Learning to Dive in Koh Lanta – The Return of the Scuba Students

After 3 full days of resting we returned to our Open Water dive course. Alex was feeling much better and we were eager to finish our first diving qualification.

We returned to our first dive location, Koh Bida, and equipped with compass and dive computer we practiced  underwater navigation.  Whilst exploring the surrounding terrain we came a cross a massive school of juvenile one-spotted snapper fish, powder blue surgeon fish (aka ‘Dori’ for all ‘Finding Nemo’ fans), emperor and blue ring angler fish, masked and white spotted puffer fish and many more. The highlight was a black-tip reef shark which calmly passed us.

Alex and I learning about underwater navigation with a compass

Out of the water, snack, little break and before we knew it we’re called to get ready for our final dive (as part of the PADI Open Water qualification a student must complete 4 dives). This was purely a ‘fun dive’, i.e. didn’t  include any tasks or exercises but was purely just ‘fun’.

Us before our 3 dive

And fun it was. This dive was spectacular. We met our familiar school of juvenile snappers for a second time and swam with them, almost as if we were part of the shoal. Others joined in too and didn’t seem to think much of us odd creatures. Soon, to the dismay of the young snappers, a group of big golden trevallies arrived and turned the calm sea into a frantic eating-frenzy.

Swimming around a small rock island island we then spotted a titan trigger fish, so-called for being the size of a 4 year old child. To our delight we spotted another black-tip reef shark (or was it just the same one?), a shell-camouflaged scorpion fish, a majestic hawksbill turtle and a little hooded cuttlefish family, mom and her little offspring hovering together.

It was glorious. We both felt much more confident in the water, didn’t float up or down uncontrollably and could truly relax and enjoy the experience.

But pictures always speak better than words so see for yourself:
(All pictures were taken by the on-board photographer James Hoyland)

After successfully ‘graduating’ from the Open Water course without any further medical issues we decided to continue with the Advanced Open Water course. This gave us 6 additional dives (only 5 were mandatory) and helped us gain further dive skills and increase our confidence under water. We managed to visit some other dive sites such as Ko Haa and, allegedly one of the world’s best dive spots, Hin Daeng.

All in all we had a fantastic time and definitely want to make diving one of the focal points during our year long adventure.

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