When we returned to the top (they will push you up when the time is up), we found only three of us there – our photographer friend was missing! We waited and waited and realized that our whole group of co-passengers was out of the water except him – he couldn’t have got lost since there is no land nearby; you can only get lost underwater but the oxygen tubes won’t let you go too far outside the limit either. After a very long wait of more than 15 minutes he appeared from the water with a big smile on his face.
There was a point in the underwater walk where our photographer friend was behind me and the leader took us dangerously close to the ladder which we had used to step into the water. At this point he thought he had to go up and took the ladder on his own. The guys on top happily pulled him on deck – when he realized no one had returned and he had hardly spent 10 minutes underwater, he checked with the organizers and they sent him back into the water again; this time he joined anther group and in effect he kind of did underwater walking twice; just like he did parasailing twice! One lucky day for him.
The adventurous fun ends with this event; you are then taken to a beach on an island called ‘coral island’ where you are left free for an hour. You can relax on the beach chairs or go on some jet skiing for extra money or play in the water near the beach. The beach and water were relatively clean compared to Chennai even though we had read reviews that this place was polluted a lot by tourists. The tour ends with a speed boat drive back to mainland Pattaya where you are taken for an Indian buffet lunch in a very spacious dining hall. They transport you by a van to the hall but I happened to have a chance to be a pillion rider on our organizing lady’s bike since the van was full; our ‘expert’ friend also tried to join but was unsuccessful. Strap on the half helmet (just protects your brain) and off you go on the moped (a light motorcycle) – the good part is that they always carry the extra helmet for the passenger; the bad part is that the helmet won't cover your face - only your head.
If you are craving for Indian food, then the lunch will feel heavenly – our veggie friend obviously relished it! Finally you are dropped off at the hotel – but again they might try to take you to the gem palace; I was tempted to go again just to see the peacock but no one else was. We were joined in the van by a gang of 3 North Indians who were on a fun travel trip across Asia – they had just been through Hong Kong and told us stories from there. Another location for added to our bucket list!
When we reached our hotel, the Indian owner gave us the contents of our safety locker –I was suspicious and wondered if we might have lost something in the apparently ‘accidental’ malfunctioning of our electronic safety box. But at a high level it seemed like our things were intact – we did a quick money check and that seemed ok. Thankfully we left the place in the evening. We took a van which operates on a sharing basis – like a share-auto in India; this costs just 100 Bahts per person whereas a cab will cost you 1500 Bahts per cab.