I was able to safely travel from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Phuket, Thailand a few days ago and since I have been busy getting scuba certified! After figuring out a taxi situation from the airport and splitting a taxi with a few nice strangers to make the fair much cheaper, I arrived in Phuket the night of the 19th. The next morning, I was off to scuba school–sitting in a classroom learning the theory and rules of scuba diving. Fortunately I enjoyed physics as most of the theory was buoyancy-related which I was able to understand quite well. I spent all morning watching videos and taking quizzes which counter towards my certification. The afternoon was spent in a scuba pool. We spent hours learning how to work the equipment and working on skills to perfect the art of diving. Surprisingly, it is much harder than it looks! We learned how to put together all of the gear and of course take it apart… we did this a few times just to ensure that we had it down. In the pool, we worked on skills such as: buoyancy techniques, using alternate air sources (in case you ever run out of air), descending and ascending, buddy checks, cramp removal, removing scuba gear and replacing it while in the water, and many other skills required for the certification. We also had a swimming test but thanks to my parent’s upbringing, this was certainly not an issue! I was exhausted by the time we got back to the scuba center as it was already dinner time… and time for me to head to bed! The next day, we were back at it early in the morning but this time, in the ocean. We took the scubacat boat out about an hour-and-a-half to Racha Yai island… a beautiful island just south of Phuket. Unfortunately this is “monsoon season” here in Thailand which means rough waves that shook the boat back and forth. When we got to the diving bay, it was time to put all of the equipment on and jump in! We still had to practice many of the skills that we had learned the day before so our actual diving time (to see fish and such) was quite short… but certainly enjoyable! With our short wetsuits, the water temperature was perfect! After our first dive, we grabbed some lunch on the boat and took some time to relax and recoup before it was time to jump in again for our second dive. Again, we practiced a few skills but we had a bit more time this dive to enjoy! Once again, the dive went well… but exhaustion set in once we were back on the boat… scuba diving takes a lot out of you… that’s for sure! I tried napping on the boat on the way back but there was no way that was happening with the waves–so I dozed in and out until I was shaken around by the waves. When we got back to the scuba shop, I had to finish a bit of theory and take the final test which ended up being a breeze! I’ve certainly enjoyed the Thai food here so I had a wonderful dinner before calling it a night! Today, we were back on the boat early in the morning and ready for another full day of diving. Just like yesterday, we headed towards Racha Yai island and the waves were once again horrendous. The bays, where we dive, are quite sheltered however so the water there is quite calm and enjoyable for diving. Today I got a bit more actual dive time as there were fewer skills to complete. This meant I was finally able to break-in my gopro and I got some great footage! We saw lots of fish, eels, sea stars, and even a sea snake! Each dive lasts 50 minutes and we spent a good majority of the time down exploring the ocean. On our second dive, we got to explore an abandoned ship wreck which was really neat! Once again, the exhaustion set in after both dives and I enjoyed getting to rest on the bumpy ride back. With my classroom and pool learning along with my four open water dives and of course passing the quizzes and tests, I completed my certification which means I can now dive anywhere in the world! Who knows what this will lead to but at least the opportunity for future dives will now be available… and it is something that I’ve wanted to complete for awhile now so its something else that can be checked off of the bucket list!
I have a few more days to properly explore Phuket and hopefully I will have a bit more energy in the coming days to do so! I really enjoyed getting to learn about scuba diving and explore a bit of the ocean but it will be nice to be on land for the next few days!
More adventures from Phuket are on the way!