6 June 2014
Recipe: Penang Curry
I am in love with the underwater world. I am in love with scuba diving and I am in love with anything and everything that has to do with the water. Today I went scuba diving for my first time ever and I absolutely loved it! The company name was Barracuda diving, one of the many diving shacks that line the few streets of Ko Phi Phi. We met at 7:30 this morning and headed out to sea in a small diving boat. We went out to a few small islands about 40 minutes off of the coast of Ko Phi Phi. During the boat ride there they explained to us how diving worked, what the equipment is used for, and how we were to operate it under the water. It seems like a lot to learn in just 40 minutes, but the people who taught us were absolutely incredible. Only about half of the divers on Ko Phi Phi are Thai. The other half come from western countries all around the world, mostly Australia, due to the large diving culture there. Ko Phi Phi is one of the best places in the world to dive, second only to a few other islands such as several in Indonesia.
I mean how could I come to Ko Phi Phi without trying it? I would never find a better price and I would never find a better location. As I was getting into my scuba gear I am sure the instructors were laughing at the smile that was plastered across my face the entire time (and I wasn’t even in the water yet). The crazy thing is that I wasn’t even a bit nervous. I am usually a pretty caution person when it comes to “extreme” sports, yet this did not seem to be one ounce sketchy. My guide helped me and one other girl fill our tanks with air, put on our wetsuits, fins, backpacks, masks, and lastly attach our respirator to our tanks. We were ready to go! With everything in place (and even my respirator in my mouth) I jumped into the ocean right after my instructor (he was from Belgium). The way scuba diving works is that you have a life vest that inflates and deflates with air allowing you to go up and down to certain depths in the water. We also wore 4 kilograms of weight around our waste to help us sink faster and closer to the reefs below.
We practiced safety procedures in the water before they let us dive down. We learned how to empty our masks if they filled with water and how to put our respirator back in our mouth in case it got knocked out for some reason. We were also taught how to “equalize” every meter, which keeps your ears from becoming pained due to the deep depths.
The first dive we did the reef was only about 6 meters or 18 feet below us. It was the perfect depth to practice being underwater for a long period of time without feeling as if there was no escape if anything went wrong. The coral reef was filled with colorful fish and sea creatures. I never imagined I would ever see a shark, manta ray, or turtle scuba diving, but today I saw all those things! The shark wasn’t large, only about 4 feet across, but it was enough to give me chills realizing the fact that I was actually swimming in an ocean full of the creatures I always wee on television.
We did two dives during our time on the boat, and the second was only better than the first. By the end of the afternoon I was absolutely dead tired from all the swimming I had done with a giant air tank on my back but if I had been given the opportunity I would have stayed out in the ocean for the rest of the day. Since arriving in Thailand I have spent more time under the water than on land.
When we got back from Scuba diving I met back up with Rachel (she chose not to go) and not even an hour later we headed back out to the small islands on a logn boat with a snorkeling crew. When you only have a few days in such a magical place you have to live each and every day to the fullest. We spent the evening in the water and even got to swim in the dark night with glowing plankton that glow blue in the water. Is this real life? I never want to leave this place!
I still haven’t found my phone. It is so frustrating that there are people in the world who think that it is alright to steal things from people (especially things that hold important information such as a phone). Losing my phone really put a damper on things but I didn’t let it spoil my time in Ko Phi Phi. Scuba diving has always been something very high on my bucket list and today I was able to actually do it, so I think I will survive. You learn quite quickly just how much things do not matter when you lose them. There are so many things in this world that I but way to much value on, not realizing that they could be gone any minute and that it would not matter in the long fun. I would suggest that everyone try a backpacking adventure at some point in their lives. It really teaches you that you do not need a bunch of stuff to live. Life is a lot simpler when you focus on the beauty of the nature and people rather than all the things you have in your possession.