The days on the Island are passing by, unfortunately recently there is more rain than sun… But roughly the same happens in many other places in the world, the rainy season has mixed with “dry” season.
And since in Ko Phangan the parties are mostly in the open air, it is not really good to be caught with tropical rain in the middle of party (and get wet in approximately 10 seconds – the rain is son intense!), so instead we decided to… Do the diving course!
On 21st of December together with Thomas we were taking a stroll on the beach, and accidentally run into one of the diving schools on our way. After a short introduction and trial diving in the pool, we decided to search for the school to get our initial diving certificate. Basically, it was my plan to do it later on in Ko Tao, but since the group was here… Lets do it together!
Next day we run around the island on our scooters, and got into the diving school that was previously recommended. It didn’t take us much time to decide, and soon we got enrolled into the course. It was starting on 23rd of December, just before x-mas. The itinerary was to do first full day of in-the-class theory, and then five confined dives (in the swimming pool).
SInce Thomas had already some experience in diving, we were advised not to drink alcohol during the course, and this together with the fact that school vehicle was supposed to pick us up at 7.15 am the next morning made us resign from the Shiva moon party (on of the many parties around, each one had its proper name).
When the pickup came to pick us up, it was raining heavily. The inside cabin had 5 seats, all taken, and we were supposed to sit in the back, without any roof neither protection from rain. Thai driver was like “mai pen rai” (no problem), but it was a problem, since the location was 20 minutes away, and we would surely get there all wet, resulting in being sick next days. Only after we definitely refused to hop on, he called the dive center, and we had to explain the situation. The pickup left to get back to get us later. In the meantime we had breakfast. 1 hour later he was back, and this time we found ourselves in the cabin.
When we arrived in the dive center, the electricity was down, so we couldn’t start our class (all videotaped). We got to know our instructor – the german guy with big experience in teaching, and as we would find out later, sense of humor and calm as big as experience. The power was finally back at 11, so we started. Rest of the day we were watching video, solve quizzes and do couple of dives in the pool. But since it was getting late, we didn’t finish the theory part, and decided to postpone for the oncoming day. We came back to hotel at 6 pm, pretty exhausted, had a quick dinner, and at 9 everybody was asleep.
But the night was going to surprise us. Around 12.30 am the huge storm commenced. Everyone got awake, and you could hear how some elements were knocking on the window, and finally the sound of broken glass was heard. Fortunately, it wasn’t window in our bungalow, so we proceeded with sleep. In the morning we spent some time looking for towels and flipflops, that we left in front of the door (it is a custom in Asia to take off your shoes before you enter the house). Again, the vehicle came to pick us up at 7.20, so we sat in, speculating if we can go to dive today after heavy storm (which obviously affected the visibility). But when we arrived, electricity was down again, and in the meantime instructor told us that with this heavy wind and rain he wouldn’t let us into the ocean. I would be afraid to do it as well, even on the windsurf, which I’m pretty experienced in. The waves were 2-3 meters high, forecast was saying that wind will remain 7 in Beauforts scale, so pretty stormy conditions.
So we did all remaining part from the other day in the pool, including some emergency scenarios – ie. you run out of air and take it from your buddy, removing the BCD (jacket) and putting it back on while in the water, taking off the mask and swim 10 meters without, to put it back on and blow out the water. All the stuff that would increase the confidence in real life diving.
We finished just before 3 pm, and had some time to prepare to black moon party, which was the local version of celebrating x-mas.