Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another day in Paradise

Wow oh wow. I TOTALLY understand why most of the instructors and senior divemasters all thought they were coming here for a week or two and ended up staying years! I am having an awesome time. Contrary to popular suspicion this has nothing to do with Thai women (or any women for that matter). It has just been my goal to live in nothing but shorts if I so choose and this is the place to do it. I've worn my sandals once in over a week (and only because I had to walk all the way into town, 15 minutes away!).
I don't really know where to start trying to describe what it's like here but I am very tempted to stay here forever too. I won't. As you should realize by now, I have a very strong restless wandering syndrome so will eventually move on again. How long from now? I don't know.
The divemaster is a long program as there is a lot to do. I have swim tests, knowledge tests (yes, there are actually a few classes), I have to have a minimum of 60 dives, lead divers on tours (I actually did a mock tour for training the other day and they said I was great, very aware of my "group". Hmmm, I wonder why?), have to learn all the basic skills to the level of demonstrable quality for beginners (included in this is the "stress test" where you and your buddy have to exchange all of your gear underwater while sharing one regulator doing buddy breathing while the instructors harass you), do a mapping project of a site underwater, do scuba reviews with people that used to dive but haven't in a long time, and assist instructors in all the courses. The minimum time for all this is about a month with the way all the dives work out.
I'm now officially starting my second week and have already finished all theory and exams, started the mapping, done the first of 2 skills sets, did the mock fun dive leading (I need 40 dives to do it for real and am currently at 35), and have already started assisting my first open water course. I've been busy and they know I mean business around here now. My social life has been a little neglected though I have started playing nightly volleyball recently. I am having trouble typing this because my fingers and arms are so sore, haha. Any free time I have during the day is used for "fun dives", just getting more comfortable with the waters and dive sites around here. I've done quite a few more night dives this week but the first one we did here was by far the best.
I don't dive every day but usually take off a day after 4 days of diving to give me ears and head a break. It's very tiring and dehydrating to be out on the boat and diving actually. Right now a typical day for me looks something like this. I have 2 options, morning or afternoon dive. The boat goes out at 7:45am or 12:45pm with every other day having a night dive at 6pm. The morning and afternoon dives are double dives while the night is a single. If I'm on the afternoon boat I still seem to get up just after 7am to start studying, eat and watch the beach, dive and come back around 5pm to have my first of 2 dinners (believe it or not but I eat 4 times a day but still think i'm burning way too much energy to gain any weight). They play one or two movies at the restaurant so if it is any good I stay and watch and have my second dinner at 8pm. By 9-10pm I am totally exhausted and start wandering my way up to bed. Maybe a little boring but I'm out of shape or something.... A morning dive like today I got up at 6:30am, dove until noon, had lunch, hung out in the open water class lecture, and then played volleyball for almost 3 hours, I'm eating dinner as I write this and then I'll probably fall asleep as I have more morning dives tomorrow morning.
The weather here isn't always great. When it rains it rains hard but usually not for too long. It's the wind and the heavy waves that are terrible because they send the boat out for dives every day because it is that busy here. There are enough dive sites around the island there is usually somewhere sheltered to dive in, but getting there is terrible. Remember, I don't like boats much. But the water is always warm and so is the weather. No dressing up required, day or night, rain or shine, it is comfortable enough to get away with just wearing shorts.
About 2 weeks ago, the wind and waves were strong enough that they sunk one of the small dive boats from another company as it was parked just off the beach. They towed it out to one of the shallow dive sites where it is not the only "wreck" dive out here. It's pretty funny how excited everyone was. I've dived it day and night now but it is so new looking that there really isn't a lot of point to it. Even the fish haven't found it yet to hang out in....
I have also been suckered into buying my own gear. Money money where are you? I seem to be spending what I don't have..... I now have new fins and dry bag and will soon get a mask I guess. The fins cost more than my month's rent, ouch! Anyway, it's probably a good thing I really can't afford the instructor's course because right now I'd be tempted....
Mom was right, I am not going to be online much and things will be relatively repetitive for me for quite a while but I will try to get on and continue to update the blog from time to time. It has not ended yet. In the meantime, it would be nice for the others to also write and keep it going. We may be separated but that doesn't mean that I'm the only one doing exciting things.
Ammon

4 Comments:

At 3:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ammon,

Sounds like you are having fun.
It's a pleasure to host your parents.
After reading your story and the part about becoming instructor i had an idea that might be worth trying. Maybe you could try if the diving school is willing to pay for the IE course and you could work for them for a set period of time, while they take an amount of what you earn as payment.
Maybe you could work something out with them.

Have fun diving and studying,
greets from Hein. Padi nr 936816

 
At 10:23 PM , Anonymous Nikki said...

Hi Ammon!

Looks like a new adventure has begun for you. And I'm glad you chose Asia as the venue for this next big adventure. Hope you have fun under the sea. :-)

Keep in touch!

 
At 1:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ammon,

Congratulations on your achievement of becoming Divemaster. A job well done. Hein is making a good point, its a common practice. Who knows.
Im looking forward to gear up and do a couple of dives.

Btw, i just graduated on my BSc degree,(ing. in dutch)

Anyway, keep those reports coming and ttys.

Greets Wessel.
Padi OWSI 959082

 
At 9:43 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

Hey Ammon,
Sorry for the delay, just finished a hectic dash through Washington and then a conference in Vancouver. Missed your parents we ended up in opposite cities, and I couldn't balance all the demands.... oh well will see them in Sept if they haven't bailed on Vancouver and gone back on the road.
Congrats on the diving courses, I still remember doing my course, and being such an air pig, that I had to wear two tanks to stay down the same as most people on one tank. I love the feeling of being underwater.
I agree it would be nice to hear from the others too.

Take care, will be checking back.

Big Bear

 

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