48 hours underwater and 8½ hours on it

Are we meant to be this wet?

Are we meant to be this wet?

I was already conscious when Dave brayed on my door shortly after 7am. I grabbed my bags to stow them in the dive shop and we hopped onto another taxi into town. No time for breakfast, and no real room in my tummy for it with all the stuff from the previous night.

We ended up crossing the Bans Boat to get to Sunshine’s own which meant we had it pretty much to ourselves. Only a couple of trainee instructor groups who we’d not see underwater and two of the other guys who were diving separately. One chap almost didn’t make it onto the Bans when his flip-flop gave way as he clambered onto one of the tyres hanging from the side. Four people managed to haul him up before he vanished down between the boats, thankfully.

Your name's not on the list...

Your name's not on the list...

First off, we hit the Japanese Garden. Nearby is a recent wreck, an old dive boat dragged out there less than a year ago. Very little has grown on it as yet, just a thin film of fuzz. It would be interesting to see it again in a year or so.

Surrounding the wreck are many small holes, each of which is guarded by a fish. Hover nearby and you can watch a sizeable shrimp (I guess) run out with clawfuls of rubble that it deposits before scarpering back insode to do more digging. Get too close and the fish backs into the hole to stop as some kind of guard.

Over at the Garden itself, there’s little in the way of large fish life although plenty of coral, anemones, nudibranches and so forth. Dave was “attacked” by a rather tenacious pilot fish that wanted to “clean” the back of his knee until I managed to swish it away.

Coral and fish

Coral and fish

At the end of the dive we got a message to re-submerge right by the boat where the instructor group was. One of them had found some kind of stone fish – very rare and hard to spot with its camoflague. Also rather nasty if you touch it, so they’d had to move the group over a few metres to stay away from it. With Dave’s help, I managed to get some great shots.

After lunch, we dived at White Rock, this time cameraless as my battery had given up the ghost. Again, another hour or so of underwater bliss and plenty of things to see and wiggle my fingers at. Without the camera I concentrated more on my own air use and buoyancy – always useful. This dive saw me go above a total of 48 hours – 2 whole days – spent underwater.

Stone fish

Stone fish

I decided back on board to see about leaving for Kuala Lumpur later the same day. Although I could happily manage another two dives, it would be more expense and my liver was crying for a night off. For 1600 Baht, I got a ticket leaving on the 9pm night boat to Surithanni, then bus from there all the way to KL – arrival 10:30 the following night.

I booked a hostel through Hostelbookers, sorted out my dues, said my goodbyes and took my taxi into town a couple of hours to check in. With my spare time, I popped into Dirty Nallie’s for a pizza and use of the free wi-fi. Where I spotted I had a reply from the hostel saying they were full. Annoying as I’d paid a deposit on the assurance the booking was confirmed. I rebooked elsewhere, did some emails and legged it onto the boat.

"Cosy" is one word

"Cosy" is one word

It’s a “sleeper” boat and gets to the mainland around 5:30am. It’s also rather cosy with each “berth” being a narrow mattress, touching those on either side. On my left was a Canadian girl and to the right was a chap I didn’t speak to. Needless to say, sleeping clothed was the common option! We set off dot on 9pm and by 10:30, the lights had been turned off.

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