diving

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When travel becomes lacklustre

It isn’t often that I feel dissatisfied after a trip, but a recent 5-day one to Khao Lak had wrong written on it from the very start. I’d planned to dive in the Similan Islands, taking advantage of the early diving season, but a sinus-infection (along with a doctor’s warning not to do it) meant that I was on the verge of cancelling the entire trip, only to go ahead the last minute. The hotel I was in was overwhelmingly stocked with Germans; my room had a variety of insects and bees in it and the deck chairs reserved the whole damn day with towels on them, while their owners remained...

A brief excuse for adventure

I never though I’d find myself in Krabi again, but I did. And did so for a few short days filled to the brim with diving and climbing…with some backbreaking, painfully agonising Thai traditional massages in between that left me more bruised than diving or climbing every did. Wanting to do something new each time I dive, I opted to try the PADI digital underwater course with The Dive Ao Nang. The course itself was a disappointment (apart from the bits that taught white balance in the water and the effect of colours at depth) and the dive sites (at Phi Phi) were abysmal with visibility that was no better than...

Taking a load off

Day 3 of diving: Similar to day 2, with the same sort of fish, with more plankton in murky, soupy water that’s so deceptively blue under the sun’s rays. But every time there’s at least some kind of unusual sea creature to make up for it and there were some rays, turtles and large schools of fish that made me gawk. After paying tourist prices for a measly amount of snacks, I turned in desperation to Irish, a lovely Filipina lady running the spa next door for help. Perky, tiny and a social dynamo, Irish simply packs a punch. Having lived in the Maldives since she was 14, Irish has...

The dives so far

Day 2: Sort of jet-lagged and straight into the water A full day of diving after breakfast, to Manta Point and Hule Hule – sites that are about an hour away from Dhigurah. But I’ve learnt the hard way in diving, that the sea life you want to see never shows up as intended; instead, Manta Point was full of fish and coral, memorable only for the very reason that I got stung by a sea anemone when a particularly strong sweep of the current brushed me against its pretty but painful tentacles. I soldiered on and entertained the thought briefly of giving up, until the shouts from nearby boats...

A “true” resort

Day 1: Long and so tedious. But we endured, because at the end of the road is apparently clear aquamarine sea, white sand and paradise unnamed. The flight was uneventful. But the boarding procedure was filled with well-dressed (if not overly so) Koreans, Japanese and Chinese with tons of branded shopping bags and fur coats – someone was even eating a whole cheesecake like a hamburger – , soon to be sweltering under the humid heat of the Maldives. A guy from the Czech republic stood waiting for TC and me, ushered us to the domestic terminal a couple of steps away and said goodbye, presumably to do the same for...

A Thai pocket of paradise

There is a little something for everyone in Thailand, even the Travel Companion (TC) who is known to be finicky at the best and worst of times. Having been to Thailand thrice in the last half this year, I think I’m inclined to understand why. Khao Lak – a small place that’s really a series of villages about 70 km north of Phuket – wasn’t a destination that TC had initially agreed to, but after some form of cajoling, agreed and upon arrival, didn’t find the place too bad at all. A long stretch of highway connects Phuket Airport to Khao Lak and an hour’s drive brought us to The...

What?

3 days in Krabi and that sentiment might just characterise the Travel Companion’s (TC) and my dive experience. The TC had too many questions (mostly unanswered) about buoyancy – an issue that sorted itself out by the second dive day. The poor thing somehow figured it out all on her own after the numerous explanations given by several dive instructors. That, and a rather ‘deaf’ Norwegian man who went ‘Haarh?’ loudly at everything people said to him, before answering in an unintelligible accent. Coupled with a Divemaster in training (from Sweden) who was made the errand boy for all things and still didn’t quite know what to do. We sailed on the...

Manta Point

Along with 2 partying Aussie women, a Belgian who sounds vaguely Russian, a Swede who sounds too much like American TV and an unnamed European who loves Taiwan and Hong Kong, I made a quick trip down Sanur’s Jln Kesumasari and then we were trudging down the beach at low tide to get to the speed boat aptly named ‘Halloween’ given the time of the year. An hour later, we found ourselves at Nusa Penida’s Manta Point under the care of Ethel and Imam and gearing up awkwardly in the cramped space of a speedboat. And then it was a backward-roll and straight into bloody cold waters. “Great idea. Diving in...

Diving Deep into Hot Waters

The weeks leading up to an impulsively booked trip to Bali for Advanced and Rescue/Recovery Diving passed in an anxious blur of respiratory specialist visits, spirometry testing, frights over difficulty breathing and a steady stream of decongestant medication. And all of that for a doctor’s signature on the PADI diving medical form. I packed my bags with trepidation a few days ago and headed off after several sleepless nights and was pleasantly surprised to be the first at a sleepy immigration corner upon arrival. Even the hastily-arranged driver from Putu’s gang of merry men actually turned up a few minutes late – his arrival finally caused the rest of the taxi...