Scuba Diver, finally

My Open Water Dive Course
with Scuba Cat, Phuket
Sept 1-4, 2009

When we first published our Phuket & Phi Phi travel guide (this book is out of print few years since the tsunami), I have been doing fun dives (Discover Scuba) but mainly have been snorkeling around in Thailand and Indonesia. Since this is my work, I have to mix meetings with other photo targets with many other aqua activities.

Finally, I strung three days together, in a rain delayed Phuket schedule and got enrolled with Scuba Cat for an open water course. The first day in the pool was demanding indeed for someone who lives a desktop life in Mumbai. I must admire the fitness of my Instructor Khun Chart (a Thai Muslim, who adheres to Ramadan fasts), as he was patient with me and did many drills in the pool and next day in the open water- hungry till sunset! Khob Khun Maak Krap!

Anyway, the next two days were real dives off Racha, a great spot to learn diving- as there are reefs ranging from 2m-18m with sandy patches as well for the drills.

Just putting on the BCD (Bouyancy Control Device) and checking the regulator/tank requires discipline and attention. But since you go underwater with an instructor (I had two- Khun Chart and Staurt Roberson, who found that Phuket was the mid point in his life which was shared between UK/NZ).

At 12m depth, I can tell you it is a bit different than a pool, but if you follow the PADI methodology, and your instructors are as good as they were for me, you can apply enough technique to overcome the inexperience of doing drills.

What did I learn? Well a lot of scuba but a lot more about my own fitness and how to deal with situations (more positional play than tactics for me, for sure).

At least, I could get some shots after the scuba certification (full open water is few dives away…).

We will be including more dive options in our programs on itsaqua.com and Scuba Cat (they have a liveaboard catamaran which divers can stay overnight, with sleeper berth cabins)…

Thanks to Sarah and Kath and the staff for guiding me through (and scolding me when I missed the start date!).

Will upload more shots and videos and another essay on how breathing in Scuba is a type of Yoga..

But one thing is for sure, now I can go diving instead of ending up snorkeling, when I just had a day or morning to spare on my busy trips in SEAsia…. some day I will take a vacation…

Saumil
Mumbai, India
18 Sept 2009


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