Koh Tao, Thailand

May 26 - June 2, 2000

Dave Svilar

 

Koh Tao is two islands north of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.

I added on another week to the trip because of the time lost to Ann's sickness and the fact that I wanted to try scuba diving.  Speaking with other travelers Koh Tao, a tiny island north of the well known island of Koh Samui, and approximately 60 km off the coast of Thailand offered Thailand's best diving for this time of year.  After parting with my sister I took a ferry from the mainland to Koh Samui, Koh Phan Ngan, and finally Koh Tao.

Koh Tao is swarming with dive shops that all offer basically the same thing: a cheap P.A.D.I. certification and beautiful dive trips right off the island.  I dedicated most of the week to learning to scuba dive with a company called Scuba Junction.  I thought it would be a nice bonus if there was an attractive female in my dive group, but I got stuck with a bald German and a feminine man.  We spent the week taking classes, practicing scuba techniques in the warm ocean, and finally going on a couple of dive trips.  The remainder of the time I explored the island on foot and with a motorbike.  Spending so much time with my sister over the past couple of months I was lonely for her company, and resorted to making friends with the spiders that crawled up the walls of my bungalow.

Scuba diving was fun and easy - the big adventure turned out to be the boat ride back to the mainland.  A storm had kicked up the night before and our 50 foot speed ferry would disappear into the trough of the large waves.  The boat  looked like it had been assembled out of kindling and shuddered with every dip into the wave troughs.  I thought for sure we were going to capsize, so I packed up my film in a sealable plastic bag in order to at least salvage my pictures if I went overboard.  I wasn't the only one thinking we were in trouble as every single person on the boat had elected to put on an orange life preserver.  We made it back safely and in time for me to catch the midnight train back to Bangkok.

If you take a scuba course in the States you'll practice in a pool.  We practiced in this "pool."

 

Me entering the water for another session of scuba practice.

 

Our scuba group with instructor Niko in front.  Can you spot the feminine man?

 

The island was full of scraggly, un-neutered, stray dogs.

 

My bungalow was right on the beach.  It only cost $3/night, but came with some of the largest spiders I've ever seen.

 

Inside of the bungalow. 

 

Paradise!  This picture looks especially good while I sit in my freezing Colorado apartment.

 

Quality life ring.  Unfortunately the rest of the boat didn't look much better.

-written March 2003

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