13.03.2012 - 17.03.2012 30 °C
We arrived at the ferry dock at 3:00AM - a stupid time since we couldn't leave until 7:00AM. We sat around and watched The Candyman on TV with was terrible and we played cards. It rained for a total of 2 minutes. At 6:30AM we got on the ferry. I didn't enjoy it at all at first. It went moved up and down a lot and went quite high but I got used to it and went to sleep (after having a travel sickness). We got to Koh Tao at 10:00AM. The weather was below average because it was so very cloudy which doesn't make beaches look good. Simple Life Divers were supposed to pick us up from the pier (we'd booked an Open Water Course with them for 4 nights) but they weren't there. There were heaps of taxi people trying to get business which was annoying when asked once but being asked 3 times by the same person when we doubled back when looking around was terrible (plus we were grumpy). We tried calling Simple Life but no-one would answer so we had to walk. It was a 15-20 minute walk with our packs on and in the heat and up 2 steep inclines at ridiculous levels. We got to SImple Life Resort and waited to talk to reception who then said we had to go elsewhere. We finally found the place and complained about not being picked up (we were super pissed off) but they said the phones were down and the internet wasn't working and they apologised (so it wasn't their fault). We got Zac for our course and are only with one other person (Fabian from Switzerland (not Sweden)). We got settled in our bungalow after lunch. The room is huge and has a big bathroom too. There is only a fan and no TV but it's still a great room (and only cold water). We watched 2 dive videos, filled out knowledge reviews and were given a booklet and dive planner (along with the online card for the book). The island is pretty expensive and everywhere is the same price for clothes and shopping (and it's fixed). We need beach towels but they are nearly $10. We had dinner at Nong. I had pasta with vegetables and chicken and it was awesome and cheap (80 baht). We walked around the streets and down onto Wind Beach (where we are staying) which was nice at night with candlelit tables with mats at the restaurants and bars and with fire-twirlers. It was fairly quiet and nice at night though the sand was very coarse and hurt my feet a little. Hopefully the weather gets better as well because it looks average during the day because it's dark and cloudy with no sun (and sun really makes everything look like paradise). The internet was super dear at 2 baht per minute. I was getting worried about scuba diving as well (1) not sure I'll breathe continuously and will want to use my nose; (2) sea snakes and rays and triggerfish; (3) decompression; and (4) sea sickness. Fingers crossed for good times. We went to bed pretty early and got woken up very early by drunk people walking back from the beach. One girl in particular was a major pain in the ass (and I was sad to find she was Australian). She just kept screaming 'it was a fucking joke!' right outside our window. Then she started crying, slammed a door, then came back out screaming 10 minutes later.
Got up and went for breakfast at 9:20AM. I had a chicken salad which was average. Went to the dive shop at 10:00AM for the rest of the videos and reviews. Luckily I wasn't the first to get a question wrong and I wasn't last to finish! At 12:30PM we went for lunch at Nid's Kitchen which was great. Had sweet 'n' sour chicken which seems to be a new favourite. At 2:00PM it was back to the dive shop for confined session in the pool. When we arrived at the shop we had to wait for the pool so instead we did quizzes and the exam (so no exam tomorrow which means a sleep-in!). I got about 3 questions wrong overall so I did pretty good! We walked to the pool with our gear at 3:00PM. We learnt how to set everything up and check it all works and then check our buddy. We had to put the gear on out of the water and damn it was heavy, I felt like an obese turtle. We got in the pool with our socks on because that's how we roll. Breathing was much easier than we thought it would be. My problem was the tightness of my mask on my forehead but water would get in under my nose so I've got a fat forehead and small nose. We did skills all day. We firstly just breathed underwater for 5 minutes to get used to it. We practiced using alternate air, we took our suits off and put them back on in the water. We tried being neutrally buoyant. We then did mask skills: half filling the mask and getting it out, fully filling mask and getting water out and then taking mask off and putting back on underwater. I hated the mask skills and struggled. My nose couldn't blow out all the water and I'd get it up my nose and I couldn't get it all out and then I kept needing to sneeze. We did hand signals, deflated our BCD and did a CESA. Then I had to get out to pee (fun in gear and a wetsuit). At 5:00PM we walked back to the shop with our gear on (still so heavy, my legs couldn't get me up any stairs with it on). We then had cold showers and went for dinner on Sairee Beach at Big Blue next door to our resort. We were on the tables with the mats and a candle and near one of the bamboo torches which line the beach. It looked awesome at dusk. We shared a garlic bread and pizza. It was great but expensive (220 for pizza) and I was still hungry afterward. We each had a large Chang as well. We ate, drank, listened to the music from the bar and watched the fire twirling (which included people from the crowd trying it - one guy was pretty good but the girl not so much - she would spin them around okay but then she'd try to do something cool and freak out half way and drop them and run away). There was also a guy going up and down the beach selling lantern things (big white material nets for 150-200 baht) which two people would light and then let off into the sky. It looked nice and the thought was nice but bit of money just to let something fly away. He made a fair bit of money though, tourists loved it. We just took videos of other people's lanterns so we can pretend later. We got given our bill which they'd combined with next door to us so after we sorted that out we went to bed (I was a bit tipsy and we had to get up to dive).
Woke up at 9:30AM and read my new book for a bit. Bundy had left earlier to look for cheaper towels and stuff on Mae Haad. He got back at 10:15AM and I'd fallen asleep again. I was starving and we went for breakfast/lunch at Nong. I had the tex-mex pasta which was exactly the same as the lazy lounge pasta from the day before but had bacon and re-fried beans as well. I felt sick afterward and also had a lot of nerves about the first dive. I struggled with clearing the mask in the pool and I knew we'd have to do it deep in the ocean. We went and bought one of the expensive towels before going to the dive shop. Cheaper ones were 280 but I figured if I'm paying near $10 I want one with Koh Tao written on it. Unfortunately they only had ones that said Koh Samui, Fullmoon Party Koh Phangan, or one with a map of Thailand (without Koh Tao on it) - do they know we are in Koh Tao? I got the Samui one for 350 baht - ouch! We got some snacks for the day and headed to the shop at 12:00PM. We grabbed our bags of gear and walked down into the sea to get into the small and rocking longtail boat. Then we were off in that to the bigger dive boat with quite a few other divers. We had a 5 minute boat ride to Twins dive site. We were going to go elsewhere but apparently the visibility was bad there today. I was more than nervous and feeling a bit ill. We got our gear all ready and on. My regulator sounded like a duck and I couldn't breathe fully with it plus all my gear made me feel suffocated. We had to jump in from the boat in a long stride, holding our weight belt with one hand and our mask and regulator with the other. I got a bit sick/flustered/worried/upset and almost backed out. I jumped in eventually and it was all good in the water. We swam to the front of the boat to the line. Right hand on the line and left hand deflating BCD and down we went. I equalised very frequently and we got the the bottom and rested there on our knees and just breathed for awhile so Zac could get us used to it and make sure we were okay. He then made sure we could stay neutrally buoyant at one level. I had trouble and I needed more weights and then less weights and I couldn't stay level. One time I floated all the way back up by accident and Zac had to grab my fin and pull me down. I eventually got the hang of it somehow. Then we all just swam around. We saw lots of different fish and sea urchins and coral. I saw two pretty big clownfish and a few big schools of fish which would get freaked out and swim into me. There were leopard fish, huge angelfish, apparently a triggerfish I didn't see and heaps of others I don't know the name of (bright blue ones, big grey ones, little silver ones etc.) Unfortunately we only saw fish and no turtles or eels or rays. Before I knew it we were surfaced. I started to feel sick again with the waves. I felt very sick back on the boat which we were on for another 20 minutes. I wanted to call it a day. Apparently I also had some gross stuff near my eye which Fabian got off for me. We had to get new tanks set up and check our equipment again. I felt terrible, I thought I was going to throw up. Zac was explaining what we'd do but saw me looking green and we got in quickly after that. It was better in the water. We went down the line again (now at White Rock dive site) but went deeper. We then found a spot to kneel on and did losing regulator skills. When I put it back in my mouth it was very salty and made me feel a bit sick but I kind of spat it out at the same time I purged my regulator and it was better. Then we had to partially fill our mask (dammit!) but I did it in one go! It was a lot easier than in the pool. Then we did out of air/alternate air skills with our buddy (Fabian had a divemaster Vanessa as his buddy). Then we did a hover which I don't think I actually did... I could feel Zac holding my jacket to keep me in one place. Then we just swam around. I struggled a bit on the 2nd dive. I felt a bit sick, my mouth didn't want to hold the regulator in anymore (so I had to hold it in with my hand so my mouth muscles didn't do any work, I just had to breathe). I burped and hiccuped into my regulator. Totally weird. I also got bubbles in my hip after while so they felt like they needed to crack but they wouldn't. It hurt a bit to move them out from my side but it was fine. I also got what felt like too much air in my stomach after I'd floated up and my chest felt a bit weird. I ways had a strong urge to breathe through my nose and often I did. It was lucky no water was in my mask and so none went up my nose when I breathed. Usually I'd lift off the bottom of my mask and exhale and blow out my nose just to make the urge subside. I was often right behind Zac (and so at the front) and would crash into his fins. I'd also kick Bundy who was always close behind or underneath me. It felt weird looking around, I wouldn't usually look far or up (I'd get water in my mask and my ears would pop). We also checked our air throughout the dives and tell Zac where we were at. I started at 180 and got down to 80. Bundy started at 200 and went down to 50 when we'd have to ascend. I used a lot less than the boys and I'd also mistakenly tell Zac the wrong number by mistake because my hand signals are fine but my brain is retarded. My mask hurt my head quite often so maybe it was impairing my judgement but I think I was just stupid. We saw more fish (blue lined angelfish, parrot fish, and more unknown fish) and more coral which needed a bit of manoevering around and through. I especially was careful because of the sea anemones and didn't trust my ability to float up quickly. At the end we went halfway up the line for a safety stop at 5m. I found it hard to staying one place and I almost kept going upside down. Then a bit further we practiced an alternate air (I changed air with Bundy's alternate) and ascended whilst deflating the BCD. We were supposed to inflate the BCD orally but I felt sick and couldn't keep my head above water while Bundy just forgot. Then it was back onto the boat to get the gear off and pack it away then back on the longtail and back to shore. Tomorrow we have 2 dives in the afternoon. We met up with Fabian at 6:00PM for dinner. We went to Pizza and had pizza (tuna and vegetable) and spring rolls. We then had a big Chang at 60 baht (cheap!). After we went down onto the beach to Lotus bar for more drinks (Fabian paid for all our drinks all night, I refused but he wouldn't take it. Awesome guy, he's great company as well and he's traveling alone). I also had 2 Tiger beers at Lotus bar while we watched the hypnotising and mesmerising fire-twirling show. The men were so sweaty and so very buff (oh yeah!). They came up through the mats and would twirl the fire over your head. 2 guys spent quite awhile performing tricks right in front of our table. It was awesome. There were also quite a lot of people near us doing laughing gas but it didn't seem to have much effect. One guy in a fur beanie thing was dancing like a hero. At one point everyone up on the sand were dancing the Americano dance which we only learnt in Laos but is apparently a big thing everywhere! The twirlers often had 3 guys twirling at once which looked great. There was good music and a good party going on later in the night. There was a ring of fire and a skipping rope of fire which people tried and most failed. At midnight we called it a night. We all wanted to keep drinking and get up and dance but we had to dive the next day so we went to bed.
Woke up very unwillingly at 10:30AM feeling a little hungover and dreading the boat and the dives. I had sweet n sour for breakfast at Nong. Then grabbed our gear and it was onto the longtail and onto the dive boat. There were less people today and we had our own videographer with us for the dives, she was lovely. I was feeling okay on the boat even though hungover. We set up the gear on the way to Green Rock dive site because I chose to in case I got sicker on the ride and then would have to spend longer on the boat setting up. We jumped in pretty much as soon as we got there. We had more skills to do (lame). We went down the line and swam around a bit looking for sand to kneel on for skills. The visibility today was a bit disappointing and poor. We ran into a pretty big triggerfish which kept attacking (running into Zac). Zac put his fin up for it to run into until it quit. It would not back down for ages. We had to hang in one spot until it went away which was a struggle, my fins were touching the bottom and I was worried I was disturbing the bottom. Finally it gave up and we changed direction to look for sand elsewhere. We found some rocky sand and we finally did a fully flooded mask which I managed but did not enjoy. I had a huge urge to spit out my regulator the whole time so I held it in again. I struggled with a cough, an itchy nose, and a vomit burp but managed. Then we just swam around again for the rest of the dive. We saw lots of pairs of long fin angelfish as well as parrotfish and a grouper. There were lots of little fish, sea cucumbers and worms-like things everywhere. It was good fun and we had it filmed as well so we were waving to the camera. We came up the line after about 40 minutes but there were quite a few others on the line so we had to wait. Near us were a number of large schools of fish, some bigger fish than the others. They all scattered in unison which looked awesome. Bundy was above me on the line so I was trying to avoid knocking into him. I really wanted out at that point and was quite cold and shivering. I ran into Bundy at the surface when I came up. Coming up from the water my knee suddenly felt tingly and stingy and when I rubbed it my finger then felt the same. Zac said something about sea lice. We got back onto the boat for ages. When I took off my wetsuit I noticed it had undone my bikini top, luckily it didn't fall down. We went to White Rock dive site again eventually but once there had to wait half an hour for some divers to surface. I got a bit motion sick. We put our gear back on with a new tank and took some photos of ourselves geared up. The area was beautiful with the rocks on the island edge and it was beautiful weather with the sun shining and the water was an amazing blue. When we finally got in for our 4th and final dive we first performed a CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent) from about 5m down on a line. We had to orally inflate the BCD once surfacing but luckily Zac held our heads above water to do it. I was then very worried because I knew the next skill was underwater and we had to fully flood AND take off our masks. We went down without a line which was fun and we then stood using the tip of our fins for the skill. I struggled a lot and stopped breathing a little bit and freaked out a bit with the pressure feeling like water was going to go straight up into my nose and then I'd splutter and suck in water but I DID IT! After that we just swam around again. So glad we didn't have to navigate, I would get so lost. I swam behind Zac and we had the camera around us again. It was a lot more fun on this dive (thought I was inhaling what felt like too much air at some points) and I felt more relaxed. I had a little trouble with my regulator again but I just used my hands to keep it in and I was moving my mask around more to breathe out my nose/get water out/equalise easier. Every time I got my mask to stick to my face so water wouldn't get in my ears would struggle and then to equalise it would lift my mask a little and get water in! I was reaching out to fish and copying their swimming style and having fun being a retard. Bundy was always too far to poke and point out things. I kicked him a lot less though which was good. We used a line to get out then we were DONE! We got back on the boat, got our gear off and put it away. Such a good feeling! I stayed down the bottom of the boat for the trip back so I wouldn't feel as seasick. Then it was back in the longtail and back to shore! We put our gear back in the shop where we orally inflated the BCD assumingly for cleaning. It was nice not having to do anything after the dive unlike the people who worked there! Once back at the shop we filled out our dive log book and got our picture taken. Then it was a cold shower and on the internet to book a hotel in Samui. We met up with Fabian again and watched the sunset on the beach at Big Blue with young Thai kids playing soccer in the water. I had a good dinner of 3 tacos! Fabian ordered two meals but got full and also offered us chicken satay skewers. There was live acoustic Irish music playing for the launch of St. Patrick's Day weekend party. It was awesome. After dinner and more drinks we headed to Simple Life Resort to watch our scuba video. It was pretty good. She got Fabian's nationality wrong (SWE) so he got a 50 baht discount. I wish I'd had more fun with the camera though. Afterwards we went to Lotus Bar again which was busy when we got there (we passed a pub crawl in town which looked awesome at Choppers). There was a mega game of jenga going on using large bricks and it was taller than me. The DJ however, was terrible and the party wasn't as good as the night before. Bundy and Fabian convinced me to keep drinking and get a long island iced tea (even though I was feeling drunk/hungover). Fabian wanted to dance so we went on the sand and danced. There were a lot of weed smokers close to the DJ. We called it quits after awhile when we didn't enjoy the music anymore. We tried a bar further into town but it was all dead so we said our goodbyes to Fabian and went to bed. I was starving and feeling a bit sick so I made Bundy get me apples and chips from 7/11.
I woke up pretty damn hungover. I got up and showered and packed my bag. I threw out my Op Shop pants finally. We waited at the diveshop at 11:00AM for the videographer to meet us to buy the DVD (1750 baht - ouch!). Then we had breakfast at the Cafe around the corner. I had a Bikini breakfast which was a hashbrown, cheese and ham toastie, baked beans and scrambled eggs for 150. We've been spending A LOT of money (compared to usual) here. The toilet at the Cafe was out of order and I needed an AGB. We then walked 20 minutes down to Mae Haad in hopes for cheaper boat tickets to Samui and a working free toilet with cheap drinks. I was feeling sick and dreading the ferry. It was a long walk and it was stinking hot. I bought postcards and then e bought the ferry ticket to Samui. We could have gotten a cheaper one but we'd missed it (left at 10:00AM). We paid 630 with a transfer in the end with Seatran. We left our luggage at the tour place and went for cold fruit shakes down the road. We went upstairs at one place because it said free air-con but they weren't turned on and it was hotter than downstairs. We'd ordered a fruit shake each and played cards. Mine was a regular mixed fruit but it was just a lot of ice and tasted very watery with a bit of orange. It took ages to get our tickets once we went to the dock. We got on the ferry finally and left at 3:00PM. I took some photos of Koh Tao as we were leaving which looked beautiful in the sunshine. The water was clear and a deep blue. A speedboat was being cheeky and almost ran into the back of us before doing a sharp turn (the people on board were bouncing up and down and laughing - I would've hated that!) I went to sleep the whole trip. I got grumpy when we got to Koh Phangan because it woke me up. It was very uncomfortable trying to sleep until I figured out that using my towel as a pillow was awesome.
-after diving had sore legs and jaw
-not the best place for diving
-relaxed and not too crowded
-really nice island