Posts Tagged ‘snorkel’

Mr. Noddeland, Divemaster

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

So. I have finished my Divemaster training. Paperwork is the only thing separating me from a certification, but there is still one unofficial test to come: The snorkel test… For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, I’ll give a brief description.

There are variations over a theme, with quizzes, obstacle courses, competitions and various embarrassing performances, but the central feature of a snorkel test is the snorkel. (of course) With a large audience in a bar on the beach, the budding Divemaster (read: victim) has to put on a mask and snorkel. The snorkel has a funnel attached to the top, and the victim has to drink whatever comes through the snorkel. The “drink” depends on the experiences of the instructors and divemaster friends organizing the event, i.e. how horrible was the concoctions poured down their own throats when they were going through this rite of passage. Some places I know it is pure alcohol, other places it’s just pure evil… Beer, soup, wine, milk, liquor, HP sauce,Ā  syrup, etc. Since the victim is wearing a mask, he cannot breathe through his nose, and with the evil mix being rushed through the snorkel by the weight of what’s in the big funnel, the only to options are to swallow, or spit out the snorkel.

Tonight we are three Divemaster Trainees going through this at the same time, Emma from Sweden, Jukka from Finland and myself. I know that Richard, an assistant instructor, has been brewing some crap on his balcony, made from coconuts, watermelons, sugar and yeast, so I suspect that will feature strongly in the snorkels tonight, probably along with both beer and the infamous Monkey Juice, which is the nickname the local Orang Utan brew has received from the foreigners here.

On a more sober note, I am happy to be done, but a little sad to be leaving soon. I’ve made some good friends here on Pulau Perhentian Kecil, and I’m quite sure I’ll be returning in the future. I might stay around here for a couple of weeks still, in order to get to celebrate my birthday with friends instead of strangers. šŸ™‚ I am also 17 dives short of 100, so I might try to get my 100th dive in on my birthday. šŸ˜‰

June 16, Snorkeling in Shark Bay on Turtle Island

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Koh Tao, the Turtle Island, is not a place you spend a lot of time if you don’t dive or snorkle… šŸ™‚ If you do, however, you can stay here forever. Helena and I have rented scooters here as well, and driven around the island. On Sunday we headed north towards Mango Bay, but turned off the beaten path to find a way down to the only beach on the entire island that is remote enough to not have a resort yet. We wanted to see whether it was possible to go there and spend the night, but we were glad we went without supplies and everything first, because it was VERY difficult to get to, and once we finally got there, the tiny beach was full of broken glass… Not a very nice place to spend the night. It was a nice experience though, climbing through the jungle up and down the steep hills, and over rocks on the waterfront. The ride along the road was also an experience, with inclines so steep that the 125cc scooter was hardly able to pull it’s own weight up, let alone the two of us!

Yesterday we kept looking for beaches to spend a night on, but we had no more luck than the day before, even though we checked most of the beaches on the less travelled east coast. We also decided to buy some snorkling equipment, so we wouldn’t have to keep renting, but both of us had troubles with the masks we bought, as they kept leaking. We returned the masks today, and both of us got new ones that fit better.

Today we went out to Shark Bay, where we were the first evening. We snorkled around for a while, hoping to get a glimpse of a black tipped shark or a sea turtle, but it was all rather depressing. The whole bay has been a big coral reef, but now it’s basically all dead… There were some nice fishes, some colourful corals, and a quite cool car covered in corals šŸ˜‰ on the bottom, but most of the reef was just underwater wasteland.

Other than that, we’ve been spending the evenings lounging by the Eazy Bar on the beach, talking to other travellers and divers, and last night we checked out the night life in Sairee beach, which was greatly exaggerated… I’ve decided against taking my divemaster certificate here, since they no longer offer free courses in exchange for working for a couple of months. There are too few tourists and too many divemasters for that nowadays, so I’ll try in Malaysia. Helena had decided to do her Open Water, but she kicked a rock on the first night, and her big toe hurts too badly to enjoy swimming around with fins on, so she’s also postponing till Malaysia. Since we’re both headed the same way, we might stick together for a while longer, as long as we still enjoy each others’ company.

As I write this, we’re sitting on a beach front balcony that serves as a class room for dive courses earlier in the day, charging our electronic gadgets. For some reason our room, though nice, has no electical sockets, so we can’t get anything charged around there. It’s extremely windy tonight, so unless it calms down by the morning, we might get a rather bumpy boat ride to the mainland…