inconsistent news from southeast asia

Thailand-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - March 2006  |  by Matthew Audley

whoops..

Hmm.. where have we been? Well, you know, one day you're walking down the street, minding your own business and then suddenly you fall over and wake up a PADI certified open water scuba diver.

We both really enjoyed doing two "Discover SCUBA" dives, wherein we were basically given some information, practised some skills and then were dragged around by instructors, which did little to diminish all the neat things we saw.

But let's go back a bit.

Phuket town, dusk.

Phuket town, dusk.

Our hotel here continues to have lots of... character. There's a bunch of taxi drivers that play violent, drunken chess downstairs. They yell and sing and chant at each other and slam the pieces down and maniacally tap the board. It's pretty awesome.

Jan. 19th and 20th we went to the beach and did some snorkeling - it's amazing what you can see even just off the beaches here. I wish, I wish, I'd bought the underwater housing for my camera. I even found it here the other day but it costs yet more here. Way too close to the price of the camera. The 20th, of course we went and signed up for our dive on the 21st (got a short snorkel in at Kata Beach, too).

Snorkeling at Surin Beach.

Snorkeling at Surin Beach.

The water really is that colour.  But yes, I edited the picture.

The water really is that colour. But yes, I edited the picture.

Our "discover scuba" dive on the 21st was a lot of fun. I think I covered it above, though. In the morning, we dove off the beach, which was an excellent way to get into it and in the afternoon we took a Longtail out to Koh Pu (Crab Island), where there was a bit more to see.

Lots of lionfish.

Lots of lionfish.

and triggerfish.  Yes, it puffs up. No, we weren't allowed to poke it.

and triggerfish. Yes, it puffs up. No, we weren't allowed to poke it.

Obviously, I loved the scuba diving, since I decided to get certified. (you have to get certified in order to get your hands on any scuba equipment or dive at all, apart from these discovery dives.) Catherine really enjoyed it too, but couldn't justify bothering to get certified and insisted that I should abandon her for the next three days. So i did.

I'm not sure what I can say about the course. That is to say, I'm afraid I might have too much to say. Catherine says she can tell I'm excited about it because I don't shut up about it. Soooo. It was a three-day course, with our discovery dive sort of counting for the first day. My first day out was mostly theory with a sort of quiet Swedish guy. Underwater he was actually a lot more animated and emotive, and we did some fairly basic skills: regulator free flow breathing, air depletion exercises and lots of other things that will mean nothing to anyone that doesn't dive. Some more pictures then!

Here I am testing an alternate regulator.  Note how ridiculously bleached my hair is starting to get.

Here I am testing an alternate regulator. Note how ridiculously bleached my hair is starting to get.

The second day, I transferred to an actual class with three other people. I got paired up with the vaguely dull Frenchman. He's in the background in the picture up there. He wasn't all bad, I'm just not sure I wanted to trust him completely enough to be his diving "buddy". Anyway, we did the rest of the theory that day and got in to some more interesting dives, looking around the reef off Kata Beach a bit.

South reef, Kata Beach.

South reef, Kata Beach.

Catherine occupied herself.  Ask her.

Catherine occupied herself. Ask her.

All kitted up.

All kitted up.

The third day was our final exam and two big, fantastic dives. Unfortunately the colours weren't fantastic, as it was overcast all day, but the visibility was really good and we did two fifty minute dives down to 18m.

My class.  That's me in the upper right.  The hairline makes that clear, no?

My class. That's me in the upper right. The hairline makes that clear, no?

I didn't have a lot of trouble getting through the course, I admit, but I did have a ball and I'm fascinated by diving. There's a ton more to learn and hopefully I'll keep learning and diving. I'll do at least one more dive before we get back - might as well take advantage of the opportunities here.

POoofy poofy poofy hair.

POoofy poofy poofy hair.

Maybe this shots aren't so flattering.   BUT I'M UNDERWATER!

Maybe this shots aren't so flattering. BUT I'M UNDERWATER!

Anenome fish.

Anenome fish.

Some kind of barbs, I think.  We also had a school of small barracuda follow us around for most of our second dive.

Some kind of barbs, I think. We also had a school of small barracuda follow us around for most of our second dive.

In conclusion, diving is awesome. Go try it and then get certified so I have someone to dive with.

On to other things.

On the 25th, we made it to the giant mall here - Central Festival. It was very big and very western and I really wasn't that impressed with the prices, either. Catherine got some swanky shirts that she seemed to think were quite a deal, though. They had a Manchester United store (the football club) and they had one called "Camel Active" that fetishized CANADIANS instead of Americans, for once. Yeah, there was a lot of plaid, but I was still strangely pleased.

Today (Jan. 26), we went to the Phuket Aquarium. Setting myself up for dissapoint there, I know. Anyway, it was pretty neat. Saw some new things: live horseshoe crabs, really bizarre shrimp (mantis shrimp: look it up), electric eels with a volt-metre on the tank, and GIANT grouper. Really, really giant. Like 3 or 4 meters long.

Fish love.

Fish love.

Happy catfish.

Happy catfish.

The small tunnel tank.  Still pretty neat.  They had some small leopard sharks.

The small tunnel tank. Still pretty neat. They had some small leopard sharks.

I'm gonna get these tatoos, i swear it.

I'm gonna get these tatoos, i swear it.

Well, no time to proofread. Later, everyone.

© Matthew Audley, 2005
You are here : Overview Asia Thailand Thailand-Travelogue
The trip
 
Description:
Leaving for bangkok on Sept. 12. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. Hoping to see Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. Be back in six months or so if everything goes well. There really isn't much of a route planned - we'll see what happens.
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Mar 19, 2006
Travelled countries: Thailand
Canada
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Southeastern Asia
Malaysia
The Author
 
Matthew Audley is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
Picture of author