The joy of scuba

Oct 15 2013, 17:02 IST
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Two of a kind, seem like one in a million.- Red Tailed Butterfly Fish. (Photo: Urvi Singhania) Two of a kind, seem like one in a million.- Red Tailed Butterfly Fish. (Photo: Urvi Singhania)
SummaryFrom price, aesthetics, to the experience, Koh Tao is the place to be.

With bag and baggage, scrip and scrippage the flight to Bangkok from Kolkata is boarded. Reasonably priced – between Rs 9,000-to-Rs 15,000 - the flight is a steal. Another flight from Bangkok to Chumporn and a catamaran ride from Chumporn to Koh Tao for another 2,900 baht transport you to the island, which in every way, is heaven on earth.

The catamaran has an open deck, refreshments and everything else to provide for an enjoyable ride. An upgrade to first class is available to all for an additional 150 baht (one baht equals Rs 1.9). Good lodging at Koh Tao is priced at an average of 3,000-5,000 baht per night. The main purpose of the trip for any diver, is of course the deep sea diving. Post several trials and experiences, I can safely say 'Coral Grand', which is both PADI and SSI affiliated, trumps other diving companies like 'Blue Diving' and 'Big Blue'. Two lovely dives here are priced at 1,800 baht.

A deep breath, eyes tightly shut, hands clutch the weight belt and the regulator as if clinging on to life. A deep plunge and a big splash, followed by hasty resurfacing. This sums up the first few seconds of any diving experience. The vastness and blue hue of the sea coupled with the warm yellow of the sun creates an enthralling, but warm sensation that echoes in the hidden corners of the soul. Floating in the midst of nowhere, there is a serenity that evades us in our everyday lives. The faint chatter of fellow divers goes blissfully ignored as the mind remains rapt in thought.

Deflating the BCD, sinking deeper into the deliciously warm waters, light slowly starts thinning out. The white on the land is replaced by the blue in the waters. Reds, oranges, greens and browns come alive – showcased in the stunning coral and array of exotic sea creatures. Legs thrust forward with ease carry the body as weightlessly as a feather. Exhaustion never takes over, and the drive to move forward keeps the body going - a spirit that should be adopted up on land. Every breath taken underwater is distinctly marked and fully aware, accentuating its vitality. The warm waters embrace you, beckon you, and you follow its call, as if in a trance.

Shoals of fish swim by, out of the 'blue' and you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a

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