It was a grueling morning filled with.. math. Yes, unfortunately, scuba diving requires crunching numbers and reading tables. After four long hours of nitrogen concentration calculations and a little review of the non-math parts of diving, we both passed the written exam on dry land. The last components of the open water certification course would take place during four separate dives over the next 24 hours.
I’m totally cool with breathing out of a tube several meters below the surface but I’ve got this weird thing about water spraying in my face. The final mask removal task, taking it off and swimming around a bit before putting it back on, was challenging because the bubbles from my regulator got all up in my nose and eyes and seriously freaked me out. After a very minor panic attach at .25 meters, I passed the task by swimming only on my side or back so the bubbles didn’t get up in my grill. All good.
Here’s something I don’t recommend: putting sunscreen anywhere near your little eyeballs before diving. My friends, I did this and it was not fun. Halfway through the dive, I was so relieved I had the amazing mask removal and swim skill up my sleeve because I almost had to do it at 15 meters deep. Instead, I cried sunscreen tears for a few minutes and squinted at trigger fish in the distance because the water was so murky, I figured it didn’t matter if I could see well or not.
Below the boat, Tiffanie and I got to perform our very favorite dive ritual as taught by the wonderful Sofi. It has three statements each with their own movement. The words are said in a thick Spanish accent and the signs are exaggerated.
“Buddy, buddy, buddy”
[shake your dive partner]
“I out of air”
[slice across your neck with your arm]
“You share with me?”
[make a back and forth motion with your hand between your face and your dive partner’s]
I hope we never have to use this maneuver in real life, but if we do, we’ve got it down pat.
The evening was spent poking around the main strip and ended with a live band at a restaurant right on the water near Mae Haad pier. In Thailand, I’ve encountered an astounding number of highly skilled musicians, each which their own brand of killer stage presence. It seriously blows my mind.