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writer Carolyn Drebin rescinded all fears and excuses.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.
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.
monsters wait for their next meal...
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.
surrounded by tiny sparks of light...
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!
felt empowered, unbeatable...
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.
a night-dive convert...
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.
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
to start? ...
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.
is a copy of an ad that appears in our Journeywoman classifieds.
We thought it would interest readers of this article...
Scuba is an
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