Once I was in the water, my sea sickness dissipated, along with my nerves. As we swam around the coral reefs, I felt like I was in The Life Aquatic, a whole little world I had never seen up close underwater. On that first dive I saw two eels and a little blue spotted ray, and I would go on to see pufferfish, scribble fish and more. Even more than the creatures, though, I was impressed by the coral. When I looked around it seemed like huge mountains pushed up all around me, creating an eerie and beautiful landscape. I often found myself staring a little too long at baby fish or pieces of soft coral blowing about, only to look up and kick like a madwoman to get back to our own little school of people-fish.
My favorite part of my entire underwater experience were the schools of big gray fish that hung out under the pier. There seemed to be hundreds, thousands of them, and there wasn’t really ever one fish. They moved as a unit, and swimming through them was like parting the sea. I’ve never felt anything like it.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier that I decided to get certified. I learned something new, I expanded my opportunities for future travel, and I conquered one of my biggest fears. Now all thats left is spiders and empty parking garages at nighttime. I think I can live with those two.
*Note to future travelers: Choosing to learn to dive at View Rock was an unusual choice. Most tourists go with a larger dive school on the more populous west side of the island. I’m so glad I strayed from the norm on this one. I got to dive off a longtail, rather than a large boat, do my confined water dives in a bay, rather than a pool, and do my book work on a pavilion overlooking the sea, rather than a classroom. Not to mention I learned in a group of three, a small number compared to what most people learn with on Koh Tao, and paid the bargain price of 8,000 baht, about $240USD. And I lost out on nothing! Your only “roadblock” is literally a roadblock: a bumpy unpaved pickup truck ride to the other side of the island (included in your course) and then walking down what I would estimate is 2.4 million steps down to the dive shop. Well worth it!