Monday, 1 July 2013

Advanced Day 2 - Mermaid A-Levels!

Becca and I went for breakfast again, at 6.30am. The morning boat was scheduled to leave at 7am, so we got our kits together and just hung around with our groups, had a mini briefing with John, until it was time to leave.

Once on the boat John just told us to relax and enjoy the boat ride as it would take us around 20mins to reach South-West Pinnacle, which is where we were diving first. Today we were doing our Deep and Shipwreck dives, first up was the Deep dive. John told us that we had to be really vigilant with not using our arms and perfecting our kicks so we use less air, as obviously down at 30 metres we'd use way more air than normal. We set up our dive log computers to plan our dive and it figured we had around 15 minutes down at that depth before we'd be at risk from decompression sickness (obviously we had slightly more as we also had time calculated for our descent and ascent) but once we hit 30 metres, we'd only have 15mins bottom time. We were to also keep check on our air constantly as we'd use it way faster and John needed to know when we were low. On this dive John was going to show us what the pressure at 30 metres could do, which involved a coke can and an egg!

Once we'd arrived at the Pinnacle, we set up our equipment, (my tank didn't have an O-Ring so the air leaked until the guy put one on), jumped off the side of the boat this time, which was super high, and then kicked over to the line by the boat in front which was how and where we were going to descend. We were using a line down to 20 metres and then were going to dive the rest of the way into the pinnacle until we got to the bottom at 30 metres.

Instantly I had trouble equalising again, so I pulled off the line towards Alice who tried to help me clear them, by taking me up a little, down a little, etc, but I started to panic having flashbacks of the first pool session and thought I wouldn't be able to dive. John could tell, so he swam up from where he was at the bottom of the line and motioned me to get back onto the line and equalise. He grabbed my waist band and I knew from that moment he meant business lol. He mouthed 'I got you' and signalled to keep calm, breathe and use my head, take as much time as I needed to clear my ears. So I did, and eventually I managed to equalise and John went back down to the bottom with the others and me and Alice made our way down to them. Once at the bottom, we'd hired out an underwater camera between us all and Buddy Benny had it so we instantly started snapping pictures. I was MUCH more confident now I'd gotten down, my ears still hurt a little but as John had told us, as soon as we passed 20 metres it was much easier and there was almost no need to equalise so my ears cleared.

We swam down to 30 metres and John motioned us to all gather round and settle as close to the ocean floor as possible...our 15 minutes bottom time had started! It was soooo hard to stay down at 30 metres, you just instantly started floating all over the place! Alice handed John 2 fresh eggs first and he cracked them release two fully formed, solid eggs! Until Saraah shot her hand through it and it broke into tiny pieces, then started waving it towards all of us! lol Then John opened a coke can, which because of the pressure, the coke stayed in the coke can, but the gasses had been released so it was just syrup! He then handed it around for us to taste, it was pretty cool, but I got a mouthful of seawater too! When Tasha had it she started rapidly floating up so I grabbed the coke can while Alice pulled her back down, but in that moment we lost the straw to the ocean so were all scrambling to get it back and put it in the coke can for Ben and Sarah to taste. It was then almost time up, John had wanted to do the musical instrument game but there was no time so we checked our air consumption, signalled how much we had left to John and then began our swim up to 20 metres - making sure we never broke that 9 metres a minute rule! As we ascended our NDL's increased so we could spend a little more time swimming around the pinnacle before having to ascend. Clever computers!

After about 10 minutes John asked us how much air we had again, and we all told him, however I'm not sure exactly what happened but buddy Benny had tried to tell John he was quite low on air but hadn't managed to get the message across, so halfway through our next swim as we were about to start our ascent at 18 metres, literally minutes after we'd just checked each others air, he suddenly swam back to Alice then Alice was grabbing him along to John. I didn't know what the hell was going on...until I saw John and Buddy Benny doing an air-share - he'd run out of air!! In literally minutes after we'd exchanged air levels and seemed to be ok! I felt incredibly guilty that I should have been checking more but Alice assisted me Saraah and Tash with our ascent while John focused on keeping Ben calm and air-sharing on their ascent. It meant that they had to go up to their 3 minute safety stop quicker than they were supposed to, whilst we slowly ascended to that spot. We ended up doing the last 5 metres super quick but Alice kept us calm and kept us on our computers til our 3 minutes was up. Once on surface, John was pretty mad with Ben as he didn't understand how he wasn't informed sooner that he was low on air - he only had 20 bar left apparently!! But I could tell that John was more upset that one of his team could have been in danger and he was angry looking out for him. Because they'd gone up too fast he was uncertain if Ben could dive the next one as he could be Bent (decompression sickness) and would have to go on the afternoon boat. But we kicked back and went on board to rest.

Because of the depth we'd been at, our watches told us we had to have 1 and a half hrs downtime before our next dive, because of the higher amount of nitrogen in our bodies. So we all just chilled, sunbathed, ate fruit and biscuits, and the girls and I gossiped boys. When we were allowed to enter the water again for our 2nd dive, we all suited and booted, Ben was allowed to dive so I still had a buddy yay, and this time jumped from the other side of the boat, which was even HIGHER than the side we'd used on the deep dive and kicked over to the line by the boat in front of us.

We then all descended together and right beneath us...was HTMS Sattakut!! The vessel was built for, and owned by, The United States of America in the middle of the 20th century and used as a warship in World War II. Two years after the end of the war (1947) the ship was commissioned to the Thai Royal Navy and served for 60 years until 2007, when it was decommissioned at the end of its illustrious service. After an extensive cleaning program, to remove any toxins which could be harmful to marine life, the ship was purposely sunk in June 2011 in order to provide the people of Koh Tao Thailand with an extra scuba diving was pretty freaking awesome! 

We took the camera down with us again and got some pretty cool photos, and then were just left to dive and enjoy! So we swam around, checking out the boat, fishes etc, went through part of it and got my tank stuck but managed to get out. Then after some cool and fun was the end, yet again, over way too soon!! 

We ascended, did our 3 min safety stop and then we were officially qualified Advanced SSI Divers...or Advanced Mermaids! Back up on deck everyone was exhausted but we were all so chuffed we'd made it through and had seen some pretty awesome things. Once back on shore, we cleaned our kit and put it back...sob...won't be diving with Big Blue again for a while (I say a while because I WILL be back to do more diving, maybe even get Divemaster certified). And then we all sat together for lunch and to log all of our dives in our divelog books. It was then time to say goodbye, to John, to the team, to Becca, to her team, to Big Blue and to Koh was the end of the Islands, and very nearly the end of Thailand! 

I then had 2 hours to shower, pack, pay up, get a Big Blue T-shirt and have lunch with Becca and her team before my pickup to the ferry for my travel back to Bangkok. I had a boat to Chumporn at 2.30pm, then we took a short songthaew ride to the train station, where we had a 12hr train back to Hualamphong station in Bangkok. This was pretty uneventful, other than the whole two hours was totally rushed and I barely had a moment to breathe. But once on the boat it was a smooth journey back to Bangkok - on a bug infested bed which was promptly changed, and I arrived in Bangkok at 6am, took a tuktuk to the hotel Amanda and Bailey were at, and slept until 11am! One more day left in Bangkok and Thailand, my 'home' for the last 7 months...these are sad times!

No comments:

Post a Comment