Since the blow out night of snorkel tests gone by, us divemaster trainees have been utterly worked to the bone. Well, not exactly, but our days of diving have been some of the most productive so far. Under the watchful eye of a wonderful instructor, Jo, I assisted my first Open Water course. We were lucky enough to teach a small group of two Scottish boys, who took to the ocean with nay a care nor a worry. Taking their masks off underwater and clearing them was an absolute doddle, which made my role as assistant pretty much redundant. It was decided early on that my role would be ‘professional Go-pro handler’. Thanks to me, they’ve got some lovely footage of them finding their fins in the waters of Koh Tao!
Somewhat more tasking was the ominously named ‘stress test’ that all of us must complete. You and your buddy kneel on the sand, buddy breathing for a minute, which is sharing one regulator between you. You take two breaths, pass the regulator to your buddy who takes two breaths, all the while blowing bubbles as not to hold your breath underwater (the number one rule of scuba diving). As if this wasn’t hard enough to master, you then have to exchange every piece of equipment, until you’re both wearing each other’s kit.
Myself and Gill bravely went down with Steve to give it a go. You’re not allowed to practise this one, because someone must be there with you holding out their alternate air source, in case one of you panics. We were suitably sh***ing ourselves, but we muddled through and apparently made it look fairly easy (people came down to observe/have a nosey). We came away with a sterling five out of five, and no desire to ever repeat the experience.
All of this ticking of the boxes and studying for exams has meant that these sorts of embarrassing things have started to happen.
^ Falling asleep catching flies in a coffee shop with pen still in hand. Gill subsequently sent me home for a much needed nap.
Having got a bit caught up in spending every waking moment either in the water or learning about being in the water, me and Maria felt it was high time to spread our wings and explore the island, with nothing but our Nikes and some vague directions (go up). We filled our water bottles at Simple Life and set off at 4pm, with the intention of watching the sun set at around 6pm. This was met with doubt from our fellow divers, who clearly didn’t realise how we not only giant stride off the boat, but on land too.
The route was littered with sandy potholes and slowly moving mopeds, including this horrendously harsh sign promising to shoot anyone lucky enough to survive the first shooting (we stayed well clear, only climbing the one barbed wire fence to take this picture).
Reaching the summit was a glorious moment, where we promptly ordered peach iced teas, followed immediately by a more refreshing Chang.
Watching the sun set over the mountain top, with our legs dangling over the ramshackle bar, was a moment of total and utter bliss. We took it all in, pointing out all our favourite spots from up above, before taking our obligatory rock photos to mark the occasion.
The long walk down was made bearable by the promise of a bountiful dinner at one of our old favourite Thai places, Blue Chair. Being all the way down at the wrong end of Sairee, we rarely get to go. Once in a blue moon, some may say. So we rested our weary legs, gulped down a few more Changs and ordered a veritable feast.
Massaman curry, Penang curry and vegetable fried rice. A meal fit for a king, or for two girls who have just climbed a mountain!