Koh Tao, Thailand – Scuba Diving Certification

Another bucket list item crossed off the list; Scuba Diving!!

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’ve always heard it is cool, something everyone should try, on people’s bucket list, etc. But I am here to tell you it’s SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!! It is truly another world that I could not have ever imagined. Going to space seems like the coolest thing ever but I imagine going Scuba Diving gives it a good run for your money.

I arrived in Koh Tao, Thailand after a ferry ride from Koh Samui at night Monday August 7th. I grab a taxi and head to Scuba Junction, where I intend on taking my Open Water course. They give me a key to my own apartment and one of the Canadian Scuba instructors grabs my bag and shows me my room! I lay my backpack down and jump in the big (hard) bed and starfish out! Not very often I get a bed to myself by myself. So when I do it is only right that I spread out covering every inch of that bed!! After I head down to the recommended local Thai restaurant and grab myself dinner and go to sleep to get ready for my next 4 days getting certified as a scuba diver!!

Tuesday – Day 1
I have time to kill because orientation doesn’t begin until 4:00. I sleep in a little and did an at home workout (Tone It Up, literally they’re the best!), walked around town and had lunch. I had to head back to the main office and pay for my apartment and Scuba class (I’ll go over pricing in details at the end!) I got to meet my Scuba instructor who was from Canada, Cameron. I told him my place didn’t have any toilet paper so he went and snagged some for me. Nothing like letting someone you just met that you are in need of some TP haha. 4:00 we do introductions with the group. It is me, Cameron (the instructor from Canada), Lorraine (from Switzerland) and Mike (from Boston). Every one is single in this class which is honestly what I was hoping for! I didn’t want to feel like a third wheel for 4 days. We watched three videos and finished just in time for the sunset. I went and found a nice little area, ordered some hummus and a glass of wine! Walked around town a bit and then back to my apartment to sleep and get ready for tomorrow!

Wednesday – Day 2
I had an awesome breakfast beach front. Head to the Scuba shop and we jumped right in. We go over the material and take a quiz covering the videos we watched yesterday. I got in trouble for being on my phone hahaha. Which was really embarrassing because Cameron is 23 and I am 28. But I really did need to put it down. The material we were learning was pretty extensive. I didn’t realize how much math and physics go into diving! After we get released for lunch. I grab a quick healthy meal and workout during our break. Around 1:00 we head to the pool to begin practicing breathing and different exercises. What I loved about Scuba Junction, the company I chose, is you do everything yourself. From cleaning and setting up equipment. After my certification I am technically allowed to go dive anywhere in the world without any guide. Just a “buddy”. So this was really helpful to learn. In the videos we watched they said that taking your first breath underwater is something you will always remember. As if it is your first kiss or something? Strong negative for me. I was slightly TRIPPIN. I’m under water and my natural reaction is to get TF up. But I am still breathing?! At first I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, but I was breathing? Very weird for me. As we continued our breathing exercises I started to feel so much more calm. We ended the day with our last videos we had to watch. Than Mike, Lorraine and I went out for dinner. Had a great view for sunset and I had some wine. We watched a fire show and ordered random fruits off the street to try. Afterwards headed back to our places to get ready for our first actual dive in the ocean in the morning!!!

Thursday – Day 3
EEEKKK today is the day. We go over the last videos we watched and quizzes. During our class, which was totally set up 90’s style desk, I could feel my hands getting clammy and heart racing. Unfortunately through my life since college I have suffered from anxiety. There have been times where it was over powering and times self induced (Sunday Scaries) but since I’ve been traveling all of that has gone away. (Go figure lmao) But nonetheless this is NOT something just in your head or something you can just shake off. But there are lots of things you can do to try and calm your nerves. So I asked my instructor if I could take anything to help and he said no. And I’m so glad I didn’t. Because y’all, once I had my Scuba gear on, picked up my right fin dangling over the clear blue ocean and jumped in I was the happiest little Scuba girl alive. Our first two dives we went 11-12 meters. I saw so many fish. We did a lot more exercises underwater, like running out of air, water in your goggles, neutral buoyancy, swimming with our compass. It was magical!! That night Lorraine and I went for dinner. Then we hit town, grabbed some drinks and shopped around. She hadn’t had mango and sticky rice yet (which is my FAV) so we shared that and then went to bed. We had to be ready at 6:45AM for our 18 meter dives!!

Friday – Day 4
Final day!!! This was my favorite. We still had a few skills to practice but for the most part this was just a fun dive. Lorraine, Mike and myself guided our own dives. We used our underwater computers to monitor our NDL and monitored our own returns. Including monitoring our own air without our guide asking us. We also saw so many fish!!! Like, angel, butterfly, banner, parrot, emperor, golden thevally, red breasted wrasse, trigger, sea urchins and my FAV Christmas tree worms! After we finished everything, our exams and all our skills we are now officially certified open water divers!! We met back up as a group at 6. Cam showed up with beers as we watched the sunset. Than had amazing dinner at this duck restaurant. We were able to recap about our time and log everything in our Dive Books. I WILL be back at some point and am highly considering getting my advanced open water license! (That is 30 meters!!!!!) Thinking maybe in Indonesia?!

Details:
Company – Scuba Junction
Location – Koh Tao, Thailand
Instructor – Cameron Scott
4 day open water course – $330USD
Accommodation at SB Cabana:
No course night – $18USD
Course night – $12USD
Average cost of meal plus drink -$4-6USD

At the end of the day I highly recommend Scuba Junction. Your group will be no more than 4 people. They are the “rule followers” but I don’t know about y’all, but I like my life. I want to keep it that way 🙂 Cameron is a great instructor. He does not judge. He is excited and encouraging. Also, patient! He knows we spent good money to do this and he wants to ensure you go at YOUR pace.

Thank you Cam and Scuba Junction!!

Xoxox, Rachel

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Sunset view from Koh Samui to Koh Tao

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One of my fav dishes! First dinner on the island

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Day 1

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Fresh and yummy lunch!

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Hummus and vino

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My favorite things in one picture

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Me, Mike, Lorraine Day 2
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Love this fruit!

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Mike!

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Lorraine and I (my buddy!)
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Camron our Scuba Instructor

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YUMMY DUCK!

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