You might have thought that I was done rambling on about diving (at least for a little while) after the last post but there is still more left to tell.
Theoretically I have the option of doing 4-5 dives per day with two dives every morning (leaving Buddha View around 7.30am), two dives every afternoon (leaving Buddha View around 12.30pm) and one night dive every second day.
I say theoretically because I also have other stuff to do such as going to a few lectures today and tomorrow (on dive theory) and then there is a limited number of DMTs that can go on each dive (it’s usually not a problem but if someone started to sign up for every dive it would be).
I’m normally in the water every day and yesterday was no exception. I started out with doing the two morning dives and then I had a plan for the afternoon that involved a much needed nap and some blogging time but as Kirsten, Tom, Tristan and Mark had no plans for the rest of the day I instead found myself going to Freedom Beach for an afternoon of snorkeling followed by beers at the beach bar while we waited for the sun to go down. After sunset we headed to Shark Bay for some night snorkeling.
Yesterday I did the morning dives with Andrea which is always…interesting. I haven’t told you about my very first dive on Koh Tao because I don’t really like the thought of criticising someone on the blog. But Andrea and I have talked so much about that dive since then that I can’t not mention it here. So the day after I arrived I went on my first two fundives along with another new DMT and then we had Andrea to show us around the boat and lead the dives. She did a great job on briefing us on the dive (which could be a job for a real divemaster so it’s good practice to take turns on briefing the fundives) and emphasised that we should let her know when we hit 100 bar on our air (we always start with 200 bar) so we could turn around and go back to the boat. We went to Southwest Pinnacle which is one of the deeper sites so we went down to around 25 m. Basic laws of physics say that air is used faster the deeper you go and therefore you should check your air (as in look at how much air you have left) often when you do deep dives. So when Andrea after 20 minutes or so signalled us to tell her how much air we had left and the other DMT replied 40 bar both Andrea and I were quite shocked (we were both around 130 bar). So we started our ascend immidiately although far away from the boat. Andrea took out her alternate airsource and held it ready for the other DMT so if he would run completely out of air we could still finish our safety stop (3 minutes at 5 metres depth) and get to the surface nice and slow but instead of staying close to her he kept swimming away. Well we made it to the surface and began our looong surface swim to the boat. The current was quite strong so we kicked and kicked while Andrea yelled to the other DMT to swim in the right direction and keep kicking and so forth. Not long after he was tired and Andrea ended up towing him all the way back to the boat!
To be fair on him I think he had only done his Open Water Diver course and Advanced Open Water course so it was his first fundive and he was probably a bit nervous which usually results in using more air. But it was definitely an interesting dive and whenever Andrea and I talk about it now we just laugh and joke about how I started my Rescue Diver course a bit early.
Now back to the second dive yesterday morning where Andrea and I were at White Rock just casually cruising around when out of nowhere a Titan Triggerfish appears and attacks Andrea. There are quite a lot of triggerfish around Koh Tao and they are known to be very territorial. They bite quite hard so it’s not a fish you really want to fight with. Normally we spot them from a distance and then go another way to stay out of their territory but this one we didn’t see until it was right in front of Andrea. So we had to hit full-speed reverse and luckily we managed to get away without any bites in us or our fins.
A couple of days ago I went fundiving with some of the other DMTs and one of the course directors Marco. He made himself quite popular by first bringing pain au chocolat for us DMTs and then making a fish finding challenge where we could win beers. We had to spot the following: yellow boxfish, white-eyed moray eel, nudibranch, varticose wart slug, rainbow runner and scorpion fish. There was a beer for the person who spotted one of the creatures first. I saw a varticose wart slug and a nudibranch and thereby won two beers.
It was two very nice dives and I absolutely loved the challenge which was a fun way to be more focused on really looking for stuff instead of just cruising around and only seeing the obvious things.
Last week I assisted on a Rescue Diver course with another instructor than the one doing my course. The DMTs Kirsten and Mark were students on the course and I definitely did my best at putting them to hard work! The course was done a bit different from the one I had but more alike the horror stories that I’ve heard of. They had to do quite a lot of rescues of panicked divers at the surface as Nenad, Ashley and me were instructed to just jump off the boat and act as panicked people every now and then. I have to say that pretending to be panicked is hard work as it involves a lot of splashing around!
Then we also did the “dive from hell” which pretty much meant that we did a “fundive” where Nenad and me could do whatever we liked such as taking off our mask and fins, spitting out our regulator, unclipping our BCD (or even better unclip our rescuer’s BCD – wish I had thought of that during the dive) and other stuff like that and then just enjoy seeing our rescuer deal with it.
In between the dives on the rescue course I did my 15 minutes treading water which is one of the stamina exercises that is required for the divemaster course. The last two minutes have to be with the hands out of the water. I didn’t really think that this exercise would be a problem until I realised just how negatively buoyant I am. The first 13 minutes I did okay but the last two I was practically struggling for my life! And by then pretty much everybody was back on the boat so there was a bit of an audience enjoying my fight with the water. But I survived and now have one less thing to do on my divemaster course!