Last December I traveled to Koh Nang Yuan in Thailand, a tiny island that sits beside the larger, more well-known Koh Tao. My girlfriend, Tara, and I decided to enroll in an Open Water Scuba Diving course. Now, after the fact, I can admit to you that I did it to impress the girl and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Eventually, when I discovered that there would be a tank of air strapped to my back and clear and present dangers from descending into the sea, I thought, “What did I get myself into?” Sucking up the courage, or maybe just enough to save my ego, I took the plunge.
You know that moment when someone sees that you have a tattoo and they always ask, “Did it hurt?” I’ve witnessed enough of these scenarios to say that almost everyone says, “No, it wasn’t that bad. I kind of even enjoyed it. ” Okay, well this woman has tattoos and when people direct that question at me the answer is always, “Hell yes it hurt! They took an electric needle to my ankle bone.” So naturally I am going to tell you that once debriefed on all the ways you can die and whatever-you-do, don’t-do-this speeches, it is terrifying initially. Adrenaline courses through your veins, your chest tightens a little, your heart speeds up quickly right before you descend, and I tend to let out a squeal of anxious excitement before going down. My instructors will all know this moment well as I float on the surface in the middle of the ocean, they ask if I’m ready and I say, “Jai yen yen. Just give me a minute. “
By the time I completed my Open Water certification I was thoroughly hooked while Tara was ready to part ways with the mini panic attacks she incurred underwater.
This April, when Thai schools closed for summer vacation, I had the wonderful pleasure of showing my parents my life in the Peace Corps and the Land of Smiles. Their first mention of a beach and I booked a fan room at Koh Nang Yuan in hopes of diving again. Later that week I began an Advanced Open Water Scuba certification with my instructor, Marc Anop, and a new friend from South Africa, Tiaan. I chose Underwater Photography as one of my courses, seeing as on land you can’t pry a camera out of my hand. The following images are the result of my first photography session with the sea. Isn’t she a beauty?
Click on the images for a larger view.
Stay tuned for more posts on my adventures with Scuba Diving. We’ve just begun a long affair together. Thankfully the lady is okay sipping cold beverages on the beach while I make love to the sea.