Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Finding Nemo

with one comment

I’m starting to think that the purpose of this trip is facing my fears. Un-beknownst to you all, I made a pact with myself on the 2nd day of my stay here in Koh Tao NOT to blog until I received an Open Water scuba diving certification. This morning, I completed my 4th dive and got my certification. (You may applause now.)

If you know me well, you probably know that I’ve always had a massive fear of deep bodies of water. This isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly willing to share, but if you’ve been with me in a lake or an ocean, I’m sure you’ve seen me panic if I can’t swim to a nearby shore quickly. (I’m fine getting from one end to another, but treading water is definitely not a strength for me.) Wednesday was the first day of dives with the rest of my group led by our Open Water instructor, a Swedish Paul Walker look-alike (Ladies. I kid you not, it was a bit distracting). We had already sat through multiple Knowledge Reviews, Quizzes, Videos, and a Final Exam during the first few days of this week. When we finally went down on the first dive, another young lady from London and I had trouble equalizing our ears on the descent and staying at the bottom comfortably, so we both came up and rested while the group finished being tested on their skills for Dive 1 & 2. I thought, okay, today’s weather conditions weren’t magnificent, and that’s probably why I was so nervous down there. I’ll give it another try when the weather gets better. (Keep in mind, the monsoon season has officially started, and it’s been pouring on and off every other day this week.)

Well, the group finished Dives 3 & 4 by Thursday night, and Victoria and I decided to watch their video with them. I felt so disappointed in myself for not finishing with the rest of my group because that video of their last dive was spectacular. I made a final decision and said to myself that I would not leave this island until I went back down again and finished the entire course. So, I did. It was just me and my instructor, Erik, yesterday and I did fine on every skill except the mask flooding. For some reason, I am so reliant on my mask, even if I know that I am breathing only with my regulator and don’t necessarily need the mask for anything except to focus underwater. Anyway, Erik put off that skill for me to complete today, and even though I had a difficult time with it, I finally got it down and scored well on all the skills by the end of Dive 4. It felt so good to know that I didn’t allow myself to give up. Being underwater at 15m is like being in another world. I felt like we were exploring another planet; it was incredibly humbling. (Also, Liana, if you are reading, we saw a few clownfish in anenome and I immediately thought of you and the Tank.) In the end, I feel extremely proud of myself and am looking forward to doing more dives with friends, possibly in Indonesia next month. Start looking for flights if you care to join me….

On land, I’m still waiting for my debit card to arrive. Might take another week or so. Since it would be a pain to go somewhere else and have to come back in a week or a few days just to pick up the card, I might as well stick around and find something to preoccupy my time. There’s actually a Muay Thai boxing gym down the road where I might look into grabbing a few lessons over the next few days. If not that, there is also a temple and school down the street where I could possibly volunteer until I need to depart for another city. Ideally, I would venture down to Songkhla (a mostly Muslim community) where the architecture and cuisine is a fusion of Thai, Muslim, and Chinese. I haven’t heard much about the city and am not 100% positive that it’s safe from political unrest, but if I could get down there easily, I bet I could find an interesting story and talk to some of the residents about nearby Hat Yai (a place which Lonely Planet Thailand warns readers NOT to go to, for safety precautions). Mom and Dad, if you are reading this – don’t worry, I will do much more research and try to get more information on this place before I head down there. After that, Krabi and Ko Lanta might be a good stop to check out the limestone rock climbing @ Railay. Then it’s back to Bangkok on the 19th to meet up with my sister, Wendy. Very excited to share this experience with her, as I only see her about twice a year if I’m lucky. From Bangkok, we’ll make our way up north to Chiang Mai and also spend a few days in Chiang Rai. There are supposed to be some amazing hillside trails for biking, so we’ll get that figured out once we are in the region.

I keep saying I’m going to post pictures, but I think I’ll do that all at once further down the road. I’m actually journaling a lot more than I’m taking photographs (unfortunately), but I think it’s because the pictures I would be taking here would look like the ones everyone else is taking, or would look like the photos you see in guidebooks. I guess I am just waiting to be inspired by something or someone. That’s one of the main reasons why I want to explore more cities that not a lot of foreigners go to. It’s been hard to find, since most of the places I’ve heard about have become havens for most tourists, I think I need to befriend more locals. That will be my next mission over the weekend. Done and Done.


Written by winniewongsf

November 7, 2009 at 6:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Very cool Win! Glad to hear that you are having a great time and accomplishing all you set out to do.Stay well,Jeffrey


    November 8, 2009 at 10:38 pm

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