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Al's epic odyssey "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

Koh Tao island - scuba diving

THAILAND | Thursday, 27 August 2009 | Views [725] | Comments [1]

The Thai people have a lot of respect for their elders and while I don’t personally consider my self an “elder” I suspect that I’ve been given some advantageous treatment lately.  [I consider myself a 27 year old trapped in a 47 year old body]

While queuing for the overnight bus from Bangkok to Chumphon I was hanging around outside with the rest of the twenty-something backpackers and the lady arranging the tickets took my receipt from me and told me to sit where I was. I didn’t realise, but seating was on a first-come first-served basis and when she returned I was presented with the prime seat on the bus. I hope that she didn’t think I was too old to queue.

Prime seat or not I still only managed about two hours sleep on the eight hour overnight trip. For the first two hours the TV above my head was blearing with the last Batman movie with the sound turned up so loud that the people at the rear of the bus could hear it even if they couldn’t see. I manage to sleep in cars when I’m a passenger, why not busses?

We arrived in Chumphon at 5am for the 7am ferry crossing to Koh Tao. Watching the sunrise was quite special. The islands emerged from the gloom and formed a background to an idyllic Thai beach scene with fishing boats, coconut palms and white sands. It unfortunately didn’t help the tiredness. The ferry crossing is by fast catamaran and took about 2 hours.

I’d pre-booked a three day two night PADI Advanced Open Water Divers course from Bangkok. This consists of 5 dives which I’d expected to be spread over the three days. When I arrived I was old that I’d be doing two dives that afternoon, one that evening and two the next morning. I’d complete the entire course in less than 24 hours. I wasn’t too thrilled seeing I was absolutely knackered from the lack of sleep the night before.

I checked into my dive school bungalow and was pleasantly surprised to discover it had an air conditioner when I’d only paid for a fan room. Was this another act of kindness to the old and decrepit?

The first three dives on the first day went well. The corals and the fish here are quite stunning. The visibility was good - about 10m  The water temperature is warm (29 degrees), though not hot (35 degrees) like in Dubai. The boat ride back from the night dive was a bit rough and I wasn’t feeling that great. I’d never been seasick before and considered myself pretty bulletproof when it comes to rough seas, air turbulence etc. I usually like the excitement.

Day two morning dives consists of deep dives to about 30m and 22m. For the first dive we went quite far out to sea to a pinnacle rock. The visibility was brilliant and the massive shoals of fish were incredible to see. We saw a large shoal of barracuda, mussels about a foot long, stunning corals and all manner of big and small fish. It was like swimming in a tropical fish tank. I’m now a qualified PADI Advanced Open Water diver. Now I need to log up some fun dives.

The only downside of the second days diving was that the sea was quite rough. Moments before going down for the second dive I was sea sick for the first time ever. I decided that the best course of action was to get off the boat and into the water. That was a great plan except I eventually had to get back onto the boat again. Sure as nuts shortly after getting back on board I was sick again and felt unwell until the boat started moving again. I hope this is a one off as I do enjoy boating and I don’t enjoy being seasick. As divers we aren’t supposed to feed the fish, however the fish sure cleaned up quickly after me.

The accommodation that I have on Koh Tao is basic but comfortable. Water is only on three times a day for about 3 hours at a time and electricity is off in the afternoons. There is a bucket filled with water to use for flushing when the water is off. There are all manner of accommodation types here and you pretty much get what you pay for. I’m going to spend one more night here and then head off on the ferry to Ko Sumai for some of the famous Thai beaches..

Tags: koh tau, padi, scuba diving




hey hey, slacking at the blog updates, hey!! where is the ko samui and phukett update!!

  Kate Sep 7, 2009 12:37 AM

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