I am now a certified open-water diver! Hooray!
Diving is such a trippy experience. I've always liked swimming (not that I am all that good at it, but I like being in/near water) but being able to stay down under the sea (unda da sea!) for over 40 minutes is truly exhilarating.
In a course of two days, we completed four dives total. On our first day, a lot of what we practiced in the swimming pool had to be repeated on the ocean floor at 10, 12 meters. We learned stuff like how to take off and put back on your masks, how to react when your air supply runs out, how to ascend/descend, etc. but on our second day, we actually got to swim around and look at the marine life below, which included a TON of coral and amazing fishes!
So I have a waterproof camera, but it is only waterproof down to 10 meters. I took my camera on our first dive, hoping that we'd stay somewhere around 10 meter range.. but we ended up going all the way to the bottom at 12 meters. My camera actually got a little water inside (I could see the water spot on the screen) but it didn't break. Thank god! I ended up sneaking a few pictures in, since I was supposed to be learning/practicing skills and not taking pictures as a student. I'm telling you, though, these pictures DO NOT do justice to how beautiful it actually is down there. So many fish i've never seen before, countless varieties of coral exist that you just can't see from regular snorkeling.
sooooo many fishes :D and lots of sea urchin i wanted to pick up and eat.
Needless to say, i'm SO SO glad I decided to take diving lessons. I just hope I can continue diving even when I come back to the states. I'm thinking of getting my advanced diving certification so I can sign up for underwater photography :) who knows? Maybe i'll be able to take pictures of whale sharks someday.
Something else I learned during our dive: apparently clownfish (aka nemo) are extremely rare and must be protected. So we saw a nemo “temple”, where ko tao divers set up rocks to circle off the anemone the nemo family lives in. there were three of them total, a dad, a mom and a TINY baby nemo... soooo freakin cute! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that, since that was at 14 meters deep.
Now, i'm hoping all of my diving talk has sparked an interest in ya'll... I only know like three people who know how to dive, two living overseas, so i'm gonna need some diving buddies. Who's down??
you gotta excuse my pressurized goggle face and crazy bang action... total 'there's something about mary' action goin' on right there!