‘We just need to be careful with Trigger fish and Scorpion fish.’ Geoff my scuba diving instructor with 16 years of experience warned me while lecturing on the basics on scuba diving.
‘Oh great, I don’t even know how these fishes look like’, I sighed with the thought of possible danger. ‘If you don’t bother them, they won’t do anything to you.’ Geoff added.
The travel from Ao Nang beach to Maya Bay is quite long and basic lesson with Geoff was finished in less than 20 minutes. While there’s still time, I ate the lunch provided by the diving center which is surprisingly Chicken Pastel and Rice, maybe because there’s a lot of Spanish people on board.
I also drank as much water as I can; it is scorching hot in Krabi. ‘Drink this instead’, Geoff passed me a glass of electrolytes. ‘It will give you salt, acid and bases that can keep you hydrated’, I nippily finished a glass before following him to the lower deck as we reached Maya Bay – the first diving spot.
The lower deck was packed with people changing to wet suits. My instructor handed me one with a Scuba Addicts print on it. It’s so cool! He signalled me then to have a seat beside another student for some final instructions.
I told Geoff I want to bring my camera. ‘For the first dive, no I won’t allow you to bring your camera. I need you to focus on the actual lessons.’ He answered. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I am also a bit dejected that I cannot bring with me my Olympus Tough TG2 which I bought for this trip.
On the jump, I tried to copy how Geoff and how the diver from SSI video that I watched made the giant stride to going to the water. I was panicky when I didn’t see anything underneath the water. I haven’t been 12 meters deep in water my whole life and on my first dive, we don’t need to do the stride as we went from the beach shore.
My buddy got nervous after the jump that he didn’t continue the dive. This gave me the advantage of having a one on one diving lessons with the instructor. I completed the actual exam on retrieving a regulator, washing off the water from my mask underwater and inflating and deflating the buoyancy compressor as fast as I can so that we can start exploring under the sea.
Being under the water was amazing, I love everything that I saw, from the gaudy corals and lively creatures like puffer fishes, monish idols, file fishes, box fishes and even the scary looking scorpion fish which made me swim up every time I see one.
Geoff would always remind me to swim whenever I just stare at something for some time. The most amazing part is when Geoff pointed at something behind me and when I turned back, a big Hawk Bill turtle swam beside me. The crazy part of me would like to grab him and have a photo with him, then I remembered the ‘don’t bother them’ warning. Anyway, my Tough TG2 is in the yacht.
It was almost passed an hour when we surfaced the water. My lips taste salt water and my oxygen tank is left with 25% air. Geoff congratulated me warmly like a proud dad. ‘You saw a big turtle, octopus…’ he enumerated. ‘Octopus, where’? I exclaimed. ‘I pointed it to you and you nod’. Oh my, I can’t remember seeing an octopus. ‘Octopus are rare, you can only see them on season.’ Geoff added with a smile then he asked ‘How about the lobster, did you see it?’ I frowned then asked back ‘Lobster?’, ‘The one I’m pushing you to come near at’ he retorted. Then I remembered he was pushing me to see something in a rock wall underwater and when I saw the spines I went away from it.
I can’t believe I had the time of my life though I’m alone. Thanks to Scuba Addicts for being patient with the stubborn me. I was trying to convince them to book me for an open water course but not possible as the course will take 3-4 days and time between diving and flying should be at least 18 hours.
I spent the sailing time from Maya Bay to Viking Bay at the upper deck of the yacht, drinking more electrolytes and finishing my fried rice from breakfast. A lovely couple I think older than my parents smiled at me seeing I’m eating rice again. ‘I need more energy’ I told them like I need to explain. ‘Yeah, you do’. Found out that they’re from London and they were on board for snorkelling. And when I asked them why don’t they try to dive, ‘I’m afraid I might see something I don’t want to see’, the good lady answered.
A few chats with the couple and we’re already at Viking Bay, the next diving spot. Geoff helped me to tie the strap of my camera somewhere on the buoyancy compensator vest. ‘Are there sharks here?’ I asked him. ‘Sadly no’ he replied looking like he is wishing there are.
The second dive is easier of course. Now, I don’t just stare at the beautiful creatures underwater, I also took photos of them. It’s hard because they swim fast or hide the moment they feel someone is coming close to them.
Among the lovely fishes in Viking Bay, my favourite are the clown fishes, not just because they remind me of the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ but because they are really adorable. They like to peek out from their shelter reef and look at you then hide, then peek again to look at you. They’re so cute!
Sea Cucumbers, sea urchins, cushion sea stars, bubble corals, anemones, great barracudas, common porcupine fish, undulated moray and basset fishes name it, I saw it.
I was able to finish my second dive before my camera ran out of battery. We were the last to finished diving and when we surfaced the water and the yacht came to fetch us, I heard one of the guys from Scuba Addict shouted, and ‘Here comes the superstar!’ Well indeed I felt like a superstar today for rocking the dive.