I had no idea that my passion for scuba diving could be decreased by anything but it turns out that way too many days with being thrown around on the boat due to strong wind and freezing both in and out of the water combined with assisting a really annoying group of Open Water students did the trick.
After having assisted so much lately I had actually planned to take a few days with just fun diving and relaxing but somehow I found myself go up to an instructor the other day and offer my help with an Open Water course not realising what I was doing until it was too late. So I figured that an extra course before taking a few fun diving days wouldn’t matter. But little did I know that the students play such an important role in how fun a course is. I had just finished assisting with the eight people which had felt chaotic but looking back it was so much fun because they actually wanted to learn and they were so enthusiastic about diving. The new group came off to a really bad start when I heard that two of them came straight from a party to their first theory class and of course fell asleep while watching the videos. From then on it just didn’t really get much better as most of them never payed attention to the briefings given by the instructor and therefore all asked the same questions afterwards. So for both the instructor and me it was a course we couldn’t wait to finish – this attitude towards each other probably didn’t help either but what could we do?
So it was the morning of this group’s last two dives with the wind coming straight on to the side of the boat leaving me freezing and the waves making it impossible to stand up without holding on to something that I realised that the conditions could take the fun out of diving! Usually the relaxed and calm feeling the underwater world can give is enough to make the out-of-water trouble worthwhile but not when I was assisting that group! I simply could not wait to get it done and come back on land!
In the afternoon that day I was supposed to have done a DMT workshop on how to find and recover items underwater using search patterns and a liftbag. It is one out of the last two things I still have to tick off on my list and with my time on this island slowly running out I actually really wanted to get it done but I was so incredibly happy when it was cancelled and I was left with an afternoon of doing nothing. It was very much needed and I made a promise to myself to cut a bit down on assisting so I can spend the last two weeks enjoying the dives.
I only did one thing that afternoon and that was arranging to do a cooking class yesterday. It’s ridiculously expensive here on Koh Tao compared to the prices I’ve heard about in Northern Thailand but since I’m not going up there anytime soon I just accepted the price and felt happy that I would be doing one of the things I had been wanting for a long time. I have fallen madly in love with the Thai cuisine and it’s definitely one of the things I’ll miss the most when I go back to the real world. I had to pick three dishes that I would be cooking and chose my absolute favorites: massaman curry, green curry and pad thai. Both curries are with coconut milk which makes them creamy and very delicious. Pad thai is fried noodles and one of Thailand’s signature dishes.
I did the cooking course at O-O-OK, a restaurant I’ve eaten at twice. It was a private course meaning that I was the only student. I was given the recipes and a pen that I used a lot since the recipes didn’t match how the dishes were actually cooked.
We started out by making the two curry pastes which was very hard work. Lemon grass, pepper corns, garlic, turmeric, chili and several other ingredients are grinded by hand until an almost smooth curry paste appears.
With the curry pastes made it was time to cook the massaman curry which besides coconut milk has onion, potato, chicken and cashew nuts in it. This version also featured ananas but that doesn’t account for most of the massamans I’ve had here in Thailand.
The taste of the massaman was fantastic but I wish the cooking lady would have let it cook for longer so the potatoes would have been done. She was in charge of the cooking and I was basically just doing what she told me to do while trying to scribble everything down.
Next up was the green curry which also came out quite good with eggplant, pork, green pepper, red chili and morning glory. With the curry paste made already this dish was quite fast to cook. The last thing to create was the Pad Thai which was even faster. It is made with rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrot, egg and spiced with lime and a sauce consisting of ketchup, fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. When served it is garnished with crushed peanuts and half a lime.
When I decided to do a cooking course I had two options: either do it at one of the big resorts or at a small place like i did. I chose the small place because I figured it would be more authentic which I guess it also was. It was interesting to see the kitchen where they do all the cooking for the restaurant and to be honest it was actually cleaner than I had expected – although still far from Danish standards I think. If I could do it over I think I’d go with one of the bigger resorts where I assume they have more of an actual cooking class the reason being that it annoyed me quite a lot that she was nowhere close to following the recipes I had been given.
But all that aside I really enjoyed doing the cooking class and I’m happy that I did it!
After arranging the cooking class the other day I felt so happy that I actually signed up for the night dive that day – something I’ve avoided lately since my ears were troubling me on a couple of night dives in a row. My left ear has given me problems quite often over the last three weeks or so as it won’t equalize when I’m diving at around 10-15 meters depth. On deeper dives there are rarely any problems but on shallower dives I’ve often been seen hanging around above everybody else as my ear wouldn’t allow me to go below 10 meters. It is worst when I’m assisting and therefore forced to do a very slow descent and maybe even go up and down a few times during the descent to stay close to the students.
Anyway that was a bit of a detour – so I signed up for the night dive expecting the worst but was pleasantly surprised. The waves weren’t as bad as earlier which was really nice. Jumping off the boat and into the water as the first person gave me a real rush of happiness and soon Callie, Spencer and I started our descent into the dark water. The first thing we came across were two blotched porcupine fishes swimming casually around and allowing us to stay reasonably close. Soon after we were at the entrance to the turtle’s cozy cave looking in to the lovely giant all tucked in and far off in dreamland. To avoid waking it we quickly left again and set off to see what else we could find. Last night there might have been a stingray get-together somewhere as we saw quite a lot of them out swimming around. Even though I’ve seen a lot of them by now I still really enjoy seeing them – especially at night when they’re out and about and not just hiding under a rock. Towards the end of the dive Callie and I met another porcupine fish, this time a black-spotted porcupine. Despite the annoying current that usually would have made me unhappy with the dive I was very pleased when I came back on the boat – and only a little sad when I heard that Kirsten, Mark, Tom and Tristan had seen a giant barracuda having a rabbit fish for dinner. I would have loved to see that but it’ll happen to me some other time.