Perfect end to a perfect week

Koh Tao Travel Blog

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All ready to go!

I have just had the most amazing week ever. Really.

When I first started my open water diving course I was a bit disappointed by how small my dive group was. I'd heard that the island was a bit cliquey and that you hang out with the people you dive with, and it seemed to me that no one in my group was the party type. I was saved by Irene, one of the girls I'd met in Laos last week, who randomly showed up at Ban's, taking her final exam as I was just starting the course. I met up with her and a few of her Dutch friends in her group both the first and second night, jumping up and down in a sea of excited Dutch football fans before the start of the World Cup final game, fans who weren't quite so excited when they lost by one point at the end of nearly thirty minutes of overtime.

My Advanced Open Water crew!

I wasn't there to see the end of the game though. Somewhere in the middle of all the madness I left the bar to grab something from my room and I ran into Poli, my dive instructor. Before I knew it he asked me if I wanted to go dancing and I was being whisked away on the back of his motorcycle. It seemed like from then on, my time not spent on breaks eating with Mike, my dive buddy, was spent with him. I had an absolute blast riding the backroads to slightly more secluded beaches I'd never have found on my own, looking out over the view from his hammok on the hill, and just hanging out and talking. He's got to be one of the most interesting people I've met in a while-wandering the world doing various jobs, including being in the Israeli Seals. It seems the man can do everything from flying a plane to flying off a flying trapeze to free diving 30 m to building his own furniture and even sewing and cooking.

A perfect lunch at Ban's-fruit smoothy and fried rice :)

The diving itself was incredible. I'd thought that I might be more stressed breathing under water, but it seems incredibly natural once you're down there. The dives varied in visability, marine life we saw, and skills we practiced. We started our first dives with the more practical safety measures, such as using the buddy breathing system where you signal that you're out of air and your buddy gives you their "octopus," or secondary breathing device.

By the time we got to the advanced open water course, we were practicing slightly more advanced things like navigation (which was using compasses and dive computers and was fairly hard since the visability for that dive was only about a meter), peak performance bouyancy control (where you use not only your BCD or 'bouyancy control device' but your lungs to control your bouyancy-we got to practice at a site called Red Rock where there were plenty of swim through's), etc.

Dive buddy and random Thai guy in a nice, artistic silhouette
Mike's friend had lent him an underwater housing for his camera so we took turns using it to take pictures, which I was pretty stoked about as I hadn't had the money to buy one of my own and to rent an underwater camera cost nearly $70 for just two dives.

One of my favorite dives was the night dive where we used torches to find fish but also to help the Baracudas hunt by lighting up their prey. We were rewarded when one of them snapped at a fish, consuming half of its body but leaving the severed head to drift to the bottom where it desperately flapped around and gasped its mouth open and closed while blood gushed out of its head. It was pretty gruesome, but kind of cool to see nature at work. The last dive off Koh Tao was probably the best though, with pretty good visability and amazing corals and fish.

A celebratory dinner-last night together

That last night everyone from our class went out to dinner together and were joined by two of Jeff's friends. With them there, the table had a whole of four Americans at it, which is a rare sight while traveling. I got funny looks for simply ordering cheese fries, but once again my excitement at finding ranch dressing somewhere other than the States had taken over and I couldn't resist. With grand plans to make it to the mini-golf course later that night, we all headed over to Lotus, a cool bar right on the beach. Jeff and Mike both got fairly drunk and were amusing to watch and we all enjoyed watching the flame throwers who are pretty impressive.

I'd been looking for the perfect ankle bracelet as the one I'd gotten in Vietnam came off during one of the dives, and I found a great one on a table right outside the bar on the beach.

Fire dancers!
Brown leather strands twisted around sherbety orange bits of smooth shell caught my attention, and when I asked the guy standing there how much it was, he kept insisting 'I buy for you, I buy for you.' Sweet, I won't argue with that. I got his name, thanked him, and promised to send people over to his table, which ended up doing no good as it started to pour about ten minutes later and he had to close up shop and put all his jewelry away so it wouldn't be swept away by the rain and sea.

The next morning I headed for the ferry that would take me to Krabi for my flight to Singapore.

Good-bye Thailand; I'll be back again :)

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All ready to go!
All ready to go!
My Advanced Open Water crew!
My Advanced Open Water crew!
A perfect lunch at Bans-fruit smo…
A perfect lunch at Ban's-fruit sm…
Dive buddy and random Thai guy in …
Dive buddy and random Thai guy in…
A celebratory dinner-last night to…
A celebratory dinner-last night t…
Fire dancers!
Fire dancers!
A small stretch of paradise
A small stretch of paradise
A view from the bumpy motorcycle r…
A view from the bumpy motorcycle …
Night boat back to the mainland. B…
Night boat back to the mainland. …
About to head on the boat for our …
About to head on the boat for our…
Some guy?
Some guy?
These buckets of booze are the rea…
These buckets of booze are the re…
Koh Tao
photo by: RyanCorrea