressive looking iced mocha ever!

Iced Mocha, Beach and Books

Iced Mocha, Beach and Books

After relaxing and watching the ocean, perusing the book shelf and me picking up “Fifty Shades Darker” (may as well see what all the fuss is about) we headed to the resort where we hoped to pick up a ride back to town. A perfect morning and afternoon with a good friend. We decided to meet up for dinner at Cafe Del Mar at their all you can eat, first come first serve, till it’s finished Greek Night, 150baht ($5).

Urs and Me

Urs and Me

Carol, the other DiveMaster trainee, decided to join us as her Thai boyfriend had to fly home due to a family emergency and she needed the company. The food was sublime and sooo much to choose from. Hinch and Francis, the Dutch owners, had made pitas, hummus, moussaka, tzatziki sauce and so much more. I mounded my plate with a bit of each but soon realised my eyes were bigger than my stomach and struggled to finish as the food coma threatened to take over.

Glorious Greek Food

Glorious Greek Food

Parade… Thai Style

Sitting at the shop again on day 4 of my self imposed diving exile, I worked on my blog and played office girl for the morning. Around noon, music started up right outside Lotus Dive Center and there was a large group of Thai’s with money trees (I mean trees made out of money that made all of our eyes pop out, 1000’s of baht). It was a Buddha day and also time to give, armloads apparently, to the temple. Of course this had to be done with music and dancing and singing and parade through the town to show everyone what was going on and just who had the biggest tree. It was all rather amusing and great fun and we were all herded into the middle to join the merriment. The walk was a reasonable distance, especially at the heat of the day, but after the presentation to the monks and the temple food was freely provided (way to spicy for me) and free drinks. Including these strange jello like liquids, that would really good and yet a wee bit unsettling as you sucked chunks down.

Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the craziness and fun:
Waiting For The Parade To Start
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Money Trees Followed By Music And Dancing
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Thailand (118)
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BBQ!!!

After the strangeness and heat of the afternoon I opted for a few laps to clear my head and get some training in the pool. Then home to shower and finally dinner at the Holy Grill, a second restaurant run by the Dutch couple Hinch and Francis. Urs joined Carol and I and we all feasted on ribs and kebabs. DELICIOUS!

A very strange and yet satisfying day!

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Thailand, Travel

 

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Briefing, Leading and Discovering

Kathy Will Lead….

It’s been 3 days without any diving due to weather, and I am seriously starting to get itchy feet, both literally (due to all the rain and wet, but don’t worry got a cream for that) and figuratively. I woke up to a glorious sunrise over the coconut palms right outside my window and knew it would be a diving day. 

Ricardo and I had a couple from Turkey and they were great folks. Very chatty and talkative about diving and all the places they had been. Right as we settled down for the briefing Ricardo informed that I would be explaining the dive and …. leading it. Well that was news to me! 

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I think I did ok for leading my first dive. The main problem was that my dive briefing was too brief and my guiding was too fast. It felt like I was going really slowly and showing them small things like nudibranchs and such. Ricardo had told me to look for the frogfish and so was trying to remember was crevice he hid in. Eventually we found the right one but the frogfish wasn’t there, possibly moved away because of all the paparazzi. Ricardo then felt I was too concerned about it and missed the area where the bull sharks hang out. Usually we get to that spot and hang out for a few minutes to see if any of them surface above the 18m murky layer, all rather intimidating. The real reason I missed it was because I didn’t even know I was in the spot of the rock, I thought I was on the other side… got to dive it a lot more to memorize where all the critters hang out. 

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Frogfish – courtesy of Ricardo Gonzalez, Padi Instructor

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Nudibranch – Courtesy of Michael Devlin, Padi Divemaster

All in all the couple were thrilled with the dive,  and that is the most important thing. So I think I “done a good job” for my first time leading, but I do need to slow down.

Discovering Scuba

When we returned to the shop we were introduced to Michael who was waiting to do the pool session of the Discover Scuba program. This is for people who have never done scuba diving before and want to give it a try before committing to a full course. We do a 4 basic skills in the pool, or at the dive site, and then take them on 2 dives. I have never seen anyone so excited to get in the pool. It made the session great fun for us to as Michael was eager to learn. 

Diving with him the next day at Sail Rock was brilliant, a really good student. He was in heaven and we had a really good group on the boat. With the full moon party just around the corner it also meant the boat was quite full. We say the island breathes at Full Moon, as the population expands and the contracts the next day. 

Floating Around

One of the skills needed for the divemaster course is a 15minute float with the last 3minutes having your hands out of the water. It was a blisteringly hot day, and you could almost feel yourself cooking, but we managed to make it through. At one point the very slight current pushed us towards the toilets’ exit point and we got permission to push off and float to the back of the boat. The guys on the boat behind us were making fishing motions, and each guy was deciding which one of us they wanted to catch, seriously can they not see us looking at them… boys! Raising our hands out of the water was surprisingly difficult, who would have thunk….

Ear Issues 

When we returned to the shop one of the customers, a girl from Spain, was having severe ear pain. She didn’t get much assistance from her dive guide and so I stepped in with Ricardo to calm her down as she was verging on hysterical. I soaked a cloth in hot water and had her hold it to her ear, which seemed to help the pain a bit. Ricardo suspected it was inflammation in the ear canal from trying to equalize too hard, and recommended she go home take an ibuprofen and get some sleep. It is true she was a bit of a high maintenance gal but sometimes you just got to go the extra step, especially when telling them to stop whining doesn’t seem to help. We had mentioned that Ricardo’s band would be playing in Haad Salad at the Sunset Bar and they said they may try to come. 

Heat Exhaustion and Music

Carol, the other divemaster trainee, and her boyfriend Pom, were going to come with me to watch the band. But when they showed Carol looked terrible. She was cold and clammy and nautious and had a terrible headache. I recognized heat exhaustion immediately, even though she argued with me saying she was a nurse… I ignored her and made her drink rehydration salts and go under a cold shower. She insisted Pom take me to watch the band and said she would be fine. He was super sweet and drove me all the way there and then walked me right to the bar, insisting I call him if I needed a ride back. I was getting better on the motorcycle but driving that road at night was a no go for me. 

The concert was excellent and very relaxing. Michael our Discover Scuba and the couple with the ear issue showed up and we all chilled out, chatted and drank mojitos. A good end to the day. Michael gave me a ride home, he spent a lot of time in Paris and grew up riding motorbikes, so he had no issues with the road. 

All in all a fantastic couple of days… I think I could definitely enjoy this life!

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Rain, Music and Joints!

Monsoon and Mosquitoes

Been on the island for 10 days now and it looks like the threat of the monsoon has arrived. It has rained solid since 1am, non stop torrential downpour. At this rate I may have to store my scuba gear at home so I can get to the shop. 

The dive was cancelled due to weather so was forced to spend the day sorting, cleaning lying in the hammock and killing mozzys. If there is one thing I hate it’s the mosquitoes here. They are honestly the ninjas of the mosquitoe kingdom, silent and deadly and often you don’t even realise you have been bitten till they are long gone. Add to that the constant threat of Dengue fever and one becomes very addicted to mozzy lotion and coils to keep them at bay. This afternoon I found myself in long pants, sweatshirt with hood and socks wrapped up in the hammock in 30C temperatures… but at least they couldn’t get me!

Turns out Ricardo didn’t have dengue, it was the infection from a mosquito bite that had hit his bloodstream, however,instructor Andy, German, does have Dengue and could be out of commission for up to 3weeks depending on how serious it is.  There is no treatment for Dengue but there is an expensive test. Go Figure!

Band Practice

By 4pm of torrential downpour I was verging on bungalow fever! I texted Ricardo and he said we would meet for band practice at one of his friends’ houses. So at 6pm he came over and gave me a ride since my driving skills are no better than a toddlers’, although here I have almost been run off the road by Thai 5yr olds on dirt bikes. 

Ricardo plays guitar and vocals in a band with his friend Alessandra (from his home in Chile), vocals, and Nolan, an American on guitar and vocals. They are really good and it was great fun relaxing and watching them practice.

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Nolan and Ale Practicing

After a few hours of band practice, we all hopped on bikes and headed to one of my favorite places, Omega Bar. Run by Jenny, the Italian Chef who also runs Cucina Italiana, the Italian restaurant, another of my favorite places. Omega is the perfect chill out place and is only open on Wednesdays. We all lounge around on pillows and watch as anyone and everyone is encouraged to sing or play or just participate in the music. There is also a number of “relaxing” cigarettes floating around 😉 .

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Welcome To The Neighborhood – Thai Style

A few days later I was walking to look for the bungalow cats and happen to meet 2 of my French neighbors and the Brazilian neighbor. They invited me over for welcome beer and joint… yup the special kind of cigarette. Politely turning down the joint I was happy to share in a beer, and chat to my fairly stoned neighbors. A great welcome!

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Whale Shark Ahead!!!

Boat Dives

My 2nd day out on the boat. Glorious sunny weather, getting a nice tan but must be careful not to have it be a burn. Today I was diving with Dive Master Marc, he had a scuba tune up student. A tune up is when a diver has been away from diving for a certain amount of time and needs a refresher course.

Marc is one of those divers who must have been born in the water, ridiculously comfortable in it and will often just jump in before the boat has stopped moving. He is also a bit like a bear in the sense that lifting tanks that take all my strength are like a feather for him, 2 at a time no worries! However, I do have to be careful as I got hit in the head a couple of times by his fins…As far as our customer went, he did really well, except for a minor panic attack when his mask filled with water.

On our second dive I saw something that is considered one of, if not the, Holy Grail of diving, a whale shark. It was beautiful, magnificent and fabulous all at the same time. About 5m/16.4ft long. We had heard they were there after the first dive, so went looking for them on the second. We went out to one of the pinnacles where it had been and hung around looking at tons and tons of fish. Whale sharks eat plankton and the water was thick with it, perfect conditions. But no luck, so we turned around and headed back, just as the whale shark was heading towards us. Blew my mind, but our customer was low on air so we had to head to the surface… incredible, just incredible.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Devlin – fellow dive master

And He Shall Be Named: Alex Whaleshark

One of the recently certified dive masters on our boat couldn’t help himself and touched the whale shark. I was on the surface when a whole stream of divers heading back to their boat started yelling at him. Later in the video you can see the exact moment he touched it, as everyone started yelling underwater. He literally got shunned by the community. Here is the video: Don’t Touch The Whale Shark

There is a reason for this. One of the golden rules of diving is DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING! Take only pictures leave only bubbles… If every diver started touching and riding the whale sharks they may stop coming and on a more serious note, the oils in our hands could cause a skin infection when it comes in contact with them. However, I do understand why, the shark is so amazing that you almost can’t stop yourself wanting to touch it.

All in all a superb day of diving, despite getting a tad sunburnt and smacking my shin on the boat steps twice while trying to get out.

Dinner was at 2 Brothers Restaurant and their famous 2 brothers Pad Thai and snickers/coconut shake. Yummy and soo much. The pad thai had seafood in it, which I am not a huge fan of, but the rest was yummy.

Catch Up Day

Next day was a no work day, so spent it catching up with things. Diary, blog, tried to study my dive master books. Did some training on my bike, Lucy Liu, and Gem (Thai dive instructor and owner of the bike) got me a lower seat and gave me some tips. Seriously, my legs are so dang short.

Later that evening I went with Carol to Tong Sala, the main town, sitting behind her on her bike. We went to the scuba shop and I picked up a dry bag to carry my stuff on the boat.

Back at home it was an exciting afternoon of cleaning and packing away and sorting stuff to move to my new bungalow. Carol had introduced me to green curry ramen so had that for lunch and cornflakes for dinner.

Later I chatted with Ricardo’s girlfriend, Sara, she said it looked like Ricardo had dengue fever, also known as break bone fever, cause that’s what it feels like. I was leaning towards it being the infection from his bug bite on his toe that had hit the bloodstream, but either way he was very sick. Koh Phangan is a hot spot for Dengue and Chaloklum is the hot spot of the hot spot, so break out your mozzy (mosquito) repellent when you get here.

All is well, and enjoying the island so far.. unfortunately discovered the 2nd hand camera I bought for my underwater housing has issues and the screen is blank. What a bugger….

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Thailand, Travel

 

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Learning to Ride…

Practice Makes Perfect

Since my failed attempt to ride the motobike the day before I was very leery about trying again. But with my smaller, purple bike that comes with a basket and lots of encouragement from others I decided to give it a try.

I started by doing short bursts up and down the Lotus dirt driveway, it has a circular form so I could try go round it and then back. I did that a few times and then it was decided I had to try on a longer road. Marc, the divemaster from Belgium, took me on Lucy Liu (my purple bike), down the road to the temple, got off the bike, pointed into the distance and said “go!”. Ummmm, ok. I went up and down a couple of times and then we rode back.

Carol did the same for me later in the afternoon. The first time I looped back and headed to her the look on her face made me wonder if I would ever learn to ride. She looked downright terrified for my safety and everyone else’s. Oh Lordy…..

Ricardo, my instructor, came to the shop in the late afternoon after doing a visa run to Koh Samoi, a neighboring island, and wanted to see my progress. He made me go back and forth a number of times and by the end of it I could go in a straight line reasonably well and with at least some confidence. I still put my feet out and turn manually and stopping usually involves braking, putting my feet down on either side and waddling the bike to a stop. Practice, practice and more practice.

Cafe Del Mar

One of the local places here in Chaloklum is Cafe Del Mar, run by Hinch and Francis, a Dutch couple. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they have all you can eat, first come first serve, till it runs out meals for good prices. Marc and Linda from Belgium took me to my first visit there for roast pork, roast potatoes and coleslaw… We got there just in time to get the last few servings and it was some of the best food I had tasted for a while. It’s funny how you don’t even realise you crave western style comfort food when traveling in the east.

Cafe Del Mar is also located right on the beach so got to sit around and drink rum and pineapple juice while listening to the ocean. I could get used to this!

Sail Rock

The next day was my first dive to the famous Sail Rock, apparently the best dive site in the gulf of Thailand. 45mins from Chaloklum by boat, you reach an unassuming haystack type rock sticking out of the ocean, in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t seem overly big and rather unimpressive until you go below the water.

I can’t even list all the amazing creatures we saw, photos will help though and later I will add a video or two.

Me!

The Water Was Literally THICK With Fish

Me Looking At Bat Fish

Me Looking At…..

At This… Little Goby

One of the most nerve racking things we saw were Bull Sharks. In South Africa they are known as Zambezi Sharks and have a tendency to swim up rivers for many many miles and also have a tendency of tasting the locals. I grew up never going to swim as the mouth of a river, especially at dusk or dawn (usual feeding times), never swimming across a river near the mouth if there was another option to get across and here I was swimming with them. But apparently these are friendly Bull Sharks.

Bull Shark

Bull sharks had not been seen around these parts for over 7 years. But around 4mths ago a net, most likely dropped by a drunk fisherman, covered a large portion of the rock and trapped many fish. Divers from all around joined the effort to remove the net and save as many fish as they could. 2 days later 10 bull sharks were sighted. It’s believed the vibrations made by the dying fish attracted them…

Thai For Dinner

Back at the shop the rain was pissing on and off and so we couldn’t get any bike training in. For dinner I walked to a local place opposite the 7 11 store that Ricardo had recommended and ordered the chicken lemongrass salad. It was delicious! While I was sitting there I started to chat to a Swiss couple who were seated at the next table. Before I knew it I had booked them for diving the next day… and a nice little commission of 400baht (about $11 US) was coming my way. Might not seem like a lot but since dinner only cost 70baht, that would cover a number of meals in the future.

Home and sleep, utterly exhausted with another day on the boat in the morning!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Diving Mae Haad!

Dinner Plans

My first night Ricardo had organised for everyone to go to a Thai BBQ, I was very excited and he assured me no worries. Unfortunately when the message came through that it was dinner time it also turned out that no one was around to give me a ride, so I would have to take a taxi. I figured no problem and low cost maybe a couple of dollars. After wandering around the little town for a while I finally found a taxi and he said 300baht ($10) to go there. I thought that was crazy and I was very confused about where this place was, I didn’t know the island and assumed it was close by, also it only cost 150baht to come from Tong Sala, the port town.. Ricardo had also sent a text which included the words “139baht Baan Tai BBQ”. At first glance I thought he was telling me how much the taxi would cost.

Feeling rather jetlagged, emotional and down right confused as I realized that I didn’t know where I was in relation to my bungalow. Finally I just decided to go for it as I didn’t have any other option. It turned out that Baan tai was past the port town and so more expensive, add to that being the only passenger and after 8pm…

But eventually, crying it out on the way there in the back of the taxi, which is really a pickup with an open canopy type thing, I made it. It was great to meet everyone and figure out this new thing of Thai BBQ. Must admit think I prefer the Korean one. Thai BBQ is sort of mix between Swiss Fondue and Korean BBQ. You go and collect all the food you want, from a variety of veggies and meat (most of which I didn’t recognize). Then you sit round a hot pot with a dome in the center. You add things to the hot pot part to boil it and make a soup, then BBQ things on the hot dome.

Unfortunately you are sharing the hot pot with other people, which also means the “soup” has a variety of tastes that might not be appreciated by all involved. The BBQ dome was small and so meat kept sliding into the “soup” and had to be fished out continuously. Ultimately, they had delicious coconut icecream made on site. Definitely an interesting experience.

One of the guys who was finishing up his divemaster was able to give me a ride home, saving me the taxi fare. Home and cold shower and sleep.

First Dive

The last time I had gone diving was in Borneo, the same time I met my instructor Ricardo. We decided to try a beach dive at a local area called Mae Haad (Mae Beach). We geared up and climbed aboard the dive truck.

On a beautiful sandy beach we got sorted and then headed in. I knew the water was going to be crazy warm, 28C/82F, so opted to dive in just my swimsuit. Sara, Ricardo’s girlfriend, joined us. She was working on her thesis with a local research group called CORE SEA, and was here for 3months or so.

The dive was fantastic with some amazing things to see, including my first ever seahorse. It took me a second to recognize the sign Ricardo was using but then figured the universal symbol for giddy up.

Giddy Up Partner


Courtesy of Instructor Ricardo

We also saw something straight out of the SciFi movies called a fireworm.
The bearded fireworm is a slow creature, and is not considered a threat to humans unless touched by a careless swimmer. The bristles, when flared, can penetrate human skin, injecting a powerful neurotoxin and producing intense irritation and a painful burning sensation around the area of contact. The sting can also lead to nausea and dizziness. This sensation lasts up to a few hours, but a painful tingling can continue to be felt around the area of contact. In a case of accidental contact, application and removal of adhesive tape will help remove the spines; applying alcohol to the area will also help alleviate the pain. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Fireworm


Courtesy of Instructor Ricardo

The visibility was pretty decent, but then for the most part, if I can see my buddy I think the vis is good. Diving on the West coast of the States is not the best for vis.

Getting It All Over On The First Dive

Normally I am pretty good with dives even after a long break inbetween, but this dive had almost everything basic go wrong that could go wrong.
– My mask fogged constantly
– My mask leaked constantly (realized it’s the mask I use when diving with a hood in cold water and that seals any leaks)
– I became positively bouyant all of a sudden and started floating to the surface (Ricardo managed to ground me)
– At the surface my tank slipped out of my BCD
– As Ricardo was fixing my tank I got the mother of all cramps in my left calf muscle….

Other than that it was a fantastic dive!

Payments

Initially when planning this whole idea, Ricardo had hoped to sort out an internship, aka slave labor, to lower my costs. 2 Australians had just finished this when I was arriving. Unfortunately, due to unforseen issues during their intership, management had decided to nix the entire idea. Which meant I had to pay for the course. Luckily having my own gear meant the price was lowered a bit. Total cost was 32 000 baht/$1066. I think thats doable for 3 mths of training and diving. Just means less partying, which is fine with me.

My First Motorbike/Scooter Lesson

Once all equipment was cleaned and sorted and payment was out of the way, Ricardo attempted my first bike lesson. Gem, our Thai dive instructor, rented bikes and had brought one over for me. A brand spanking new one, that looked very impressive. I sat on it and barely scraped the ground with my toes. In fact it felt like I was trying to ride a clydesdale horse as the seat was so wide.

A Side Note for those of you who know me, you know that a bicycle is not my strong point. I know the basics, can go, it’s just the start stop and balance (all fairly important aspects) that I am not so good with. I had a bike as a kid and at 16 I was still convinced that my folks had given me a bike without brakes. Then my mom told me they were back pedal brakes, obviously I wasn’t very coordinated as a kid. So now add a motor and see what my nerves do.

Ricardo explained, front wheel brake (don’t touch it), back wheel brake and accelerator. It was an automatic so at least I didn’t have to think about gears. I started it up and went a little forward. Then a little forward again. I really didn’t like this feet not connecting with ground part.

Finally, Ricardo said “come on try a longer run”. I revved the accelerator and promptly crashed into the grass. I popped up as everyone started running towards me. “I’m ok, is the bike ok, tell me the brand spanking new bike is ok”… Well that just shot the nerves. It was unanimously decided I needed a smaller bike. “With a basket please”. This statement lent to much eye rolling and all the boys going “Girls! They don’t care what its like as long as its pink or has a basket”.

Alex, the divemaster candidate who had given me a ride from the BBQ was all too happy to trade out his purple bike with basket for the brand new manly hulk of a machine.

My Wheels, I Have Named Her LUCY LIU!

Left Lucy Liu, my purple wheels, at the shop and walked home, for a nice quiet evening.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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