I survived!

Posted by lena on July 9th, 2007 filed in Thailand

Hello everyone! I’m sorry for waiting so long to post. I know that some of you might have thought that I ended up fish food after all (the thought did cross my mind several times), but I made it. I hardly slept at all Friday night – I was so nervous. I kept thinking that something was going to go wrong and I was going to die. I actually contemplated my own demise, summed up my life, and was overall quite happy with how I had lived. Saturday morning came and we waited for the truck to pick us up. We waited and waited and waited – but no truck. I was both relieved and horrified. Relieved that I had another day to live and horrified that I would have to wait in suspense for another day. We called the diving company and they apologized and promised to get us out on a dive the following day. I figured if I only had one more day to live, I might as well live it up. We laid on the beach, got massages, and ate Thai food – just about my perfect day. Seeing as how I hadn’t slept much Friday night, I slept pretty well Saturday and woke up with a pit of dread in my stomach. This time the truck did arrive as scheduled and it took us to the boat. Slightly bigger than a fishing boat – it held about 20 people comfortably which meant that it was just small enough to rock back and forth ferociously with each bump in the sea. There were A LOT of bumps in the sea. Our dive site was 3 hours away from shore and I spent most of it with my head hanging over the side like a dog out of a car window, hoping that all would be still for just one minute. The upside was that the nausea took my mind off of my eminent demise. Then we were there and it was time. I suited up (and felt very cool doing so – I always thought that SCUBA divers looked looked really cool with all those cords and tanks on them) and jumped in the ocean. The ocean here is heavenly. It is 30 degrees Celsius – which is some really hot number in Fahrenheit (I think around 80). I was so relieved to be off the boat and the water felt so good. Our instructors name is Mario and he is one of the funniest people that I have ever met. For starters, he has a tattoo on his wrist of Bob Marley’s birthday – with the wrong date. He taught us all kinds of underwater signs that they didn’t teach us in the training video (such as, “huge fucking shark” and “asshole”), and he has some amazing stories to tell. He is the perfect combination of fun and competence. We descended and I equalized my ears several times before I realized that I was 12 meters underwater! Schools of fish were swimming over my head. Everywhere I looked was something incredible to see. Sea urchins with something that looks like an eye in the middle of their head which, it turns out, it actually its “asshole”. We saw a giant white jelly fish and another brown jelly fish swim by, but there were fish everywhere. I felt like I was in an aquarium. The coral was brightly colored and we even saw two blue fined sting rays hiding in caves. A swarm of barracuda swam by us flashing like lightning. I don’t think I can describe how incredible this experience was. I was told that because this was my first dive, I would probably use my air up really quickly, but I felt so relaxed underwater – Mario later told me that even he used more air than I did. I didn’t want to go up. I could have stayed down there for hours. It felt like we had been diving for only a few minutes when Mario gave us the sign to go up. When we surfaced, I found out that we had been under for almost an hour!

I struggled between being famished and sea sick as I ate lunch on the frolicking boat, and then jumped back in the water for our next dive. I couldn’t wait to get back under water. This time we found an old fisherman’s cage that had been abandoned. It was filled with puffer fish, red snapper, these beautiful gray and yellow fish, and other fish that were half as big as me. Mario got out his diving knife and set them all free. We explored the reef some more and I was amazed at how easy this diving thing was. I never panicked or felt the burning desire to surface – I would have stayed down there for hours (of course you can’t do that without getting decompression illness). The boat ride back was three hours of nauseous hell.

This morning, we had day two of our diving course. This time the boat ride was only 2 and 1/2 hours, but the water was much choppier. People were puking over the edge and I think everyone felt ill. The dive was worth it. I didn’t think that anything could top yesterday’s experience, but this was 10 times better. We got to go deeper – and Mario, being the daring instructor that he is, took us even deeper than we were supposed to go – 20 meters! We saw a school of fish that was as big as a three story building. Mario swam into the middle of it and they parted so gracefully. Mario made an air cave that we get to look around inside of. I cut my hand on some coral and because we were so deep, I bled green blood! It was so amazing. Adam kept using up all his air so we never got to stay down too long. The second dive was just as good. We saw the barracuda again as well as a dangerous trigger fish and scorpion coral fish. It was unreal – I kept having to remind myself that I was actually there. Heres the crazy part: by the end, I wanted to see a shark.

The boat ride back nearly killed us. The sea was so choppy that they made us all sit on the right side of the boat so that it wouldn’t tip over. More puking (not by me – although I felt their pain). I was so grateful to be on solid ground again. I cannot wait to go diving again. I have my certification now, so I can go anywhere. Maybe I’ll move here and be a professional diver for the rest of my life…

Despite the lack of sun (and, indeed, giant rain drops falling from the sky), I got burned again. Oh well. Tomorrow, we go on a tour of island. I’ll get some pictures of those rocks that look like genitalia and go swimming in a giant waterfall. I miss you all. Thank you for all your comments.

4 Responses to “I survived!”

  1. ANNA Says:

    AH that sounds like so much fun. i’m sorry adam has such inefficient lungs, he should really work on that. anyways, i have some news too,

    TONIGHT I AM GOING TO THE HARRY POTTER PREMIERE! i don’t mean to like, steal you thunder, but i can’t really help it that i’m doing something that amazing.(amazing mostly for the fact that it is i who will be doing it)

    but whatever, your whole scuba diving/overcoming fears/seeing amazing marine life thing is still pretty cool i guess.

    i love you!

  2. David Says:

    This sounds so amazing, I’m suprised that after being sea sick that being in the actual ocean is much much better. Too bad they can’t tow you out there instead of making you ride the puke-boat 🙁

    Man, this sounds so cool, but I don’t know if the diving in Seattle would be anywhere as neat. The water isnt as beautiful and clear as there, and nowhere near as warm… But if you come back and try it again and like it, I’m sold.

    i bet adam uses all his air too fast because his metabolism is all jacked up 😉 congrats on being relaxed!

  3. Susie Says:

    Hey Lena,

    Sounds fantastic! See, you are an excellent scuba diver. It’s too bad you had to puke all the way to the dive site.

    I love you, S:-)mom

  4. mel Says:

    I am delighted that you faced your fears and had an amazing experience. Isn’t it interesting how our stories (like ‘I’m scared of sharks’) limit our ability to embrace life. When you get home you can explore the Pudget Sound. It’s suppose to be some of the best diving in the world as you get to see giant octopus and other interesting things. You do have to use a dry suit instead of a wet suit as the water is so cold. The good thing about that is that sharks like warm water.