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Night Dives in a Bright Pink Bikini


After listening to the countless urgings of SCUBA converts, British writer Carolyn Drebin rescinded all fears and excuses. She completed the PADI Advanced Course in Thailand in spite of all the underwater monsters.

My plea-bargaining begins...

Four dives were already logged into my dive book when the plea-bargaining began. However, the sun set along with my hopes of exemption as Ian, my instructor, and I climbed aboard the tiny boat which would transport me to almost certain early death. I had tried every trick in the book - complaining of pressure, sinus trouble and claustrophobia, suggesting I had decompression sickness - but, alas, to no avail. I wondered if I had perhaps been hasty in my decision to expand my diving horizons beyond mere Open Water certification. But, without this night dive, I could not be certified as an Advanced Diver. The far-off lights of Phra-Nang Bay twinkled and I thought with envy of the landlubbers enjoying themselves on terra firma. As the bile rose in my throat, I wondered how I could have been so cocky earlier on.

Sea monsters wait for their next meal...

We anchored near a jagged promontory of rock and suited up. Ian handed me an oversized flashlight and suggested it would be easier if I did a back roll into the water. Naturally, I complied, being too nervous to do anything but. Yet as I sprang back to the surface of the water, I dreaded to think what lurked below my dangling legs. Although we had dived the same site during the day, I was convinced that the sea had undergone a rapid transformation under the cover of darkness, and was now inhabited by throngs of terrifying, mysterious, carnivorous night-dwellers. No doubt about it, these monsters were waiting for their next meal - a young brunette in an unfashionably bright pink bikini.

I'm surrounded by tiny sparks of light...

Ian was soon beside me, and by the light of our lamps we descended. I scanned the water, hyper-ventilating until we reached the seabed. As pre-arranged, Ian counted to three on his fingers, and we turned out our lights. It was serene, peaceful, quiet. Too quiet! As I waited for some breed of aqua-fiend to interrupt the calm, my eyes adjusted to the darkness. Ian and I began to wave our arms, exposing the bioluminescent effects of the motion-sensitive plankton. We were soon surrounded by tiny sparks of light which promptly pushed any thoughts of sea-monsters to the back of my mind. It was awesome!

I felt empowered, unbeatable...

We switched the lamps back on and began our tour. After 45 minutes of dazed fish bumping into our masks, of spying on Moray eels and watching lobsters enjoying their night life, I was both surprised and dismayed to find Ian giving me the signal for our controlled ascent. I made my way up slowly, finally bursting through the water's surface. I felt empowered, confident, unbeatable! The fear which kept me in its grips by day had transformed itself into a different emotion that night. My adrenaline surged watching the phosphorescent plankton spark at the boat's hull as we headed back to shore.

I'm a night-dive convert...

Till this day, the thought of an awe-inspiring night-dive still sends my pulse racing and my spine tingling. With fears of sea monsters safely behind me, I have now become the unofficial spokesperson of dive-by-night affairs, wholeheartedly encouraging others to discover the real truth about fish and their eyelids.

Scuba-diving sense...

Want to learn how to dive, too? Take lessons only from approved sub-aqua schools and... stay away from any dramatic rise in altitude (including going up mountains) for at least 24 hours after you've been diving. Remember that small inter-island planes aren't pressurized, and even large airlines may depressurize. Be careful! Paralysis can occur!
John Hatt, The Tropical Traveller Penguin Books

Ready to start? ...

Find out about PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water Diver course reputed to be the most widely recognized diving certification in the world. Take a look at their website and discover everything you need to know about this incredible underwater sport. It even has a section on preparing your kiddies for underwater fun with their PADI Bubblemaker program.


Women scuba divers...

This is a copy of an ad that appears in our Journeywoman classifieds. We thought it would interest readers of this article...

Scuba is an exhilarating sport that opens the underwater world to you, provides a very high level of accomplishment, and forms friendships among fellow divers that last forever. Cares and worries are left on the surface, and when you emerge from the ocean your mind is clear and your body relaxed. Swim a mile, grow an inch, and when under water all people are equal. Website: for further information about our many dive destinations and sightseeing add-ons. Contact:





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