Under the thumb


What lives under Giels thumb?

The Dive Master Trainee.

Slow & Easy


Dived Racha Yai today, partnered up with Nick for a fun dive. Also I was promoted to assistant tour leader and managed the dive roster checking off everyone as they returned to the boat.

Diving was very relaxed just the way I like it, slow and steady you have the time to look for small stuff, some flatworms on the wreck in scuba cat bay, feeder shrimp, some gold spotted eels and a big Mooray. First nice relaxing dives I had in a while.
Sat the final exam, and did some dive site management the last piece of practical I had to do. Damn multiple choice I answered a few stupidly, mixed up Halderan with Henry and Giel rubbed this question in by making me buy a bottle of coke and explaining decompression sickness again, didn't even drink the damn coke; that's the annoying part!

Giel then proclaimed "OK buddy your a Dive Master." from his mouth it means more than the certificate(insert tears here). Strangely as these things go I feel no different. Relatively speaking I know almost nothing about diving; In the scheme of things my one hundred and thirty dives really add up to very little experience. If Giel is Yoda I am a tall Luke Skywalker leaving Dagobah with not enough training. Have a lot to learn still.
Vig my drinking buddy / partner in crime departs today. Not sure we drank enough as didn't end up in one of these! Yes he started after and finished before me, I am in no hurry!
Gerry was pestering me to take some photo's for her and Giel's resume. I wonder which they will use?
A quote from Vig sums it up pretty well. "The brain can only absorb what the butt can withstand."
Early start 6am pickup for my visa run, all is prearranged. I’m backed into a minibus and transported with a few Ruskies, a yank and a fellow Aussie. The Drive is about 4 hours, uneventful. We arrive at Sapanpla immigration office and are pointed though to a small immigration window next to the pier.  Long tail boats are lined up right behind the window and once stamped as we walk out and uniformed local with a UNICEF bag asks me for my passport. Hell no! Anyway turns out he is part of the visa run service and everyone else is handing passports to him so I feel slightly reassured & begrudgingly hand over my passport.

We are taken onto a dubious little boat a bit bigger than a long tail and once everyone is loaded we strike out across the river for Burma. Not the driest boat I have been on but I am on the downwind side and am saved from the splashes unlike the people on the other side of the boat.

We stop very briefly at a small floating immigration station, when I say floating I use the word loosely. The place is about 2 inches above the waterline at best and the entrance walkway is under about a foot of water. I’m told its high tide.

Next stop Burma another small pier and immigration office and a bunch of locals trying to sell me cheap cigarettes and Viagra. I am literally in Burma for about 10 minutes, got my passport back! I hate letting go of my passport. Then back across the river immigration again and we are on the way home after a quick lunch of fried rice in a surprisingly clean little restaurant.

The whole experience is a bit more fragrant and local than Bangkok and Phuket, if you have been to these or similar tourist destinations like me you have not really seen Thailand yet. Perhaps today I scratched the surface.
For me just classroom stuff today, EFR instructor training. This makes me qualified to train 1st aid and CPR. It’s not half as in depth as past courses I have done in Australia and I can’t help but think I should go back and do a proper course again. It’s been a while.

A very long skill session in the pool with Renee to get my skill demonstrations signed off, Vig and I are in the pool for about 5 hours doing skill after skill. Renee is not the hard task master the Giel is but he does focus on things that he sees are crucial and I can say I was not marked unfairly. I even managed to get a few five out of fives for the skills I had practiced more. Some of the skills I had not seen were mostly minor and I was able to demonstrate all with a passing grade at least. The last few skills Vig and I had a bit of trouble with as he was out of air and my alternate regulator had busted an o-ring demonstrating no air buddy breathing when you are both on empty tanks is a little tricky. Somehow we managed to pull it off.

There is a rescue course going on today in the pool and I am asked to act the victim which I play the panicked drowning victim. Atri the rescue student comes to my rescue and pulls me in, I really thrash around a bit to give him the same experience I had in my rescue course.

People who have done a rescue course will tell you it as the best course they did, fun etc. Truth is its tiring, non-stop but at the end of the day rewarding. Probably when people say fun they mean fun to watch!