After wandering about for a bit in the extreme heat yesterday, I finally decided to go ahead and do a diving course. Apparently the visiblity is really good just now and they've even seen Manta Rays near Ko Phi Phi which is unheard of so it should be great. After checking out a couple of places I chose a school run by a couple of English guys (Stuart and Tony) and so the studying began!
We met at 9am this morning for the classroom sessions and quiz tests. We have a class of 6 which is the biggest they've had recently as it's been relatively quiet. Anyway, it's a good bunch -3 Aussies from Brisbane who are really funny, 1 English girl Sophie who's my dive buddy, and an American from Tennessee. The sizing up for wetsuits and fins was a hoot -it's quite disconcerting when a complete stranger has to look you up and down and decide whether what size you are (FYI -they decided I was a medium however they've reassessed after being in the pool and I'm now a Small!)
We all got through the cheesy American PADI DVDS 1, 2 and 3 and passed the quizzes without too many problems and then had lunch in the bar before heading out to the swimming pool. The day had started as an absolute scorcher again, however within minutes of getting into the pool the rain started and it pretty much rain torrentially for the rest of the afternoon, with thunder and lightning in the distance too. Luckily we weren't in too much danger of getting fried!
We were split into 2 groups of three and Sophie, Dave the American and myself were with Stuart. I really enjoyed it, and felt much more confident than I had when I did an introductory dive in Dahab last year. It does take a bit of getting used to though but being in the pool was much easier for practicing the skills. Tomorrow we get to do our first open water dive and we're heading to Ko Phi Phi for that. So 2 hrs by boat then I think we do a couple of 1hr long dives which should be fun. Hopefully I'll remember everything from today -I definitely think I don't take things in as well as I used to!
At the moment we're all doing the PADI Scuba Diver qualification with the option of going on to do the full 4 day Open Water qualification. Looks like Sophie will do the Open Water as well so will be great to have a buddy.
Other than that, not much else to say. I'm staying in a nice place and the vibe here is so much better than Phuket. I wish I hadn't wasted the two nights in Patong beach as that has really scuppered any chance of getting up to Chiang Mai. However, you live and learn. I'm flying back to Bangkok on Saturday so am hoping to do a cookery course here on the Friday morning then some beach time in the afternoon (as I'm still milky white compared to everyone else here!!!) No doubt I'll get burned to a crisp on the boat trips to Ko Phi Phi after saying that. Then it's off to Singapore on Sunday.
Hope all well with everyone.