For every dive I’m falling more and more in love with diving.
When I told you about all the requirements that have to be met before one can be qualified as a divemaster there was one last little thing I didn’t mention: the snorkel test. Although the PADI manual doesn’t say anything about this test it is a commonly known way to finish the divemaster course.
Life as a DMT is pretty sweet but there is however also a lot of stuff to do. The DM course is split into three parts: watermanship and skills assessment, knowledge development and practical application.
Within my first four hours on Koh Tao I began my EFR (emergency first response) course which was one of the qualifications I needed before I could actually start on my Divemaster program. The course was finished quite quickly as I have done a couple of EFR courses before and therefore only had to watch a video, answer two knowledge reviews and discuss the results with the two fellow students and the instructor.
I’ll start by apologising that you’ve had to wait so long for this post but I’ve been busy diving and having fun!
It only took me a couple of hours to get on island time (where you never know what day or time it is and not really care). In some ways it feels like I’ve been here forever and that it’s not only five days since I stepped off the Lomprayah speed catamaran that took me (and loads of other backpackers) from Chumphon on the mainland to the diver’s paradise Koh Tao. But in other ways time flies by so fast and I can’t believe that it’s already a week since I sat down in my flight seat. Either way this must mean that it’s about time I let you know a bit on what my island life is like.
After having templed myself out (although I still missed some of the other famous ones) it was finally time for my visit to Siam Ocean World and so I jumped on bus 79 to Siam which is the retail epicenter of Bangkok.
The aquarium is located in the basement of Siam Paragon – a shopping mall which we have no match for in Denmark. It reminded me a lot about Dubai, it has the same extravagant stores and I could probably also easily get lost in Siam Paragon.
The plane touched down in Bangkok Airport around 7AM and after getting through immigration I decided to treat myself with a taxi from the airport to Khao San Road (also known as the backpacker street). It was definitely not the fastest nor the cheapest option but it was the easiest although it was incredibly hard to stay awake after having no sleep on the plane at all. And I may or may not have closed my eyes briefly a couple of times during the ride.
Buddha View has an office close to Khao San Road where I had been told I could leave my bags for the day as I wasn’t getting on a bus to Koh Tao until 8.30PM.
80 days ago I booked my flight tickets and this day felt so incredibly far away. I can’t really believe that it has actually come now and I’m so excited and nervous to be on my way in a few hours.
… or an introduction to what I just spent a minor fortune
buying investing in
Well I sort of had to now that I’m soon going to be a divemaster trainee. Oh okay I didn’t exactly have to since it is possible to use the dive equipment at Buddha View. But it will definitely make me a better dive to always wear the same equipment so that I’ll get to know it really well. Plus it’s nice to know that it’s always there and not rented out to customers.
Does it sound like a million excuses? It might be.
Investing in my own equipment WAS expensive (especially because I always want that little extra – as an example I didn’t need the flex hoses for my regulator but they’re really awesome and so I bought them) but it’s a good investment in my opinion. And I really can’t wait to go diving with my new gear!
This post is mostly for all you guys who don’t know anything about diving. For the next couple of months I might write a lot about diving and equipment because.. well you know right.. So I’m thinking that it would be helpful if I just introduced you to the most basic equipment.
Let’s start with the buoyancy control device also known as the BCD. As you might have picked up from the name it is used to regulate the buoyancy by inflation or deflation – it is connected to the tank which is mounted on the back of the BCD. BCD’s come in many forms the two primary being the jacket-style and the backplate/wing system. The jacket-style is the most common and it works like a vest where all of it is inflatable. The backplate/wing system works by having a metal backplate with an inflatable donut so that it’s only inflated on your back. The ladder is mostly used by experienced divers.
My BCD is an Oceanic Excursion 2 and it’s sort of a mix between the two styles. It has the jacket features meaning that it fits nicely but it is only inflated on the back which gives a better position underwater.
It has two large pockets and lots of D-rings where different stuff can be attached – both things are really good for divemasters and instructors since you often have to bring a lot of stuff underwater. So I think that I’ll be really happy with this BCD when I get to know it.
Just to clarify something then the inflation and deflation of the BCD are used to regulate the buoyancy but the small adjustments underwater are done through the breathing (inhaling will of course make you more buoyant and exhaling less buoyant and this can be used when encountering various obstacles underwater).
Next up is the regulator which is showed on the left picture. It is an Oceanic Alpha 9 CDX 5 with an Oceanic Alpha 9 octopus. The regulator consists of the so-called first stage which is the “silver”-thing. It connects to the tank and is responsible for the first reduction of pressure (from the high pressure in the tank to around 7-10 bar above the surrounding water pressure). Then there are four hoses each with a different purpose. First is the so-called second stage which is the white “thing” I breathe from. It is responsible for the second pressure reduction and delivers air with the same pressure as the surrounding water pressure which is what I want to breathe. It has a mouthpiece specifically moulded for me to make it as comfortable as possible. The yellow hose belongs to the alternate second stage also known as the octopus. It is in case my buddy runs out of air then we can share my air. Since it is connected to the same tank as my primary second stage then I can’t use it myself if I run out of air. Therefore you always dive with a buddy (and check how much air you have left often so you never run out).
The third hose belongs to the submersible pressure gauge which tells me how much air I have left. The last hose is connected to my BCD so that I can inflate it.
On the right picture you can see my divecomputer which is a wristmounted model. It is an Oceanic VEO 2.0. The divecomputer can tell me my depth, water temperature, how long I’ve been diving and for how long I can stay down. When you’re breathing air underwater nitrogen is accumulated in the body – the deeper you are the more nitrogen is accumulated. Too much nitrogen is dangerous so therefore there are limits to how long you can stay down. If you dive without a computer then you use tables that show the bottom times for each depth but this does not take into account that you rarely stay at the same depth throughout the whole dive. A computer does that thereby giving you the possibility of longer dives.
The last I’ll show you are my mask, fins and snorkel. It’s all pretty basic but good.
I hope that this helped you understand more about diving and especially the dive equipment. And please just ask if there is something that’s still unclear or you’re just curious and want to know more!
So I promised a post on what it actually is that I’ll be doing for the next few months. And I might as well apologise from the beginning because it’s going to be kind of a vague post since I don’t know that much yet.