I can tell you, the feeling when you set your alarm and it says you have to wake-up in 3 and a half hours is not an enjoyable one, especially when you are on holiday. However, knowing you are on your way to a paradise island definitely improves matters. Our flight was at 6.00a.m from Bangkok’s main international airport Suvarnabhumi and so we had to leave our hotel at 3.30a.m in order to get to the airport in enough time. This was made doubly difficult by the fact that the reception staff had already left when we got back from picking Gillian up the previous night and so we couldn’t order a taxi. Thus, we were up at 3.20a.m and thankfully the security man took pity on us and gave us a lift in the tuk tuk to the main road where we managed to flag a taxi to the airport and after some negotiation he agreed to go by metre. After checking in we just had time for a morning breakfast of matcha ice green tea and some chicken rice for breakfast before boarding our flight where they served us food but it wasn’t the best and so I opted to sleep instead.
Arriving into Koh Samui was lovely and we were transferred by a small train to the open air terminal building where we picked our cases up and then bought our transfer ticket to the boat to Koh Tao. We had arrived in for just after 7 and it was a 30 minute drive to the pier so we were in a bit of a rush but thankfully we made it and used the next 2 hours to catch up on much needed sleep and revel at the party goers from the full moon party the night before, most of which were still painted in their neon colours. Our hotel offered a shuttle service from the pier so we were whisked right there and while we couldn’t check in yet, we left our bags and hit the beach for an hour or so to chill before making a run for cover as one of the tropical thunderstorms hit (for about 15 minutes). This afternoon my dad and I were diving so we waited for the rain to subside and headed along to Goodtime Adventures to do the necessary paperwork and grab some toasties before our afternoon activities.
My dad had never been scuba diving before and so I had signed him up for a try dive to see if he would like it whereas, I was going to be doing 2 fun dives and then a night dive. A lot for someone who has been up since 3.30a.m. The dive centre provides a free taxi shuttle service to the pier and so after loading up the gear we headed along and met our boat crew. There were 4 fun divers on the boat doing the try dive like my dad as well as 2 Canadian’s who were on day 3 of their Open Water course and then me and Lieke the divemaster who were just fun diving. Due to the beginner level of the fun divers which limits you to 10m we focussed on the shallower sites just around Koh Nangyuan, a small island just off of Koh Tao. The first dive site was Red Rock, a nice easy 20m dive where we saw lots of interesting fish including a sea worm, some really cool gobi’s hiding in their little sand homes, the usual tropical fish; parrotfish, rabbitfish angelfish, bannerfish etc. Some of the most interesting was definitely the colourful nudibranchs and just diving with Lieke was pretty great. After enjoying the dive we surfaced and realised the boat was nowhere to be seen. Lieke was pretty new and wasn’t exactly sure which boat was ours and so we swam for 25minutes in full kit from the site to a neighbouring one where we eventually found our boat. I was exhausted and the thought of another 2 dives still to go was not particularly enticing at this moment.
Once all the divers were back on board we hopped over to neighbouring Twins where the visibility was better and we came across a porcupine fish which are quite rare and sort of box-like in shape, a moray eel, golden trevally’s, queenfish and some giant clams which again were interesting to see. I really liked twins and it is one of the most popular on Koh Tao for the variety of like and interesting coral shapes. My dad loved the first dive but it is really tiring when you are first starting out and so opted to sit out the second dive. Unfortunately this meant sitting on a very rocky boat for an hour and a half and so he was quite sick – tip, always take a seasickness tablet just in case. I don’t usually get seasick but I always take a tablet as if you do end up feeling ill it really ruins the diving experience. After a nice dive we were back on the boat and heading back to the pier once more. Goodtime Adventures were not offering night dives on that particular day but they managed to secure me and Lieke a place on another dive centre – Roctopus’s – boat. This was clearly the ‘young, fun and pretty’ dive school but they were all super chilled and lovely. We headed out to White Rock and jumped into the water just as the sun was going down. With this being only my second night dive and having a torch to contend with too I opted to leave the gopro behind and just enjoyed the dive. As soon as we descended we spotted a blue spotted sting ray hunting, a behaviour you can only view at night. We also saw a really interesting hermit crab and more of the same tropical fish from earlier but this time sleeping in the coral rather than swimming around. The highlight was definitely when we turned our torches onto ourselves and waved our hands in the blackness to illuminate the water with sparkling green bioluminescence. It was magical.
Since we got back so late and there was a slight miscommunication on when we were diving, Roctopus had expected us in the morning not the evening boat, I wandered back along the beach to the hotel to finally check into my room and shower! It was getting late and Gillian and my dad had already eaten so they walked me back to a small Thai place they had found in Mai Head town where I had Octopus yellow curry and a sweet coconut prawn soup with an iced mango shake. I was so hungry after all of the diving but of course, could not even nearly finish it all. We then headed back to the hotel for an early night in preparation for another diving day tomorrow!