Diving, late late nights and 10 hours on a train

Days 111/112, Tuesday/Wednesday 24/25 April, 2012, Nha Trang

Up early again for a repeat of yesterdays breakfast at Salut and then off to Angel Divers shop for the pickup to the boat. It was a similar group to yesterday so I knew we would have a good day.

There was one other advanced open water diver with the group so I got paired up with Louis for the first dive, which was at Madonna Rock again. We did a deeper dive than yesterday with a more difficult swim through, having to swim down under a shelf and then up through a shute, loads of fun. We also repeated the best swim through from yesterday, Louis was behind me and filmed the swim so I am hoping to get a copy of the clip. We spent a bit of time trying to find a big grouper that lives around the rocks, apparently much bigger than the one we saw yesterday, but to no avail sadly. Visibility at depth is not great which is a bummer.

For the next two dives I was alone with the dive master Michael, a guy from England and an avid Arsenal supporter. He has taken my email address and said he will see if he can hook me up with one of his mates who has corporate season tickets to Arsenals home ground, Emirates stadium, in the new season. Now that would be cool !

The second and third dives were variations of dives from yesterday, with similar sea and coral life to look at. We did come across a massive school of fish that seemed to be doing a swim past a metre from my face, we followed them around for a bit which was fun, but then air was running low so we called it quits.

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Like yesterday the in between dives was spent mucking about in the water, diving and jumping off the boat, pushing people in – it was like being a teenager again, and for me really added to the enjoyment of the day.

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Selfies under water, in a wet suit with no weight belt are not easy.

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Bird nesters homes.

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Once the dive was over and we were back on shore I spent a bit of time cooling down and relaxing in my room before meeting Dave, a diver trainee I hung out with a bit over the past two days for dinner at eight (way too late for me !) . We met at the dive shop and as he was the only diver booked for the dive tomorrow they mutually agreed to have a day off. We had a beer at the shop and went off in search of pizza and more beer.

After pizza we went back to Why Not Bar – one of the two big backpacker bars in Nha Trang, we had a couple of drinks and were joined by JC, my dive master from yesterday, who also works part time at the bar. At midnight when JC’s shift finished we moved to another bar with a few of the guys and girls from the dive shop and then back to Why Not at 2.00 AM to watch Chelsea v Barcelona in the Champions League football. I got to bed at 4 am, fortunately I did not drink a huge amount, so was not suffering too badly when I got up !

The bar was interesting, this was my first time in a backpacker bar late in the night, it wasn’t packed at 2.00, but there were quite a few people – the majority of which were pretty drunk. The people watching was fascinating. We assisted one extremely drunk Greek guy who was on his own, completely incoherant and had no idea where he was staying. The dive shop guys were concerned that at closing time the bar staff would just put on the street where he would likely get robbed. Fortunately a couple of girls recognised him from their hostel so we bundled him in a cab and sent him on his way.

It was a good final night in Nha Trang, hanging out with a good bunch of people always makes for a great time.

I woke about 8.00 and tentatively opened one eye after the other, realising my head was not going to fall off I praised myself for the wisdom in drinking beer slowly, though I was up almost all night so there was definitely some wisdom lacking when I made that choice.

I did very little for the morning, went to the dive shop to see if they had the video footage but the camera card reader was not in the shop so I wandered off for breakfast instead and hope that they email me one day.

At 12.00 I checked out and went to the lobby and shared a taxi to the train station. I hung about with an Aussie family at the station until the train arrived forty five minutes late at about 2:15. The ride to Da Nang is approximately ten hours.

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This was my first sleeper car ride so I boarded the train with quiet expectation. I was in a totally different carriage to the Aussies, and after a brief moment of confusion found my bed – number 5.

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I am fortunate in that I have a bottom bunk as I least I can store my pack under the bed. There are only two of us in the room and I am sharing with a middle aged Vietnamese soldier who appears to have no English at this stage. The room is pretty grubby, though we do get a supposedly clean sheet which is a bonus.

My roomie promptly turned his radio on and the lay down and was snoring loudly well before 3.00 – this could be a long ride. I used the laptop (wrote some of this) until the battery died and then kind of mooched for a while with headphones on to drown out the snoring – this would be a feature for most of the next ten hours !

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I heard the snack cart goes past the closed door and nipped out and bought a can of 333 beer and a packet of biscuits, as nothing else really appealed. I shared a few biscuits and a smile with my roomie. At around 6.00 we stopped in a town and got another passenger in the room, he didn’t say much either so it was not going to be a long chatty ride like the one to Nha Trang. My roomie got off the train and came back with a meal of rice, fish and eggs and two cans of beer which he shared with me, very cool. We had an enjoyable meal over our small table, though we did not say much !

After dinner he slept again and I drowned the noise with loud music on mp3 player until we arrived in Da Nang late at 12.45. I took a motorbike taxi to my hotel and had to bang on the locked door to be let in.

About wheresphil

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, now living in London.
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2 Responses to Diving, late late nights and 10 hours on a train

  1. Rob Auffrey says:

    Lookin good Phil! I’ve been keeping up to a degree via FB. What a great adventure. I’m happy for you. PLEASE do look me up when you next come to the Boston area, if ever.
    Rob

    • wheresphil says:

      Hey Rob !

      Nice to hear from you so soon after your hospital visit.

      If promise if I make it to the east cost I will be definately looking you guys, wouldn’t miss the opportunity to hang out again – and maybe do a ride or two !

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