We woke up early to get a good breakfast in before our boat ride to Koh Rong Samloem at 730. After stowing our bikes and gear at the dive shop owner’s house, we were driven to the dock with 7 other people. We were informed we would be on the “little boat” and the ride to the island would be about 2 hours.
While docked, the boat was rocking a lot. I went ahead and preemptively took the anti-seasick pills that Andy, the dive instructor, was passing around. I hoped I would feel better once we got moving. Wrong. I managed to keep it together until the last half hour of the ride. There was an Australian guy who kept his head between his legs the entire time, but managed to save his breakfast. I was the only person to puke, and Laura, a dive master, was teasing me about a memorable birthday and at least I wasn’t hungover.
Once we got off the boat, everything was good again and it was time to start. First up, a physical. Swim 200m and tread water for 10 minutes. Not too hard, but the surf was pretty big even in the protected bay. Both Chandler and I swallowed some seawater with the big waves hitting us. Next, snorkeling techniques. I really didn’t enjoy the morning, because the water was all stirred up from the waves and you couldn’t see anything.
After lunch, the water was a little calmer. We spent the afternoon learning how the SCUBA equipment works and going over skills in the water. Skills included retrieving your regulator, clearing your mask, hovering on the bottom and communicating underwater.
The next two days were spent diving. One dive before lunch, one dive after lunch. It was amazing! The water was clear and the waves were never as bad as the ride over to the island. Our dive instructor, Greg, was an excellent teacher and pointed out anything interesting, including a sting ray, barracuda and scorpion fish. I do think he got some sick pleasure from torturing us with the full mask clear. This is where you have to fill up your facemask with water, then clear it out by exhaling through your nose. We found it was really hard to not breathe in through our nose when it’s not really an option, like when you are 8 meters under water.
The owner joined us on our last dive and brought her camera along! Ha, Proof. In the end, we are now open water certified and came dive down to 18m. And, I didn’t puke on the ride back to Sihanoukville. We had a fantastic time diving and relaxing on the quiet island.