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December 29th 2013

28 Dec 2013 ="post-tag" > Written by  ="post-tag" >

open-water-examHere are a couple of questions for those of you coming to Big Blue to do your open water course: question 1- in "time to fly" mode, dive computers report how much time the diver must wait a) before making another dive, b) before flying on an airplane, c) before taking a hot shower, d) before traveling on a boat. Question 2- how do you behave to avoid injuries when diving? a) treat all underwater creatures respectfully, b) answers A and D are correct, c) stroke animals from behind only, d) avoid touching anything. If you answered b and then b, then congratulations, you will pass your exam with flying colours. If you answered c and then c, maybe take up speed walking as a hobby instead. 
A lot of people seem to worry about the open water exam, but they really don't need to. It's 50 questions multiple choice, and by the time you have to do it you will be fully prepared. Your instructor will talk to you about dive theory as part of the course, and you will cover everything that's in the exam. As long as you listen to the instructor and do your homework, you will have no problems whatsoever. 
We do get the odd person that fails, but that's usually because they have either drifted off consistently when they should have been listening, they have a learning difficulty (i'm dyslexic and i write the bloody blog!), or they've been secretly looking at Facebook under the table. 99.99999999% of all people pass with flying colours. If you were to fail, we would put you in the stocks and throw tomatoes at you.. I mean, let you sit the exam again after a little coaching. So you can move on to the next part of the course- diving in the ocean. Alternatively we could take you on the dives and then at the end of the course coach you through the exam. So relax and concentrate on the task at hand- learning how to dive. The theory compliments the practical anyway so most of what you'll learn in the classroom will apply to your dives. Plus you can look forward to the advanced course straight after your open water- 2 days, 5 dives, NO THEORY!

Staying connected
This being the modern age, people are no longer content with traveling to a remote tropical Island and severing all communications for the duration of their trip. there are simply too many tweaking videos to see on YouTube. Asia seems to be years ahead of Europe and America in terms of Internet speeds; Japan has the fastest Internet in the world. Thailand has pretty good Internet in Bangkok, but Koh Tao is a little more "rustic". We have Internet and wifi all over the Island, but the speeds are pretty variable as there are no undersea cables back to the mainland.
If you want decent Internet for your smartphone, you can get a local SIM card to access 3G pretty easily. All you need is an unlocked phone, then you can buy a AIS one-to-call SIM pretty cheap, and buy credit for surfing the web. 7-11 sells them and there are various phones shops where you can ask how to get connected to the Internet. You can also buy a DTAC SIM for 3G on their network, but I found that it just ate my credit.
For good old fashioned phone calls a Thai SIM will serve you well. If you need to call the UK dial 003 before the country code and you'll only be charged 3 baht per minute with one-to-call, but you'll need to check whether the offer still applies after March 2014. It probably works for the rest of europe too but again, worth checking- I just work here!


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