Back in Thailand DivingLocation: Koh Tao
Weather: Hot and sunny, shame about the sea not being calm though
I am now in Koh Tao. After spending a couple of days in Bangkok, wandering around, not doing much, except visiting a very cool night market and a hilltop temple, I decided that I'd do some diving in Koh Tao. This is apparently the best dive site in Thailand - probably because the water is so warm and the corals are relatively near to the shore. I was meant to go here after Koh Phangan back in February, but my visa ran out. I got here yesterday after an 8 hour bus journey, a "sleep" for 4 hours on the floor of some travel agency and a 2 hour boat trip. In the afternoon I booked 2 dives + a hotel through the Easy Diver company. They literally drove me to the hotel, dropped my luggage off and then drove back in 5 minutes. I did the dives at this place called Mango Bay which was quite shallow, but quite nice - saw a few fish + lots of coral. I then had dinner and walked down the beach to see the beautiful sunset, had some more food in a restaurant and then decided to go back to my hotel - where the problems started. After wandering aimlessly in the dark for 2 hours, sweating pints due to the humidity, it became an impossible task as A) they never told me the name of hotel B) it wasn't either of the usual places Easy Diver put people up at. Through the extreme luck of knocking on somebody's door that worked for the Easy Divers, this very kind Irish girl drove me around for about 30mins, checking various places, until we eventually found somebody who knew the resort I'd been put in. It turned out to be a 3minute walk from the town centre!
Today I did 2 more dives - the first at the South-West Pinnacle - which is the prime diving site here - a pinnacle of rock descending 30m's. I did a "Deep Dive" and went down to 25m's - which means I now have an extra qualification and can do deep dives beyond 18m's which the regular SSI/PADI Diving License allows. It was pretty choppy out there on the boat, so I wasn't feeling too great. Strangely there was a thermoclime which meant the water above 20m's was crystal clear whilst below it was very murky + there were strong currents about! We still saw some big fish and other bits and pieces though. The next dive site was at Three Rocks, much like Mango Bay, but it had much nicer coral, fish, sea anemones, urchins and black/white sea cucumbers. I have to be honest, in all my 9 dives, I still haven't seen anything particularly staggering that I couldn't have seen snorkling, except perhaps that sea snake. What is a bit annoying is that today there are reports of whale sharks being about, but the morons decided not to go to that site, for some bizarre reason - I think because this Swiss bloke had paid for a video and he'd already seen the whale sharks - yes, who cares about the other 20 of us on the boat. They said I could stay around for that tomorrow, but I can't be bothered, you can see whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef on the West Coast of Australia so I'll go there instead.
Interesting Medical Discovery: On a side note, for anybody interested I've made an interesting medical discovery about the well known sleeping/relaxant drug - Valium. After 10 days of hectic early mornings, late nights, mountain hiking + constant travelling in Vietnam, once in Thailand I decided I needed a true 8 hour sleep to catch up on all the sleep I'd been missing - so on the 2nd night in Bangkok I took another one of those Laos Velium's. Just like in Siem Reap it knocked me out like a light and indeed I did have a full 8 hours 'sleep', but I now reckon that stuff is more like an anasthetic, you're unconscious, but you don't really sleep or dream as such, because I woke up still feeling tired and gradually got more tired during the day. I even fell asleep on the bus(which hardly ever happens) at 11pm, I became so tired at night. Valium is widely available in Asia and many travellers take it on long bus journeys, which I think is what it's best for. Either that or Laos Velium is 10 times stronger than regular Valium, which I've heard most people take 4 tablets of on bus trips - I don't think you'd wake up if you took 4 of my Laos ones!
By JamesReed on 30.04.05 @ 06:55 AM GMT