Published: April 16th 2010April 16th 2010
Because of geography and its numerous charms, Ko Tao has become the default island for people to come to after the full moon party. Smaller and more laidback than Ko Phangan, it is known primarily for its numerous world class dive sites. We went with the intention of scuba diving, rehabbing our full moon weary bodies, and finding a way to celebrate my 24th birthday.
Ko Tao is to scuba diving what Amsterdam is to shadiness; the place revolves around it. So it was only natural that we would stay at a dive center during our time there. The first decision to make was whether or not to take the three day ($300) Open Water Diving course. Taking this course certifies you as an experienced diver and allows you to dive down to 18 metres anywhere in the World. Curtis had scuba dived before and loved it, so he was gung ho about taking the course. Duncan and I were virgin divers and therefore more hesitant to part with our $300. In the end we decided to just do an introductory dive ($60) rather than the full course. In retrospect I regret this decision as I loved the sport and
Ko Tao Streets
Relaxing after the mayhem in Ko Phangan.
if I were to take the same course in Canada it would cost $1000!
As Curtis was busy from 9-5 each day with his dive course, it left Duncan and I with quite a bit of free time. We mostly spent this getting our tan game on and in my case also getting my hair game on. Seriously, my hair has not been this blonde since I was nine years old. I currently look like a less douchey version of Zack Morris. On another note, one productive thing we did was to rent scooters and take them around the island's bumpy roads. We went to a resort that had a reconstructed massive whale skeleton and Duncan snapped a sunset picture that will make you cry (See below).
Our dive itself was pretty awesome and definitely made me consider getting my open water certificate at some point later in the trip. The sensation of being fully submerged and breathing normally is very strange but also very cool. We saw some amazing fish as well, highlighted by an eagle ray that even our instructor had not seen before. We only were 7 metres deep, so I can only imagine how
Riding in the back of a Pickup Truck
This is a very common mode of transport in Thailand.
crazy Curtis' dive at 18 metres must have been. Needless to say I really enjoyed scuba diving and look forward to when I get a chance to do it again.
The best friend we made in Ko Tao was Sam; the Brit who stayed in our dorm room and was also in Curtis' scuba diving class. He had just had his friends leave him after three weeks of travelling with them in Thailand. Since his friends trip had been short, they had balled out during the time they were there. Literally this guy had gone from staying in the penthouse suites of Bangkok hotels with some of his best friends, to staying in dorm rooms (With faulty toilets) by himself. We brought him into our group and had dinner/drinks with him most nights. Sam was a great guy and marked the first time since Paul's departure that our crew was a solid four man group.
Which brings me to the matter of April 4th, my 24th birthday. First off I want to say Unicum was not involved and, "Zombie Scott" did not make an appearance. At first it seemed it would be a low key night as Duncan
Like 'Through Black Spruce' but less impressive.
was feeling sick and both Curtis and Sam had to be awake at 5:30 A.M. for their final dive. Regardless the boys bought me some beers at dinner and then Sam bought me a shot of vodka. At this point these two British girls sat down next to us, both drinking big beers. These girls quickly found out it was my birthday and they also bought me a shot. Better yet, unlike my guy friends, they were down to PARTY!
The guys were relieved to be able to pawn me off and get some much needed sleep. For me the night ended up being pretty fun, as it often is when other people are picking up the majority of the tab. The only weird part was when one of the girls went to call her boyfriend in England and then came back from the call crying. The other girl told me not to worry as this happened all the time. I should mention at this point that these girls were 19 years old. Anyway the end of the night is pretty hazy for me, (It was my birthday after all) but according to Sam I came into the dorm
Duncan snapped this pic, looked at the result, and said, "Yep, this is going to make the girls get wet."
room at 3 A.M. and was only slightly slurring my words.
The next day Curtis and Sam both passed their final dive and became certified open water divers. We then bid farewell to Sam and boarded a ferry/bus combo which would take us to the Thai capital of Bangkok. If you've been following the news, you would know that Bangkok has had quite a week. Let me just say that we are safe but came very close to being caught in the middle of it.
Sidenote: I hate taking pictures and am honestly not very good at it. As a result most of the pictures you see on this blog have been snapped by Duncan Smith. My camera also stopped working in Bangkok, so starting with the Bangkok entry the pictures will be entirely from Mr. Smith's camera. He is a fiercely talented photographer who reminds me of a young Annie Leibovitz. He deserves credit for bringing to life each one of these entries with his timeless images. I want to thank him for the service he provides.
There are more photos below