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February 2nd 2017
Published: June 25th 2017
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Ko Tao Seascape @ SunsetKo Tao Seascape @ SunsetKo Tao Seascape @ Sunset

Its getting hard to take all these beautiful sunsets. NOT. The harbour we stayed on had a variety of boats catering to the bustling diving industry. It made for an interesting and quite lovely seascape.
Ko Tao is reputed to be the cheapest place in all of Asia to dive or get diver certification. On this relatively small island there are sixty four dive companies. One of them - Baan's Diving - boasts certifying more divers than anywhere else in the world! Well, since we were just next door on Koh Phangan, we decided to come and check out Ko Tao and while here get reacquainted with the sport before heading soon to our next, dive specific, destination.

Its has always been a bit unnerving to return to diving after several months absence. Will we remember all the important stuff? Diving after all has so many ways to mess you up big time if you screw up. Will we remember to equalize? How challenging will maintaining neutral buoyancy be this year? Sure hope the new mask works out. And I have to figure out how to use my new dive computer. On and on it goes. Energy draining worry.

We expressed our concerns to our instructor, Perry, who was immediately reassuring and calm. We began the first of our two dives, as pre-planned, with some basic reviews on shore, followed by a skills lesson
One of Many Diving BoatsOne of Many Diving BoatsOne of Many Diving Boats

Check out the water slide on the back of the boat! At least, that's my guess.
session on the ocean floor (very cool) practicing a couple of mask removals, and respirator loss and recovery techniques. And then we carried on, stress free, just enjoying the dives, and realizing that we are in fact full-on divers now. The dive experiences we have accumulated over the past two years have taken hold, leaving us feeling more confident and excited for the diving adventures that await us on remote Bunaken Island, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, where we are headed next to discover yet another part of this beautiful planet.

It is worth mentioning that Ko Tao is without a doubt the busiest diving environment we have ever been in. Our previous dives have all been in Indonesia, in much lesser known areas. I guess we have been spoiled. Perhaps it has something to do with the cheap rates here, combined with the reality that Thailand is just a busier place in general. Our first dive site had over forty boats and at least a couple hundred divers - probably more. Way more divers than fish. It was pretty crazy.

I expect we may be having a bit more of a Robinson Crusoe kind of experience soon on remote
Bird BeggarsBird BeggarsBird Beggars

These two were hilarious. They would come sit right under our table in the restaurant and ask for food. Then wait. They would even puff up their head hairs and get all haughty if you didn't feed them. And complain. We are quite used to cats coming around and begging for food - its a common thing here. But birds? This was a first. Quite entertaining. If we had been here much longer I'd have given them names.
Bunaken Island, with its intermittent electricity, salt walter showers, far fewer people, and lots and lots of fishes 😊

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


Coconut Tree Street SignCoconut Tree Street Sign
Coconut Tree Street Sign

They do have character, these coconut trees. This one was particularly unusual, and served as the street sign for the centre of Ko Tao, with shopping, restaurants, bars and such.
Ko Tao One Month After the FloodKo Tao One Month After the Flood
Ko Tao One Month After the Flood

It is hard to visualize, but we were told that with the monsoon rains and floods last month, this street was a river four feet deep, waters raging toward the ocean. There is still evidence of water damage on the beaches, sandbags plentiful as rebuilding obviously washed out areas continues so the tourist industry on which this island depends can thrive. I can only imagine damage being even more evident inland. Thankfully the rains have subsided and life is seemingly returning to normal.
Repairing the Flood DamageRepairing the Flood Damage
Repairing the Flood Damage

There were sandbag collections in many places along the beach, where evidence of erosion from last month's floods remained to tell the story. Trees uprooted, foundations broken, pathways destroyed. A month later and still in recovery mode.
Santa Sunglasses Anyone? Santa Sunglasses Anyone?
Santa Sunglasses Anyone?

Meet our cab driver. He spoke almost zero English, but managed to make us laugh anyway. These people are just so delightful! Who doesn't want a pair of these sunglasses? And no, that's not a Santa hat, it's a pair of Santa sunglasses! Who cares if Christmas was, like, two months ago :)

3rd February 2017

Enjoy your diving in Bunaken. It is great there. And thanks for the review. Perry (Coral Grand Divers) Koh Tao Koh Tao
4th February 2017

What a great "living" sign post!!

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