Koh Tao Aug 28, 2015

October 28, 2015 2:37PM JST

Ahem, I was getting too occupied with Twitter that I have not continued written my Koh Tao trip. I realize that I probably included too many personal things so I will try to decrease some details.

Aug 28, Friday, is the last day of the week and the first day of my Advanced Adventurer course; it is also the day before I leave the beautiful island. I was extremely happy that my schedule fit with the Advanced Adventurer course. It was quite amazing really. If the night dive was not before the day I leave, I had to take the required 5 courses for Advanced Adventurer separately, meaning taking it somewhere else.

Featured image
Karissa and me

The first dive of the day started at noon, at Red Rock dive spot. The course was Nagivation, which was also classified as a specialty course. The course required the use of compass.

My instructor Karissa had to go to Koh Samui that day to renew her Visa, so I had a new instructor, Rachel B. I would say Karissa was more friendly than Rachel, but overall, they were both good instructors and I would recommend both. Rachel gave me all the names of the fish species! I was aware that Alex, as a male instructor, had different instruction style than female instructors. Just a note that you may want to consider if you are looking forward to go diving, if you haven’t yet.

Before we started class, Rachel explained to me how to navigate with the compass. It was very easy. I just had to know how to get from one place to another and know the area well. Rachel told me how to get from place to place by following the needle on the compass and landmarks underwater. I ended up concentrating too much on my compass and I got too close to coral or barrier at one or two times during my first dive. Of course, I was not supposed to touch coral as they are very delicate. She referred the concentration problem to me on the boat after the dive and it was very common mistake for first timers.

The next dive was at Twins. The course was Perfect Buoyancy. We swam to artificially sunk ship and swam through openings. It was not difficult as there was plenty of space. We went to articifial coral reef ground and swam around and swam through a ring. This was also not difficult because the ring itself was big enough for one to swim through. Here, we stayed on the seabed and practiced my buoyancy skill. I used weights to experience difference with and without weights. I had to stay upside down and touch the weight placed by the instructor at the seabed by my nose, balanced. I failed at this as I did not stay uniform and bumped into the weight without touching it with slow motion. It was okay, though, it was my first time. Nevertheless, I passed the course.

I had no problem using compass without losing concentration this time. The only problem I had was having difficulty kicking the water with slight current and swim back to the boat. Yes, that’s right, I had trouble swimming with correct stroke and leg power. I could not breaststroke. I regret not mastering breaststroke when I was learning swimming when I was a child and not swimming for awhile. My instructor informed me that as an advanced adventurer, I should not be swimming back assisted/pulled by the instructor. Thereby, I was told to practice swimming via breaststroke. At this dive, we saw the following fish:

  • Beaked coral fish
  • Weibel’s butterflyfish
  • Longfin butterflyfish
  • Titan triggerfish (Stay away while diving! – ‘Trigger’)
  • Fusilier
  • Smooth tailed trevally
  • Golden trevally

After this dive, we had a break for about 1.5 hour until 6 PM or so. I was surprised to see my original team! It was their last dive for their Advanced Adventurer course.

We had our night dive at Twins again. We saw (other than previously mentioned):

  • Giant grouper
  • Hexagon grouper
  • Blue ringed angelfish
  • Gold saddle rabbitfish
  • White eyed moray eel
Featured image
White eyed moray eel. Photo taken by Charlie the underwater videographer.

Clearly, some of these fish were different from those we saw when there was still light.

We used flashlight for the night dive. There wasn’t really technical skills we had to learn. We were there to see what is the difference underwater between day and night. It was quite awesome and mysterious. The great caution I had during the night dive was not to lose my instructor. I had to pay more attention than others because it was on me and my instructor. I did, in fact, paid too much concentration looking for fish and lost my instructor for few seconds, though.

After the dive, I took photo with my original team and we are in touch via social media. It is great to be in touch with fellow travellers and who knows – we may see each other again some time!

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