Koh Lanta is pretty much shut down for the low season, however the water is still 30 degrees Celsius the sun shining and I managed to find a dive trip leaving today at 7.45am to one of the small uninhabited islands off of Koh Lanta. The island was called Koh Ha and had a very clear lagoon so I took my video camera in its housing and decided to get a few close up shots of the wonderful coral and sea life. At one point I came a bit to close to a black and white banded sea snake and managed to catch it on film. I do not like poisonous snakes, and for some reason recently I have been seeing lots of them flattened out as a result of them crossing the roads in the wrong places at the wrong times.
Technical note 1., the white balance on the video camera is a nightmare to set correctly because the water on the correct setting is deep blue and so is the coral and so are the fish.. a few experiments and I managed to get a white balance setting the worked well underwater but not at all above, it turned the sky and clouds red.. I think the sea messes with the red light rays on the RGB spectrum. (note to self; set white balance reading on the water surface)
Technical note 2., I was on a trip with 4 people taking various stages in their PADI openwater training. I was tagging along with a mask and snorkel and they were diving to depths between 18 and 26 meters. Since watching the Big Blue about 15 years ago a film about free diving I have always been fascinated by this activity. I have found whilst surfing large waves that one needs to be able to relax and hold their breath for sometimes a lot longer than desired when being held down in the exploding white water. However it is not how long you can hold your breath, rather how long you can stay underwater once you have had the wind knocked out of you on the way over, in and down.
Presently I am feeling fitter after surfing for 6 months solid and was curious to see how deep I could go on one breathe with fins, mask and snorkel so I borrowed one of the divers depth gauge wrist watches and swam to the deepest part of the sea I could find not too far from the boat. I managed 15.5/ 16metres on one lung full approx 45-50ft. This was pretty fun and I definitely felt slightly addicted to the idea of trying to get deeper each time. However this was the deepest part of the sea without swimming a lot further away from the boats anchoring. Because I was excited about having a depth guage for the first time I felt as though I wasnt really relaxed enough to freedive deeper safely. !6 metres and I definitely felt at the finite edge of sensible safe practice as I felt my lungs go into small spasms on the way back up, I ve also had a headache all afternoon.
So with practice I would like to try again one day, 20 metres I think is an achievable goal..
Technical Note 3. New dive masks have plastic coating on the inner lens surface and this means they always fog up even with lots of saliva or anti fog. I have been informed white toothpaste left over night on the surface dissolves this. I didnt do this and it fogged up all the time, this was driving me nuts..
Technical Note 4. Ewa Marine Underwater camera housings, I have a soft case for my Sony vx2100e made by this company, it is such a pain in the arse to use and not at all user friendly regarding the controls and on and off rec button. The camera slides about inside the bag and it really feels low tech and irritating to use, I feel it was also way overpriced for the small low tech piece of vinyl and bag clamp it amounts to. However the alternative was a 10kg hard housing which is no good either for traveling and also more costly so I am in mixed mines about underwater filming and photography and whether I want to do it. A humbling experience seeing how poor my filming was today upon playback, a few usable clips but mainly pretty bad so I have decided to blame my tools, or at least 85%!
Family stuff, I have been hanging out with my brother, his wife Moon and his daughter Kaliana. Also my sister natalie and her boyfriend Ian. This is the first time we have seen each other as a group for over ten years so I know its a positive time for us as a family.
Michelle left yesterday to go on her path as a English teacher in a Muslim school in Ranong. Admin wise as a result of internet access I managed to book a flight back to Bangkok for 17th June (Airasia.com) super affordable lots of promo deals. I have heard from two of my friends from Bristol UK Tim and Dan that they will be in Bangkok on the 20th.. So I moved my flight to be there for this. If they get there way this could get very debauched and messy so I am preparing my self control and self discipline muscles for the 3 days I will meet up with them..should be fun I am looking forward to it.
Little thieves on the Island drained all the fuel out of my moped the other night, this never happened in Bali in 6 month a Hindu community with a foundation based on Karma. Koh Lanta is a muslim based island, the prices are doubled in the low season and I am over charged every day by the locals for most purchases, except in 7/11.
So I reluctantly admit a score point to Industrialisation for bar codes and price regulation for all consumers, Predjudice segregation and racism sucks and it feels especially bad being seen as a walking dollar sign which is how I have felt amongst the shop owners here. So 7/11 for the next few days, the air con in 7/11 makes you want to go their just to stand in the shop…..