Day 16 – Koh Tao, Thailand

I’ve been working on getting my PADI Open Water Dive certification! Officially finished halfway through the course. The first day was spent entirely in the classroom, going over safety and procedures that we would need to understand in order to successfully practice safe diving underwater. After watching five instructional videos and completing the quizzes, we left for the night to get some rest.

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Setting up our SCUBA equipment for the first time

This morning we met at 8am and immediately learned how to set up our equipment. We practicing donning and doffing the BCD (buoyancy control device) again and again until we felt comfortable, then it was off to the pool! For the second day, we practiced various skills in a confined, shallow area. For example, how to clear your mask, what to do when you run out of air, etc. After five hours in the pool, we broke for lunch. In the afternoon, we continued to practice skills by doing different exercises and drills and finally ended with a 10-minute float test and a swim test.

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After 8 hours in the swimming pool, my hands are so wrinkled!

My first breaths underwater were simultaneously the coolest and most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life. I think this tops iFly Indoor Skydiving! Breathing underwater is such an unnatural feeling, but so cool when you realize how easy it is with the regulator! The air from the tank is very dry so after awhile, my mouth began to feel very dry (like sleeping with your mouth open overnight) and my hands have never been so wrinkled before! Our class is small with only two other guys, and our instructor, Manuel from Mexico. He is very professional and informative and you can really tell he is an expert at diving (he’s been diving for 13 years, teaching for 7). I spoke to him at the end of class about my anxiety being underwater and he reassured me that it was normal, and I was performing well throughout the class, and that our safety was his top priority.

Tomorrow we will be heading out for our first two open water dives. I am both excited and a little nervous about going out into the ocean, but I hope as soon as I see the life underwater, I will be ecstatic.

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