Our departure from Chiang Mai was exciting. Not because I didn’t enjoy my time there, but because the four of us would be starting our PADI Open Water SCUBA diving course! We arrived late in the evening and took a taxi from the airport into Ao Nang town. It was dark so we could not see anything just the occasional cliff face with the streetlights reflecting off them.
We booked our accommodations for the week at Jinda Guesthouse, I would not go there again. We were greeted and taken to our rooms. Room one had all kinds of bugs in it, and room two had a nice hole in the door. We dealt with it for the evening and got the issue resolved the following morning by switching rooms. If you are going to stay there splurge and get the air conditioned room, or ask to be put on the third floor where the rooms were a lot better.
That evening we ate at a local restaurant it was around 8pm. I cannot remember the name of the place but it was small and the interior was a horrible purple color. We sat down and ordered, it is a family run operation. After waiting over 30 minutes we were handed cold food and an incomplete order. We looked around and it seemed to be only Thai’s in there. I got the point quickly, we were not welcome.
We went to bed late and went to The Dive to get our textbooks and DVD’s to watch. The course manual is available online if you look around for it. I had found the 2004 version of it and studied from that. Guess what? It is the same! A very realistic option is to sign up for your course and do the tests right away so you can skip all the DVD’s. All the information and DVD’s is available online.
After studying for a bit we all went down to the beach to play with the monkeys and get knocked around by the surf. We found a spot where the waves were coming in strong and did some body surfing. pushing each other over, you know the regular nonsense tourists that don’t live in the tropics do. Exiting the water I noticed a monkey chewing on the sunscreen. I picked up something else to make a trade and it worked. Some of the monkeys are aggressive but most are just waiting to be fed. The will go through your stuff though so make sure you keep an eye on your bag.
The next morning we were picked up by The Dive and did our quizzes to permit us to get into the pool to start. We got fitted for our wetsuits, BCD, mask, and fins. Learned how to set it all up, and then jumped into the pool. For those who haven’t been diving the first breath underwater is really exciting. Kind of strange but I found it relaxing. We started with basic skills like clearing our masks and equalizing our ears. Just before lunch Sara was feeling panicked underwater and decided to not continue with the course. The rest of the afternoon we spent underwater doing the required skills. We passed everything! The following day we were going into the ocean, I will save that for the next post.