Day 17 – Koh Tao, Thailand

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Sometimes I still cannot believe that I am in this beautiful place! Koh Tao, Thailand

I’m alive! I have just returned from my first open water dives in the ocean. It was AMAZING! All my fears and anxiety vanished once I saw all the beautiful fish and wildlife that live beneath the surface. We started at 9am this morning, finishing up some book work and theory portion before taking a lunch break. We met again around noon and boarded the boat to take us out to our first dive in the ocean.

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All aboard and ready to go on our first dive in Koh Tao

Our first dive site was called the Japanese Garden. We planned out our dive on the boat and spent the first few minutes adjusting to the water at the surface. We each were holding onto a single rope that went about 12 meters down into the water. Initially, we could not see the bottom of the rope. I had been having anxiety all morning and last night, but I am so glad I didn’t quit. I kept descending very slowly and constantly reminded myself to take good, steady breaths. In and out.

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Checked and ready to go!

We let go of our safety rope and started swimming around, looking at coral and groups of angelfish and groupers. We practiced more skills that we had learned yesterday in the pool, like clearing our mask and finding our regulators. Before we knew it, we were at the surface again, high-fiving each other and ecstatic because our first dive was such an awesome experience.

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The boat took us to our second dive site, a place called The Junkyard, made by the locals with various pieces such as sunken gym equipment, a toilet, and even a car! We swam around and saw more fish, including two puffer fish, and of course practiced more skills. I finally became comfortable clearing my mask and would do so often to improve my visibility. Swimming underwater with all the gear seemed effortless and once you’re at the bottom you forget how deep you really are. We practiced our last scenario, which was with one person “out of air” and sharing a tank with their buddies alternate regulator while ascending to the surface. And just like that, our first two dives were complete! Tomorrow we have our final two dives in the morning then we are official PADI certified open water divers!

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“The boys” finished our first two dives with Bruno and Kris

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