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The Stunning Adventures "Not all those who wander are lost." Tolkien


THAILAND | Monday, 15 October 2007 | Views [955]



Marooned always sounds like such a negative word and usually connotates a terrible situation.  At the same time though, there isn't always something wrong with getting stuck on a beautiful tropical Island.  That is the situation that the Stunnings found themselves in on Koh Tao.  It wasn't a shipwreck, bad weather, or even abduction by pirates, they had just gotten stuck in the mire of fun and sun.  Despite a lengthy visit to Thailand in the past, the Stunnings had not yet made it to the trio of islands in the Gulf of Thailand that are Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan.  Koh Tao is supposedly the place to dive in the gulf, so there they had headed.  It was no simple thing getting to the island; it required a 7 hour bus ride that dropped a bus load of island-bound holiday-makers off at 2 a.m. in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain.  After two and a half hours of sleepless loitering, a pickup came to gather the band of ragamuffin backpackers to take them to a bus which would then carry them over a span of two more hours, to the pier. There they would wait yet another couple hours until the catamaran set sail at 8 a.m.  The sailing took an hour and a half, depositing everyone on Koh Tao at 9:30 a.m., exhausted and completely vulnerable to the hotel touts that had stowed away on the boat or were lurking at the pier upon arrival.  Elizabeth and Greg finally accepted a free ride to a hotel, only to be disappointed by the accommodations and staff and were compelled to walk down the beach until they found the perfect little bungalow. 

They were a bit disappointed to find that it had been raining, was raining, and was supposed to continue raining.  The Stunnings only had six days on this paradise isle, rain just could not fit into their tight schedule.  Yet, the sun always seems to shine on the Stunnings, and that very afternoon, after a short nap, the sun parted the rainmakers and peeped out for a short visit before succumbing to the evening.  It had resolved itself to shine everyday that the Stunnings were on Koh Tao, much to their appreciation.  After a bite to eat, the pair set off to find a dive shop that could help them get into the fabled waters and blow bubbles after a much-too-long hiatus from diving.  With incredible luck, the two walked into the first dive shop they saw, and that dive shop was Seashell Divers.  There are literally hundreds (maybe a wee exaggeration) of diveshops scattered about the beaches of Koh Tao, who knew that the Stunnings would be so lucky to stumble into their perfect match of a diveshop.  Immediately, the man behind the counter (Mike) was very upfront about his dive operation.  He suggested we take a Scuba review course to buff up on the skills we had not used in over two years.  This sounded great to Greg and Elizabeth as they would be comfortable and free to then do as many fun dives after the quick course.

To make a really long story short, the diving that ensued was really fantastic.  The visibility in the water was not perfect, but it was good enough for viewing a myriad of beautiful sea creatures.  They saw a full complement of colorful tiny and medium sized critters, but were also treated to a sighting of the other-worldly whaleshark.  Whalesharks are known to swim the waters of Koh Tao, but sighting one is still quite rare.  The huge beast swam immediately underneath the excited Stunnings, only to make another pass later on; it was truly one of the best dives they had been on.  It wasn't just below the water that the Stunnings saw some wild animals in their natural habitat; there were also the Seashell Diver's dive masters, a wild bunch in and of themselves.  With Mike, Matt, Andi, Zoe, Rich, and the other students and fun divers, the Stunnings had a fantastic time under, on, and, out of the water with the crew at Seashell Divers.  This is starting to sound like a mini-advertisement, and maybe  the diveshop is not for everybody, but the Stunnings had found people cut from the same cloth; and that is not that easily done, nor something to abstain from mentioning. 

Treating their divemasters to a post-dive beer, found the Stunnings plopped down in front of the diveshop for most of their free time on the island.  Either talking about a previous dive, comparing underwater photos, laughing at someone's joke, or just whiling away the afternoon in the sun, the Stunnings had struck gold and found paradise; it was almost on the first day that they started talking about (with a lot of coercion as well) marooning themselves on the island. 

It was not long before the first planned departure date passed, with little thought or notice from the quickly darkening pair.  The second planned departure date passed with a few chuckles and couple, "I knew you guys were gonna stay", or "I knew you hadn't left yet, the sun was still out."  It wasn't until after a few raucous evenings on the beach and another close call with losing the camera, that the Stunnings were able to pull themselves away from the alluring beaches, fun-filled evenings, top-notch diving, and fantastic people, and finalize a ticket back to mainland, with just a day to spare before their scheduled flight took off for Kunming, China. 

Tags: Beaches & sunshine


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