This blog entry about the events of Monday, February 07, 2005 was originally posted on February 12, 2005.

DAY 478:  “The worst day of diving is better than the best day of working,” was the saying silk-screened onto a t-shirt that I saw some guy wearing that morning.  We were on a boat off the coast of Ao Nang at the beginning of a three-dive day that was sure to be better than one sitting at a desk in a corporate cube farm, indeed.

All the dive shops in Ao Nang call it “Superday,” the three-dive day that brought divers to two reef walls and an underwater wreck to see the colorful coral and marine life in the Andaman Sea.  This particular “Superday” couldn’t have started any better for the sun was shining and the waters were calm.  On top of that, we were aboard the Petchmanee, a two-level luxury diving yacht with a carpeted bar area, video room (to show off the resident videographer’s daily video), and sun deck. 

“It’s really the best boat that’s out here,” said Marie, Noelle’s dive instructor and my divemaster for Superday.  She would take Noelle on the first of two days in her PADI Advanced Open Water certification course (which I completed in the Red Sea out of Dahab, Egypt).  “The bad news is that Noelle is going to navigate [us],” Marie joked.

THE FIRST DIVE OF THE DAY was one I was really looking forward to, for it was to be my first dive exploring a wreck, the “King Cruiser,” a former passenger ferry that couldn’t exactly continue its service since it now laid at the bottom of the ocean floor.  Sunk most likely for insurance reasons in 1997, the boat that used to hold people above water was now an artificial reef that held an ecosystem of marine life, from angelfish, trumpet fish, nudibranches, and lionfish.  Less obviously seen were the scorpion fish that almost perfectly blended in the gray coral growth on the metal of the ship — we had to be wary of them if we need to hold onto or push off the wall. 

For Noelle it was her Advanced Open Water “wreck dive,” and for me it was just a leisurely dive in and around the ship.  I was thoroughly amazed with it all, seeing the “caves” formed from the former halls of the vessel, many filled with huge schools of fish.  When our tanks read 60 bar on the gauges, Noelle led Marie and me back to where we first arrived at the ship, over by the toilets that went down without the captain.

THE SECOND DIVE WAS AT “KOH DOC MAI,” a reef wall dive around a limestone peak that started at the ocean floor and protruded up out from the surface (picture above).  For Noelle it would be her Advanced Open Water “multi-level dive” and for me it would be a really nice drift dive, for the current was really strong and swept me conveniently in the right direction along the wall, as planned by Marie.  It was sort of hard to keep from moving on with the current, but I managed to swim against the current when needed be, to see the unique marine life of this second dive of “Superday”:  boxfish, moray eels, lobsters, and little cleaning shrimp cleaning the particles off one diver’s hand.  All the usual tropical fish were there too, but one rare one really wowed Marie; for the first time in all of her diving career, she had seen a ghost pipefish, a rare relative to the seahorse.

“NOELLE HAS TO [DO WORK] while the two of us just get to relax,” Marie joked in reference to our third and final dive of Superday, which happened after our lunchtime surface interval of chicken and rice.  Noelle’s “work” was nowhere near the corporate cube farm variety, but was to use an underwater pencil and board to record the names of marine life for her Advanced Open Water “naturalist dive,” a sort of scavenger hunt thought up by the people at PADI.  This happened at a dive site called “Shark Point,” which contrary to its name, had no sharks and therefore were not on Noelle’s list of things. 

While Noelle was busy doing “work,” I leisurely swam around the spectacular reef feeling quite confident in my diving.  No longer was I thinking about my buoyancy or my breathing; they had become second nature to me from my “advanced” experience, and I could really just enjoy the dive.  There wasn’t much I hadn’t seen before though, so I sort of spaced out at 17 meteres below sea level.  I entertained myself by giving the finger to the friendly creatures of the sea, the same ones Noelle was writing down the names of.

Oh, hello Mr. Eel!  Bite on this!  (Middle finger here.)  And hello Mr. Trumpet Fish!  You’re an asshole!  (Middle finger here.)  Hi there Mr. Grouper!  Lovely weather we’re having, huh?  What?  Well, fuck you too, buddy!  (Middle finger here.)

I was thoroughly amused underwater.

Marie did point out something that made the dive a bit more special for me:  a school of about a dozen squid above us — something I hadn’t seen before — swimming with their pulsating tentacles.  It was arguably one of the more amazing sites I’d seen on all of my dives, and I was already up to 31. 

BY SUNDOWN, WE WERE HEADED BACK to Ao Nang after a truly “Superday” that lived up to its name.  All three dives were great, even that third dive of the day; if it weren’t for those squid, my thirty-first overall dive might have been one of my more mediocre ones, but as that guy’s shirt said, it still would have been better than the best day of work.


Next entry: Searching For A Third Nipple

Previous entry: Hit And Miss

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Comments for “Superday”

  • As you can see, my navigation skills are quite good - I returned Erik to the boat, so he could keep up with the blog…

    It WAS work writing down all the names of the damn fish that Erik was giving the finger to - meanie!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/12  at  04:33 AM

  • Somebody needs a hair cut. You’re looking like quite the beach bum Erik!

    Hey if Noelle is sitting next to you, her post doesn’t *really* count. That makes me FIRST!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/12  at  04:16 PM

  • CHRISTY:  As stated before, I’m DAYS behind and Noelle has seen left “The Trinidad Show.”  She DID get first… we are a whole time zone away from each other already. 

    (Shame on me for being behind!)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/12  at  10:21 PM

  • dude, why are you dissin’ on the cube farm?....oh wait, i have some TPS reports to fill out….brb

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  12:12 PM

  • wahaha. nice job flicking off the sea creatures. makes good practice for when you get back to nyc. you’ll have the fastest middle finger in the east coast.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  02:25 PM

  • flippin the bird underwater rocks!  f those little fishies…....  f those fishes on land too…you all know who you are…haha…KEK

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/13  at  09:08 PM

  • I’m serious about SCUBA now… I have to do it when I leave my cube on the farm.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/14  at  12:28 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.

Next entry:
Searching For A Third Nipple

Previous entry:
Hit And Miss


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