If you fancy some easy days and some wonderful diving then you are in the right place. Our diving instructor said the island has a boomerang effect, you may leave but you definitely come back. I can really understand why. We came here to do our Padi open water certificate and have ended up staying longer and longer and longer! With some seriously amazing beaches, places to eat and things to do you certainly won’t be bored. We ended up staying for 10 days and apart from the diving licence we did a whole lot of nothing!
We came here on a boat – minivan – bus – catamaran combo and by the time we got on the island it was dark and really just time for food and bed. When we woke up in the morning we were in for a little treat; location right on the beach, 1 min walk to dive shop and 7/11 on the corner of the street; jackpot! It was also a welcome change from Tonsai to have a bit more civilisation nearby. After some serious dossing around we popped over to the dive shop to say hi and do so e paperwork. At Ocean Sound we met the owners Will and Jesper. They were so friendly and welcoming and give us the overview of the next few days, then invited us to the weekly gathering of the crew and customers at a lovely local restaurant. We watched an introduction video from Padi and met our instructor Antal.
He turned out to be a legend of a man who had chucked his former life in favour of the easygoing life on Koh Tao. He used to work as a mover and owned his own business in Canada, but his stress levels were through the roof. On a holiday to Thailand with his lovely girlfriend he discovered Koh Tao and diving, fell in love and consequently went back to Canada with a plan. Not long later they had both packed their bags and left Canada behind them in favour of a much more relaxed way of living in Thailand. I thought that took some serious balls and can totally understand why. He was a great instructor, even though some of his hand signals for various fish were basically just him giving me the finger (joke) [check on hand signals for “stingray”]
Our first day was spent in the pool and it was only on day two that we got to go into the water properly. It was really surprising what you could see even at 7 or 8 metres. The water was crammed full of crazy looking fish. All the steps we’d learned in the pool became so much clearer when you actually get into the water and even stuff like getting on and off the boat start to become a part of the methodical process. It all started to properly click and with each dive things just got more fun. The last day already came round way too quickly and the final 2 dives we by far the best. By this stage I had finally gotten a handle on my breathing and buoyancy and things really got interesting. We saw some huge fish, some crazy colourful fish and even a stingray! It really was seriously cool and we were all pretty sad when the last dive was over, but I don’t think it’ll be the last time I’ll go diving.
On our down time between diving or just on our off days lazing on the island we went snorkeling on some of the other beaches close by. I even managed to see some pretty decent sized baby sharks up close and personal. If Antal hadn’t told me that this type of Shark was not dangerous then maybe I would have been more worried. It was pretty cool to see them. Later on we saw the parents at a distance swimming in the bay. For food we didn’t have far to go. Breakfast was usually grabbing some cereal from the 7/11 and eating at home. Lunch was a fried chicken baguette and a coconut shake and dinner was anything from any of the local eateries topped off with “the best pancake in Thailand”, coconut and Nutella was indeed a formidable combination! Definitely a life I could get used to!
Up next we had a strange journey (nightboat and multiple mini vnas) ahead of us to Malaysia and I really have no expectations of this country as I know very little about it. Fingers crossed it’ll be fun.
So by this stage I’ve been on the road for almost 3 and a half months and the time has really flown by. We’re currently considering our options for travelling further. Malaysia and Indonesia are most certainly on the to do list and I’m aiming to get a work and travel visa sorted for Australia so I prolong my stay the bearing in mind the huh costs there and cost of travel etc. Ireland kick off their rugby world cup on September 19th so by that stage I’ll have to be back in Europe, let’s see how things progress between then and now!