So here I was again, Koh Tao. I’ve been here before so I knew my way around a bit better. I got a room in the diver village, which is where a lot of expats stay, or just people staying longer than a few days. Not a very fancy place, but affordable and as before in Egypt, you won’t spend a lot of time there. And as before in Egypt, I did the rounds again with my resume. Made some new friends here and there, and got a bit of work for a few schools. Nothing that much, a little bit of guiding here, a course, maybe 2 there. Helping customers, being present in the diveshops so you can help people with questions also helps. There are a LOT! of diveshops on Koh Tao, but my favorite ones so far are Big Bubble, Alvaro, Dive point, Charm Churee. I also hear good things about others such as Big Blue and Ban’s, but I didn’t dive with them so I can’t say anything about them.
Wasn’t all good. The island life is quite nice, but all the partying that happens is sometimes just too much. Sometimes you just wanna sit down in a couch or lay in a hammock with your girl. That’s not really why I wanted to leave though, plenty of girls on Koh Tao to pick from, some pretty, some ugly. Another reason was that I really wanted to go back to see my friends at Pulau Weh and Siantar. Again, I had a plan initially, which was go to Malaysia, go and dive in the Perhentians and then go to either Siantar or Pulau Weh. Didn’t quite happen that way.
Here’s why: In Bangkok I injured my shoulder. My backpack is very heavy with all my diving equipment and I carry a bunch of books as well. And to put that backpack comfortably on my back I used to lift it high in the air, putting a lot of strain on my left shoulder. One day I was quite tired and I felt pain in my shoulder. I thought it would just heal in a few days, but it didn’t. It took more than 2 months.
It would have been quicker if I didn’t dive. You see, when you dive you breathe air under pressure, and you build up nitrogen in your body. When you go back up, your body has to transport that nitrogen out of your system again. That takes a lot of energy and is one of the reasons why diving is such an intense sport.
Also nitrogen tends to build up in areas that have least resistance, such as joints, thin skin, or recovering tissue.
So this is what happened: I dive 3 days. No pain the first day, a fair amount of pain the second, and the third day sometimes I couldn’t sleep. If I stopped diving, the first day I stopped it hurt enough to keep me awake, the second day it just hurt, and the third day it seemed fine.
I was lucky that this pattern seemed to repeat with work as well (a typical course takes 3 days) 3 days work, 3 days rest.
It was obvious however that I should go to a doctor and find out how to heal that bloody thing. I thought I tore a piece of muscle off, which would have been very bad. When I went to Malaysia again, I went to see a doctor in Penang, and there was some good and bad news. The good news, It was just inflammation of my long bicepshead, which would heal on its own with rest. The bad news: Yes I did miss a muscle in my shoulder, but that was not a recent injury, must have happened when I was much younger. I could “fix” it with surgery, but it would tak at least 9 months before I could use my shoulder again. Wasn’t gonna do that now, so just rest it was.
I found an apartment in Penang, stayed there for over a month, then went to KL for a few days and flew to Bandah Aceh in Indonesia. I was going back to Pulau Weh!