My visit to Thailand was supposed to be a regular business trip, but since neither the colleague whom I traveled with nor I could resist the beauties of this country, we decided to stay a bit longer and get to know it better. For two young fellas like us, Bangkok and Phucket nightlife was simply unforgettable, but what really took our breath away was cuddling with the big cats in Buddhist Tiger Temple. We also went to Half-Moon Party on the island of Koh Phangan, where we had an amazing time, but the most memorable adventure happened to us on the island of Koh Lipe, where we decided to take up diving.
The Diving Adventure Begins
We applied to dive at a PADI 5-Star Resort in Koh Lipe, then prepared ourselves according to their standards. First, of course, we had to deal with the theoretical part using printed materials, DVDs and tapped lessons they shared with us. I know how important it is to dive into the theory and terminology before diving into the water, but I simply hate tests of any kind! However, I can say that these were different. You can prepare for them for as long as you want, take as much time as you need, and it depends solely on you when you are going to take the test, so there is no unnecessary pressure like in school.
As we managed to pass the preliminary ones, we learned how to prepare the equipment for the dive, and how to dismantle it under water. At first I was confused with all the terminology, and I kept mixing terms and acronyms like BCD and SPG, but once I realized that my life depends on it, I had no difficulty with remembering them. I had the same problem with the obligatory check-up that had to be done each time before you dive, but that too became a routine for me.
The next stage was diving in confined waters, which meant practicing all important procedures in the pool: how to equip ourselves in and out of the water, but also buoyancy control and breathing through a snorkel and primary and secondary regulator, both above and below water surface. Even though at that time I boasted about being so confident and without any fears and phobias, it was right there in the pool where I had my first minor panic attack, while I was under water, trying to breathe with the help of the regulator. At one moment I felt like I was not getting enough air, and in the other that I had too much of it, but my instructor Clare helped me overcome the mental barrier I had by making me do other things under water so that I would not think about breathing as much. That did the trick!
As we had now learned how to dive in confined water, it was about time we dove for real. It was February 6th, in the depths of Talang Bay. Honestly, I could not get any sleep the night before. All I thought about was the panic attack I already had, and whether something like that is going to happen to me again. This time I will be 12 meters under water, so what if I could not reach the surface in time? And if I do, is there a risk of getting decompression sickness? What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone else?
Discovering the Underwater World
Despite all my fears that I suppose are only natural, as I jumped out of the boat and purged the regulator, I was sure that this time it will not be as stressful. And I was right. As the temperature of the water was about 28 degrees Celsius, we used wet-suits. The dive lasted exactly 44 minutes, visibility was at about 7 meters, and we could see the most magnificent things. Some unimaginable creatures I thought could only exist in fairy tales inhabited the deep blue world. We saw a Tiger-tail sea horse, which had his own bachelor reef, where he waited for his lady-friend to check-out his pad.
There was also a Giant moray eel that look like it could bite my arm off, but it turned out to be pretty cool. It was hilarious, because I remembered that famous internet meme and the eel really did look like it had just told us not so interesting joke, and was waiting for our reaction. We got a glimpse of a white Lochs magnificent slug. For a moment we waited to see if the blue one will appear after it, but no luck there. As we kept swimming, we saw adorable Durban dancing shrimps that looked as if they were hopping to Guetta’s new duet with Emeli Sande. Few moments later I even got a little bit scared, and by nothing more than a Yellow margin triggerfish. Even though they are quite small, they are extremely territorial and never let divers swim freely in their area. The last one we noticed was the king of camouflage, Peacock flounder, and as it’s whole body blended with the sea bottom I almost accidentally stepped on one.
We spent around 36 minutes at the bottom, and if it had been up to me I would have never left. As we successfully mastered buoyancy the first time we dove the water, it felt great to float in zero-gravity, and what we saw was too overwhelming to stay only half an hour. However, when oxygen pressure fell below 50 bars, we had to go back to the surface. We had one safety stop that lasted about 3 minutes when we were at the 5 meter depth. On our way back, the only thing I could think about was when I am going to dive again. At that very moment I realized just how hooked I was.
Diving is my new love!
Now I am sitting in my office, writing this while sipping a cup of cold coffee and looking at my open water diver license. Spring came, but it hasn’t yet brought the weather we were hoping for, and I realize that not before July will I be able to travel and dive once again in the Big Blue.
Goran would like to personally thank Adang Sea Divers for a fantastic dive experience.
DiveCompare.com would like to thank guest blogger Goran Bogunovic for sharing your diving experience with us. We look forward to hearing about your next diving adventure!