I wasn't recommended to ‘Dive South East Asia’ by a friend or lured by any fancy flyers or advertising.
I was passing on the Baht bus and hopped off when I saw a sign.
I called in to the shop and was met by Joe, who expertly talked me through what I wanted to know.
-No hard sell.
We arranged a date for my 3 day open diving course and that was that.
There is a six hour video to watch and Joe lent me his personal video player to take to my hotel to enable me to watch the video at my leisure.
Joe's driver duly collected me from my hotel and dropped me at the shop.
Conveniently, there is a bar/restaurant adjacent as part of the dive shop, so time for a quick coffee and some toast before we begin.
There are five other persons diving today and Joe brings along a fellow instructor.
After a preliminary safety talk we don equipment, go through the buddy checks and away we go......
We jump into about 3 mtrs of water and swim to the shallows.
We are taken through the basic shallow water safety training and we go for our first dive.
Back on the boat we have a short buffet lunch and I am put through my paces again, testing my tread water and swimming abilities.
I discover my nemesis - partial and full mask clearance. For some reason, I struggle with this exercise. Joe spends a lot of time on this with me and I admire his dogged patience as we go over and over and over again.
We decide to move on and come back to this on day three. So off we go for further training and my first deep water dive.
That was pretty awesome – so much to see underwater, you just don’t realize what is down there.
We do several of the required training actions whilst in the deep.
Make or break for me, if I can’t complete the mask exercises, then I cannot get signed off for my open water.
We get all our equipment on, do our buddy checks and in we go. We swim to the shallows and it is straight into mask exercises. We spend way too long on this, because I am still not getting it.
I can see Joe getting frustrated, but he doesn’t lose his cool. Time and time again we go through it.
Eventually, it clicks into place – how the hell was that so difficult?
I hope I can complete it in the deep water trial….
Back on the boat for a spot of lunch and some banter.
In we go, deep water time.
Down the anchor line we go-deeper and deeper.
At the bottom we go for a little swim. Then it’s time….. we go through our ‘out of air exercises’, cramp, buoyancy tests and partial and full mask clearance.
That’s it, done. What was the problem?
We continue our dive, which is amazing then back on the boat and back slapping all round!
Time for a spot of sunbathing on the boat on the way back in, then a few cold beers in the bar whilst I complete my written exams.
I would certainly recommend ‘Dive South East Asia’. It’s a no fancy thrills way of learning to dive.
What you see is what you get. I enjoyed my 3 days of diving; the company was good, the teaching was delivered in a thorough, but casual way, must of all I had fun.
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