Scuba Diving Customer Experiences - Deb and the Kids

Through Connor's eyes

We are in Phuket and have been for a little bit over a week now. We've found out that you have to be ten or older to become a certified Open Water Diver. Now all four of us are about to start the course and try for the Open Water Diver Certification.

We are using Scuba Cat Diving as our dive center. Located on Patong Beach, it takes us about 25-30 minutes to get there every morning. The course is supposed to take four days, two of which in the classroom and pool, and the other two on the boat and in the ocean diving.

We are to meet our instructors in Patong (west Phuket) every morning for the first two days at 9:00 a.m. From there we go to the classroom, above the Scuba Cat Bar. In the classroom we learned about all of the equipment and buoyancy control, along with how to identify the different diving sicknesses/ illnesses and how to prevent and cure them. We also learned the dive tables and all the other stuff.

Now we moved to the pool for the first confined water dive. We learned how to assemble and disassemble all the equipment, and then did it a few times ourselves. Then we floated the gear in the pool with the stage two (or regulator [the thing you breath out of]) on the side of the pool so that the BCD (Buoyancy Control Devise) and the tank wouldnít float away. After that we suited up and got into the pool.

The first breath under water was... WEIRD. Good or bad I donít know, but weird. We all performed our pool skills with our two instructors Sarah and John. And at the end of the pool time, we did ten minutes treading water on the surface (we had to for the swim test). We all did it but what kept Alexa working hard was the Hagaan Daz ice cream at the end. Iím just joking (but we did get ice cream)!

Day 2:

Yesterday we completed the classroom with a bit of effort, but came out fine. Today we had a new pool for the confined water dive. Like yesterday, we assembled the equipment, but this time not taking it apart and putting it together over and over again. We suited up into our wet suits and BCD, and then hopped into the pool. Burrrrrr. The water was freezing.

Ten minutes after entering the water, I rose to the surface. I quit. I was cold, uncomfortable in the water, and scuba is supposed to be fun. Yes sir, I quit. I undid my equipment and put it in the plastic box with my name on it. I sat in a corner of the pool for the next three or four hours staring out into the middle of nowhere.

After Alexa had finished for the day, Sarah came up to me. She said that the course was going to be extended a day, so the boat would be the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow, on the other hand, Alexa was going to be dropped off at Scuba Cat, and finish off all of the confined water skills. Mom, Dad and Grammy were going to walk the beach and shop along the way.

Sarah wanted me to join her and Alexa in the pool, and finish the confined water skills, and take another go at the Open Water Diver Certification. She left a door open to picking whom I wanted to go with. I said that Iíd think about it. I asked her if sheíd bring four wet suits. Two suits for Alexa, and two for me. Two because the wet suits were anything but fitting snugly. My wetsuit was more like an elephantís skin on a mouse. OK, maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but you get the point.

I did it. I got the certification, and the pool skills were finished. I over come the biggest challenge in my ten years, all thanks to Sarah Kench. But let's re-wind a little bit.

That third pool day was great. Sarah brought the wet suits. She looked relived that I came back and re-joined. We covered all the remaining skills that day, and had a nice Starbuckís sandwich and tea for lunch. Now let's get into the ocean and go see some FISHEES!

The next two days we met at Chalong Bay Pier, south Phuket. We from there were to get onto a Scuba Cat boat to Racha Yai and Racha Noi islands.

When we got onto the boat, we immediately took off our shoes, because in Thailand it is rude to walk in someoneís house with shoes on. We got a quick briefing about the boat from the Thai staff, and then set up our gear before the tide got rough. Then we went upstairs to the roof top area, and sat down looking out at the two distant islands of Racha Yai and Racha Noi. The water was turquoise blue. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Life! The first day we were in Racha Yai only. We entered the water using the Giant Stride jump, which is like a big step.

It was awesome to look under the water and see fishes swimming below. In the water there were little jellyfish bits that fish had puked or spat out after eating. They stung like sand in an eye.

My favorite overall dive site was Racha Noiís Banana Bay. There were tons and tons of coral and schools of fish swimming feet from your face. There were banner fish, parrotfish, moray eels, and some small silver fish I couldnít get my eye off. One fish was black with a metallic blue head, and others were striped vertically with black and white. I call those criminal-fish. WOW!

It was a good thing I didn't quit. I didnít think I was going to get a Scuba Qualification this trip, let alone in the next few years, but what do I know? I got it! Not bad for a kid who couldn't pass swim level one a few months ago. Special thanks to Sarah (for everything), my family (for motivation), and Me (for pushing through, not quitting, and decision making). Long Live Scuba Cat!

story by Connor

Through Alexa's eyes

Before we even got to Phuket our parents knew they were going to learn how to Scuba Dive. My brother and I, only ten and eleven would have to stick to snorkeling. Little did I know just four days after we arrived in Phuket I would start my diving course.

I soon found out Scuba diving is more then doing things like clearing your regulator underwater. It is work and if you read slowly you are in for some long nights reading the manual. The first two days we spent reading the scuba manual, watching videos, taking tests and practicing in the pool. Itís a tradeoff for all the fun you have on the dives in the ocean. The class makes you more comfortable with the skills so you know what to expect in the pool.

Even though you do some diving in the pool before you do the real thing itís nothing like the ocean. I know, I know everybody says the same thing but it is true. In good and bad ways itís true. You canít come up during the dive unless itís an emergency and you get salt in your eyes. Itís just another thing to get used to. Itís well worth it though because of the fish and the coral.

Diving in the ocean is breathtaking, especially in Banana Bay and Scuba Cat Bay (thatís their made up names for them). On my first dive I thought I would get nervous but once you get down there and see the fish you forget everything and just want to explore. If I could talk underwater I would say "Wow" every half a second it is amazing.

My instructor, Sarah Kench was a huge help with all of my challenges. My biggest challenge was taking off my mask underwater and clearing it. After I finally got it, we did front flips under water in all our scuba gear and she gave me a big hug. Sarah is great and very patient. Thanks to her I am now a certified open water diver. I donít think I could have done it without her. Even though I can only go twelve meters (its deeper then it sounds) it was well worth it. Learning at Scuba Cat was great and they have made the underwater world an amazing place. Iím counting down the days until I can dive again.

by Alexa