I got my PADI open water diving certification in Turks and Caicos in 2005 and had grand plans to dive all over the world. Unfortunately, for various reasons it didn’t quite work out that way and I only went on a handful of dives before focusing my interests elsewhere. So when I came to Thailand and heard that there is beautiful, cheap diving on Koh Tao, I knew I had to take full advantage of it.
I got a recommendation from a German friend for Crystal Dive Resort, so I booked a few nights there without doing much research about other places. It definitely turned out to be a good choice. The afternoon I arrived I took a refresher PADI course in the pool to review scuba basics like buoyancy, removing your equipment in the water, clearing your mask, etc. Afterward I felt confident to start fun diving.
However, after crunching a few numbers on prices, I decided to go ahead and do my AOW (advanced open water) certificate for about $250, a good deal cheaper than you could do the course almost anywhere else in the world. As part of my open water I did my first night dive, wreck dive, and deep dive and am now addicted to diving. I plan on pursuing dive specialties in each of these areas, plus PPB (peak performance buoyancy), in Malaysia and Australia.
In addition to the fish and creatures in the photos, I saw loads of triggerfish, barracuda, butterfly fish, bannerfish, and goatfish. No turtles or sharks this time around, unfortunately!
The only real bummer of the experience was that my Nikon COOLPIX camera, which is advertised as being waterproof up to 18 meters, died after going down to just 16 meters on my first dive (when I took the pictures in this blog post). It still takes photos, but the screen has completely blacked out so it’s basically useless. Luckily it’s under a one year warranty, so I can have it repaired or replaced, but it means my photo-taking abilities are severely hindered for the rest of my time in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Such is life.