Sunday, 23 June 2013

The return to SCUBA - Pool session revisited!

Photo Property of Tashya Page
So I arrived in Koh Tao again Saturday afternoon around 3pm after getting a bus and a boat from Krabi/Surat Thani. I went straight to the Big Blue pickup and went straight to the dive office as soon as I got there to arrange starting my SSI course again from the Pool session. I had little hope of being able to get John back as my instructor (he was with me the first time and I felt confident he'd get me through this time), but it turns out he was free (yay) so they booked me in to start the next day at 8.30am and I booked myself into a dorm which was 400 baht when you're not diving and free on dive days. That evening I met the Aussie dude in my dorm who was finishing up his open water and was to start his advanced after. Then John messaged me on Facebook saying he was excited to have me back, he wanted to get my pool session and academics done in the morning so we could go out on the afternoon boat, and so he told me to finish up my study guides - chapters 2,4 and 6 for the morning so that I'd be able to take the test. So like a good girl, I did!

The next morning I awoke early and headed to Big Blue 2 to meet John, with my Gangsta Face on, feeling a little more confident as I knew what awaited me this time. I signed all the paperwork and at 9am we were ready to jump straight in the pool. We started off with all the other things I'd done last time, so in the shallow end learning to breathe with the regulator, the regulator lose and replace and the air-share task, which were all fine as I remembered them from last time. Then came the mask task, which I hadn't been able to grasp last time, so first we did the half flooded and clear, then the fully flooded and clear, then the mask removal, replace and clear. It took me a loooooong time to get these straight, we looked at my technique and tried to perfect it, but eventually I managed to get the mask clear, with a little John-reassurance! In fact it scared me more to flood the mask and clear it, than when I took the whole thing off and had to clear it, I have no idea why!!

So first half complete we then had a quick break, and it was clear that we probably weren't going to make the afternoon boat that day, so instead we'd complete my academics this afternoon. So back in we got and this time swam over to the deep end, 3 metres. We descended and this time I had no problems with my ears - yay! So we got right to it, first John had me just swim around under the water, using my breathing and inflating my BC to hover above the floor, I also needed to get used to only kicking with the fins and not using my arms! We did the air-share task again, and did some buoyancy tasks like finding your natural buoyancy using your breath to regulate how you float, lying on the floor and using your breath to make you go up and down, but without going up or down too fast causing you to crash onto the bottom or forcing you to use your hands. This was very hard, it's hard to just let yourself float UNDER the water, as we're so used to swimming!

Photo property of Devyn Downey
I had to learn how to just float in a yoga type position without using my arms and also learn how to manually inflate the BC under water. I had to do the Weight Belt remove and replace and the BC remove and replace underwater and John, the horrible man, made me also do the 3 mask tasks again while I was down deep so I'd get used to not being able to float to the top if I panicked. Then it was time to ascend, but whilst doing the air-share task and manually inflating the BC on the top...and then...I'd completed my deep pool session!! YAY! Now it was just a few surface tasks then we'd be done!

The surface tasks were, remove and replace the weight belt, remove and replace the BC jacket, but remembering not to let go of it as otherwise you'd sink as you still had your weight belt on! To put it back on you had to balance on the tank which was difficult! I then had to do a few rescue things, like the 'Porno Push' - one person resting their fins on the others shoulders so they can push them to the boat - then holding onto the other person and pulling them along, then learning how to get onto the boat - first holding onto the ladder, taking off your fins one at a time and handing them to the person on the boat, all this whilst keeping your mask and regulator on in case you fall back into the water during rough tide, then climbing up the ladder. was pool session COMPLETED! I'D PASSED!! Yay!

I was so chuffed, as was John, this meant I'd be on the boat tomorrow doing my first two ocean dives! John was awesome, he kept encouraging me, he was a great laugh but also totally professional, making sure he was totally happy with how I completed each task and if not, making me re-do it until I'd perfected it. It was then time for lunch - pizza duh as it's Big Blue's speciality! John's friend who had moved into the flat below him came to join us which was nice. Then it was back in the classroom for the last of my academics and my test!

I had to watch the final 3 academic videos, which were ok, bit boring but they also excited me seeing what I'd be doing tomorrow. Then John went through the important bits from the last 3 sections with me and then it was test time! It was a multiple choice test of 50 questions, I was allowed to get 10 wrong/or miss 10, and he reminded me 'not to look at the board' hint hint. But actually, I didn't look at the board, instead I got myself confused on a few questions that were most definately there to trip you up! Upon marking it, I got 9 wrong, but I passed with 82% - 80% being the pass mark - eak! lol I had been joking with John earlier that I'd be the only person not to pass, and it looks like I'd very nearly been that person. But I passed so all was good!! It meant we'd defo be on that afternoon boat tomorrow, yay!

After academics it was around 4pm so John told me to go away, relax, sleep and prepare for tomorrow. So we said our goodbyes until tomorrow, both feeling great and very optimistic about the first 2 dives. I went back to the room and showered, then went to go put some clothes in to be washed, did some blogging and then got a message from Ali, a girl I'd met in Phi Phi on Facebook, asking if I would mind doing her a huge favour (she was now back in the UK). Her friend who was in Koh Tao, had had his bank card declined and blocked and couldn't get in contact with the bank, he'd had nothing to eat all day and no money, and she asked if I'd mind giving him a little money to eat. Of course! Always there to help someone in need, I'd been there many times before myself. So I got in contact with him and we agreed to meet at Big Blue restaurant around 9.30pm to eat. We chatted, had some food and some drinks and then I headed to bed, as did he as he had an early morning dive the next day. Until tomorrow! EXCITED.COM!

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