SCUBA

I finally left Tonsai.  I’ll admit I was a little sad sitting on the longtail as it pulled out of the bay on the way to Ao Nang.  There’s a t-shirt you see often on Tonsai that says “I’m leaving Tonsai tomorrow…” and then on the back there’s a silhouette of a climber working a roof and underneath it says “Maybe”. This was definitely the case with me (and apparently most climbers.”

I took a longtail to AO Nang, rode hanging on the bumper of a tourist bus to the travel center on the beach, got in a van to Krabi, then a bus to Suret Thani, then the night ferry to Koh Tao!  The night ferry was a trip, I literally hadn’t even bothered to think about what it would consist of so I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find out that it was just a long wooden platform covered in mats and numbered every 2ft or so, meaning if you have wide shoulders like I do that you sleep touching not one but two strangers.  The guy on my right was actually from Eugene Oregon (we had met on the bus).  So I pulled into Koh Tao at 6am, ready to do some diving!  I’ll switch to bullets for the recap.

  • Koh Tao is an island off the east coast of Thailand one of the most popular places in the world to learn to dive.
  • My friend Bonnie is a dive instructor and strongly recommended Crystal Dive so I went with them. I signed up for the PADI Open Water Certification
  • They were great, free room with purchase of cert program, theerectere three students in my group, one instructor and one instructor in training meaning it was basically a 1:1 ratio
  • After spending a lot of time around both climbers and divers in various states of undress I have to say that climbers have WAY cooler tattoo’s.  I could be biased but climber tattoos seem to be unique and artistic while diver tats seem to be more “tribal” and beach tats like dragons, bands, etc.  As always, I’m sure there are plenty of contradictions.
  • The abundance of marine life off the coast of Koh Tao was great! I saw parrotfish, bannerfish, angel fish, blue spotted rays, moray eels, a family of clownfish (Nemo’s) living in an anemone and was completely surrounded by fusilers so that I couldn’t even see outside of them
  • People in our school saw whale sharks and sea turtles but we didn’t see any
  • I wish I could have taken my camera underwater or rented one but I didn’t
  • There’s something amazing about being 16 meters under the surface and looking up at the sunlight, it feels surreal
  • For years when divers asked me if I’ve dove and I said I tried SNUBA they laughed and said its not the same.  Well, in my opinion its not actually that different. You may be tethered but you don’t wear a bulky tank and BCD meaning you almost feel free’er.
  • I think I’d actually like to try freediving in the future
  • Overall it was a great experience.  The school was very professional, it was super cheap compared to getting certified in the states and the people were friendly.
  • Koh Tao is beautiful (but not as beautiful as Railay/Tonsai). Sairee beach is nice, you can stand at the edge of the beach and it feels like your walking on water.
  • After 5 days here I’m now headed to Koh Phangan for the madness that is the full moon party.  That kind of thing isn’t usually my scene but its in tomorrow and I’m one island over. I might as well check it out for myself.
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