Woohoo! I just finished my advanced PADI certification. It was so horrible…I was forced to enjoy 5 very adventurous dives in beautiful water on the west side of Thailand. Yesterday we did our deep dive to 100ft and a navigation dive which was boring. The deep dive was fun, I was a little nervous about going so deep. If you ascend at the rate that is safe and wont burst your lungs, (18M/minute) it takes almost 2 minutes of swimming straight up to reach the surface from where we were! We felt the beginning of nitrogen narcosis where you start getting euphoric and confident because of all the excess nitrogen in your blood. Its the same as breathing the NO2 at the dentist office…if you stay that deep too long you start doing some loopy things! We were only down about 20 minutes and then moved to about 20 meters for the rest of the dive so I guess I’ll have to wait on the dentist to get high.

This morning we dived a shipwreck…it was huge! About 31 meters down so had a little narcosis again. Partying all last night before the 08:00am dive probably didnt help anything Im sure. The water was cold and there was a strong current. Also, the sea was choppy as hell because of the recent weather. I felt a little sea sick (once again the party probably didnt help) but managed not to barf into my regulator. We went inside the wreck which was cool but didnt go far because its pretty dangerous.

Unfortunately my BCD vest which fills with air to help you float got a huge leak and I fought to stay buoyant the whole dive. Without the vest and wearing a weight belt, you sink like a bloody rock to the bottom so I was kicking the whole time. I used almost all my air by the end of the dive, and finished with 20 BAR which is the lowest Ive ever gone. You usually end with about 50 BAR or so. I actually had to suck harder on the regulator to get air out…a bit disheartening. When we surfaced, the sea was so choppy and I couldnt inflate my vest so my instructor had me drop my weight belt (emergency action) and hold a rope tied to a boat that was bouncing all over the place. It wasnt really “dangerous” but definitely was more than I bargained for and I was exhausted when I reached the boat. On our lunch break, we jumped into the water to snorkel and saw a couple blacktip reef sharks.

Our last dive today was with the personal dive scooters like James bond uses. It has triggers, you squeeze and then hold on because a turbine sends you through the water. Very cool! We found an underwater “obstacle course” of huge concrete blocks that had been sank and you could swim through like a maze…very fun dive. We saw a big leopard shark on the bottom with a fish hook in his mouth still. Tons of baby clown fish that looked like Nemo, a turtle, and gorgeous scenery. It was a perfect visibility dive and my favorite so far.

Now that Im certified and plan to dive on my own without a lot of supervision, Im thinking of picking up a dive computer watch to monitor depth, nitrogen, all those scuba type things. Plus…when Im in a pub and a woman asks me what time it is, and I look at my huge bright yellow watch with loads of buttons and displays…it’s Ooonnnn like donkey kong! (jk)