Koh Tao Aug 24

Sept 30, 2015 11:19AM JST

Class started at 8AM. I woke up around 7AM. I quickly carried everything along with me and went to Seven Eleven to buy ham and cheese sandwich (Seven Eleven brand). Sandwich was 35 Baht and it was delicious after being toasted.

Roctopus was just behind the road across Seven Eleven. There was a big sign indicating where Roctopus was. I had to walk around the post that allowed cars to go through. Once I got to the shop at around 7:20-30AM, the shop was not open yet. Alex came a little later and allowed me in. I stored my belongings near the door next to the sofa.

After Alex finished preparing the class and I went in, I explained about my inability to finish homework the previous day. He said that it was difficult for him to teach when his students were not prepared and up to date. He was quite disappointed or angry I should say.

The family came 5 minutes before the class started. The class flowed quite well with basic knowledge for diving. Class materials included buoyancy skills, nitrogen intake, and many other concepts new to me. When we got to homework checking, and it was checking answers for Chapter 3, I was embarassed by the fact that he mentioned it and the other students heard. This was why it would be much better if I was taking classes with someone else, which majority of other students did – like the Brit friends I have met on the ferry on the way to Koh Tao the day before. Alex put my homework sheet away and I could not write answers down. Well, yes, of course, that was the rule.

The classroom section ended at around 10:30AM. The other class with David was still ongoing. They had a lot of videos shown. I wished we also watched videos since videos were part of the SSI education.

We left for lunch and was told to be back at 12PM and bring swimwear. I went to Seven Eleven and bought the same sandwich I had bought that morning since it was one of the cheapest and I liked it quite much. I tried nearest ATM machines closest to the dive shop and no luck. I went back to the shop and informed the operations manager/instructor Westy that I had to pay Paypal just like the way I paid deposit back in my home two months prior. He agreed and I paid. I sat on the sofa for the whole time until the class started, for one hour or so. I remembered that I had to change into swimwear and I quickly went to the washroom which was near the pool and restaurant owned by Roctopus closer to the beach 15 min before the afternoon section started.

Once we all arrived at 12PM, we were told to go to bench area next to the shop. We were shown how to prepare and wear diving suits. When we got to the point that we had to wear them to the pool, I was surprised that the tank was very heavy. Indeed, it was a bit too heavy for me. The weight was 20lb when everything was included. For my ability to carry backpack for my usual hiking trips, I only carry 8lb. 10lb is my winter weight. So, I walked to the pool with difficulty. I moved like a turtle.

When we arrived at the pool, we set our equipment into the pool. The family was told to have float and swim test just like the one I was tested on the day before. I sat on the bench and waited. And of course, they had no trouble partaking the test and everything ended in no time.

I did not have much difficulty learning skills in confined space (pool). I did have difficulty in taking mask off to get water in and get water out by blowing through nose. Overall, the afternoon session was a disaster for me. For some reason, when I was listening and observing to Alex, I had no trouble following his instructions. However, when it came to the point I had to perform tasks, my brain went berserk. I forgot what Alex was doing and did not remember exact details. I screwed up everything and Alex insisted that he did not want to put me under his name. He could assign someone else to get me a scuba diving license (the one before Open Water)…I was completely shocked. This was about 3PM.

Once we got back to the dive shop and got everything off, Westy and I discussed the options. I urged him that I really wanted to get the Open Water diving license. I mean, what was the point of me going all the way to Koh Tao without getting a proper diving license?! Eventually, Wesley pointed an awesome advice. He said that I could delay one day and practice skills one extra day. I liked that idea and I said yes, I could do it. He just had to charge me more, which was really not a problem, since it was not that expensive either. (I actually have no idea how much he charged me). Alex later learned this and said I should proceed with his opinion…well that’s it. I was mad at Alex but I agreed with him at same time. It would be dangerous to be in the ocean without confidence and proper training.

Sept 30, 2015 13:41PM JST

And so…that day, I was very disappointed and angry with myself on not doing things right. We were assigned the last three chapters 3-6. And…my bad, I noticed that I lost my homework sheet. I had to get a new sheet.

I stayed at the dive shop until 5:30pm or so and bought same sandwich from Seven Eleven. I carried backpack and other belongings to the actual hostel that I was supposed to stay. Spicy Tao was absolutely wonderful for individual or travelling with friends if they are both satisfied with staying at the hostel. I met the receptionist I talked to the previous day and she, of course, recognized me. I paid 1000 Baht for 5 days (so as I thought. It was actually 4 days…which I have discovered on the 4th stay), equivalent to $27.50 USD or about $7 per day. This was the cheapest stay that I could find in Koh Tao.

After payment, I immediately settled down. I left my belongings near the central area where people were watching TV. I quickly grabbed my textbook, homework sheet, and pen to the edge of the table and started working right away. There was another person jotting down homework across me. He was a young man travelling with his friend, both coming from Spain. We talked a bit on our homework. They went to a different dive shop but also SSI. Their dive shop was owned by Spanish so that was why they chose their dive shop. They told me that they did not need to study for the exam, which was in the morning of the next day (so was mine). They could look at the sheet and wrote down answers. I was surprised. They were lucky. One of the them was working on Chapters 1-3 and the other was 4-6. Lucky them!

Since I lost my original homework sheet, I had to redo everything. I was so tired but I was glad that I bought an energy drink called Shark at Seven Eleven. Without that, I would have died. It took me total 2 hours to finish the homework. By the time I finished homework, I was too exhausted and just wanted to relax. But, it was not the time to sleep yet. There were boys and girls behind me happily chatting away. So I joined them.

There was a girl from Germany. It was second last day for her to stay on the island. There were another girl from Netherlands (?) and another man from Canada (!) (Toronto?). They were talking to each other beforehand and we enjoyed talking. I eventually asked for a photo as an experience of my trip.

Featured image
From left to right: Netherlands (?), Canada, ME, Germany

The white tape that the man has in this picture was injuries from bike accident. In fact, there were a lot of people from the hostel who had bike injuries. They admitted that they drove bike but there was a road that goes to Mango Bay, according to them, was difficult to ride since the road was rocky and steep.

The girl on the left and the man met each other in another location in Thailand. I believe they said it was in Pai where they have met. Since then, they had been travelling together. The girl did not bike but the man did. So, they occassionally went to the beach and hiked on Koh Tao before the bike accident. I wished that I could travel more and meet travel mates just like them.

It was around 11:30PM that I slept, I believe. I had to wake up at 8:30AM the next day and I needed energy.

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