The magic of the undersea world
Now it is time to do something about that scuba dive certificate you promised yourself when you first arrived in Thailand. There is anything but a lack of dive shops in and around Pattaya. You’ll need to take some lessons and pay close attention, then rent your gear, find a boat and get in the water. For under 2,000 Baht you can be in the water in a couple of hours and for the entire day
There is little as alien to humans as the sea from where we evolved. We are born wet and spend the rest of our lives trying to stay dry. We walk upright, expend very little energy getting around and very rarely wonder which direction is up. When you enter Neptune’s kingdom all of that changes. The light takes on a new hue and you are surrounded not only by new rules of physics but also by an abundance of life that operates based on those rules. On land you may be the most agile ballerina but under the sea you are as clumsy as an elephant on ice skates compared to even the most ponderous flounder.
You will be charmed at the creatures that effortlessly glide by. You will be startled by the ones that pop out of nowhere that, until that moment, were indistinguishable from the sea floor itself. And you will, of course, feel dwarfed by the awe-inspiring mammoths that are only able to grow where weight is no longer a restriction.
If there are two things that Pattaya is rich with, the second is the greatest attraction on Earth, literally: The world beneath the sea. But what does the ocean hold for those curious explorers willing to become a fish for a day? This is almost like asking what attractions land holds. And the answer? The answer is that SCUBA diving reveals a never-ending world where every turn holds something you have never seen before. From shipwrecks to whales to the glassy, glowing ceiling of the surface itself every look at the undersea world is a look with newborn eyes.
In Pattaya there are a few different types of dive charters. Private or open, single or multiple days and live-a-board. For the first time-diver, an open, single day trip is the best option. Try the islands just off Pattaya Beach for a fun, quick time. Welcome to a whole new world!
The underwater creatures of Pattaya
These creatures are named for their spots and are some of the best sharks to spot because they won’t run away from you like most other sharks do. That’s right, most sharks are smart enough to be afraid of humans, but the Leopard just doesn’t care. Since they hunt at night and rest during the day you don’t have to fear them, just float on down and get a selfie that your friends will be really, really jealous of.
Cuttlefish can change colours as rapidly as an LED marquee, and just as brightly, making them the perfect mascot for Walking Street. If you want to see some seriously wild light shows, find a group of three and hold up a mirror to one of them. Pick a male and the other two will start flashing like an old school video game boss getting ready to explode. Just be careful. All cuttlefish are poisonous and some species are as deadly as the blue ringed octopus.
These turtles are beloved by the Thai royal family and protected by royal decree. You cannot even legally touch them, not even if they sidle up to you like a cat begging for treats. It’s a shame because for all their awkward hobbling about on land, underwater these floating tanks are the essence of poise, dignity and grace. And their expressive faces look at you almost with sympathy at your ungainly maneuvering.
These beautiful beings are the epitome of the bizarre underwater world, a mixture of dream and nightmare, they look like what a bat wishes it could be. Floating serenely yet somehow sinister, an encounter with these slick leather monsters is not soon forgotten.
By Eli Zwillenberg