Today started with rain. Torrential, hard, thunderous rain. We had risen, and just as we were ready to go, it let up just enough to start walking. Its a 30 min walk from our end of the bay to where Mojo are based, but about half way it started getting heavy again and we ducked into a random restaurant for breakfast.
I tried the Thai attempt at a full English breakfast.In place of sausages were hot dog frankfurters. The bacon was really good, but paper thin and there was a thick cut bit of sandwich ham that was briefly fried. It was very tasty, but just not quite right.
By the time I really had to go, the rain has eased a little bit, but was still going to get wet, so I just embraced it. I changed into my swimming shorts in the toilets and set off, leaving Aimi to wait it out, and pay the bill! She wasn’t diving as she just wanted to relax today. We have been “GO GO GO” for several weeks, including the wedding, so she was happy to just sit and read and people watch.
I made it to Mojo as if I’d just climbed out the pool and set about collecting the kit I’d need. The students taking their Open Water diver course turned up, along with my fun dive buddy and we set off, all piled in the back of a pickup truck. For May, June and July the boats are parked on the other side of the island as there is a strong onshore wind and rough seas on the Sairee beach side. So we have to load the kit and drive over the mountain to a bay on the other side, transfer kit to a longtail boat out to deeper water where the larger dive boat is moored.
Today we first dove in Tanote Bay where a huge school of fish has been camped out for a few days. We got straight in and found them almost immediately wafting around, filling the space between the surface and the sea floor. It was a strange sensation to slowly drift towards a solid wall of fish but never quite reach them. They just glide further away, always 2 arms length out of reach. At one point I gave a good couple kicks to try and reach them but they just wafted past me maintaining a safe distance. It was also cool to see that the mass of fish blocked out most of the light from the surface, so it was dark under the school. Later that dive we also saw a blue spotted Ray which was just chilling out on the bottom, and an unpuffed puffer fish.
The next dive was in Hin Wong bay because it had a shallow sandy bit for the students. But it also had a set of rocks in the water that were stacked just clumsily enough to give large gaps that you can swim through. This wasn’t cave diving, but it felt pretty exhilarating having huge rocks perched all around you. I could see the air bubbles tracking up the contours of the rock above me looking for an exit. It was quite tricky manoeuvring in that tight space. I was very conscious of bumping and damaging the air valve or 1st stage regulator on the tank. In the end I settled for slightly negative buoyancy so I touched the floor first if I was a bit uncontrolled. I’m still getting used to controlling buoyancy as it’s been 18 months since I last went diving.
That evening Aimi met me somewhere in the middle of Sairee beach, dressed up very nicely. We decided to follow the recommendation of Andrew, the Canadian instructor, and go to Hippo Burger for some western food. I have to admit, this was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and Aimi agreed. So we didn’t feel bad spending a little more here than if we ate Thai.
Landy even showed up and came and sat with us. He’s been doing the Open Water diver course the last 2 days. It’s quite an intense program and he’s showing signs of fatigue. About half way thru the meal he just got it all packed up and took it in a takeaway box to go. I think he was just dehydrated and tired. Hopefully the good food and a nights rest will sort him out and we will see him tomorrow and celebrate his course success with him.
On the walk back we found an ice cream parlour. I think this might become a routine.