As we came in from our second dive the sky grew dark with clouds and the wind picked up. It looked like a hell of a storm was brewing, but Mario seemed confident it would pass before our night dive that evening. It didn't. And to my surprise and horror (which I hid pretty well behind my facade of excitement) we readied ourselves for the night dive anyway. Really, I was very excited, and I knew it would be peaceful under the water, no matter what it looked like on the surface, but the ride to and from the dive site terrified me. Mario handed out pills for the sea sickness we were bound to feel, which I foolishly didn't take because I had no water with me. Bad call. By the time we arrived at our dive site, battling 6 foot swells all the way, I was in bad shape. I knew I had to get into the water to get rid of the pit growing in my stomach, so as soon as we were anchored I threw on my equipment in record time, asked Stephan to quickly buddy check me and into the wild waters I went. Again, bad call. Now I was in the water bobbing up and down the swells, in the dark and alone, while the rest of my group was still getting themselves ready on the boat. And the motion of riding the waves at the surface was just barely better than being on the boat. So I played the waiting game, and tried to suppress the terror I was feeling at being alone, in the dark, in rough seas. When everyone joined me and we finally started to descend I could not be more relieved. Who would have thought that I would be more at ease under the water then above it?!
The night dive was everything I thought it would be and more. Everything is pitch black, except for the cylinder of light cast by our flash lights. A simple flick of the wrist would illuminate a world you had no idea existed only moments before. Giant barracuda swim right beside you waiting eagerly for you to reveal to them an easy meal. When your light reflects off of an unsuspecting fish he shoots in for the kill. At one point we all turned off our lights and watched at the plankton shine like millions of little fireflies at our every movement. That moment was breathtaking; a magical experience and something I will never forget. Every part of that dive was spectacular and I never wanted it to end. But, end it did, and the storm was waiting for us at the surface. The entire way back to shore, I starred into the dark horizon, with visions of glowing plankton dancing in my head, keeping me from vomiting all over the ship. I was glad to finally be on solid land.
The next day we were able to choose 2 elective dives, the first was a wreck dive and the final dive would be back at Twin Peaks for underwater photography. I received an underwater camera for both dives. The wreck was purposely sunk as a dive site but it was pretty cool regardless and a great photo opt. Mario, who is an accomplished underwater photographer himself gave us great tips on how to get the best underwater shots, and my particular favorite was macro shots. On the final dive Mario and Stephan never even entered the water. We were paired up in buddy teams and given compasses and a computer and set off on our own. This is when I discovered that, wait, I really do know how to navigate. I got myself and my buddy all around the dive site, and we even found Nemo!
This entire experience has been more amazing then I even dreamed, and I am totally hooked on diving! I am already looking for some cool dive sites in Bali, and cannot wait until I get to Australia - Great Barrier Reef here I come!
I cannot thank Mario and Stephan enough for their guidance on this journey, and I would of course highly recommend Ban's Diving Resort to anyone looking to get their diving certification in Thailand.