I’ve have done some pretty incredible things, such as trekking high in the Himalaya Mountains, watching the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl in person, and doing the bungee swing over the Ganga River in India. But the experience I just had getting PADI certified in scuba just might top them all. It truly was a spectacular experience and would not have been possible without the wonderful staff at Kon-Tiki Lanta. Their professionalism and dedication to the sport and their clients made all the difference and I can’t thank them enough!
On the first day we were introduced to our instructor, our equipment, and then headed to the swimming pool. I also met the other 3 members of my group. Bea and Jimmy were from Denmark, and my buddy, Chew, was from China. Nick (our amazing instructor who will soon be the topic of one of my Human Connection posts) showed us how to assemble our BCD. The Buoyancy Control Device is the main piece of equipment used in scuba. It helps control your decent and ascent and is connected to the tank and regulator. After that, it was time to get in the pool and take our first breaths under water. Wow! It is such a cool feeling to breath underwater!
We practiced a bunch of different skills for the rest of the day. We learned how to buddy breath, how to descend and ascend properly and we practiced several mask skills. Those were the hardest for me for some reason. You have to be able to take your mask off under water, replace it and blow all the air out of your mask by using your nose. It took me several attempts but Nick was incredibly patient and helped me through it. By 5:00 we were all exhausted, sunburned and glad our first day was over.
The second day was truly unforgettable. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it and still grinning when I’m old woman. First of all, the islands around Thailand are breathtakingly beautiful! We went to two small islands called Koh Bida Nok and Koh Bida Nai near Phi Phi. They are basically giant rocks sticking out of the bright blue tropical water. But it was the view under the sea when we went down for the first time that really blew my mind. It’s very hard to focus on breathing, depth and buoyancy when there are thousands of multi colored fish darting about playfully. We also immediately saw a shark, which made my heart really start pounding! Fortunately, he wasn’t interested in us at all.
We took about an hour break for lunch. The crew provided us a delicious authentic Thai meal made by “Mama” Kon-Tiki. Her cooking skills pale only to her sweet spirit and nurturing attitude. When we came out of the water she was always the first to greet us with a big smile and some Gatorade. Her laughter made me forget even the most intimidating skills. Seriously, the crew on our boat were some of the most knowledgeable and professional people I have ever met!
By the third day I was exhausted and anxious to complete the course. I was so excited that I could barely sleep. We had to demonstrate another series of skills, including an emergency ascent, removing our gear while in the water and putting it all back on properly, and planning and executing a free dive on our own. Finally, we had the opportunity to just look around and enjoy the colorful sea life. I swam through a school of yellow snapper fish, chased an elusive eel, saw a scorpion fish, puffer, and a ton of other beautiful creatures. Unfortunately, I never did find Nemo, but that’s okay because I’m now a certified scuba diver so I’ll have many more opportunities! If getting certified in scuba diving is on your bucket list, I highly recommend Kon-Tiki Lanta. They have a number of great locations spread out all over the globe. It was incredible experience!
Read more from Beth here: http://thejourneyofbethb.com