9-18 December 06 Ko Tao
After Siem Riep we stated our two day journey to reach Ko Tao, first we took a fourteen hour bus ride to Bangkok where we stayed overnight, then the next morning caught the train which was nine hours to Chumpon, before catching the overnight cargo boat, which got us into Ko Tao at five thirty in the morning. (Michael Palin my ass!!) Ko Tao is a little island paradise about 50 miles off the coast of Thailand and can only be reached by boat. The plan for Ko Tao was to do our advanced scuba diving course as at this time of year it is home to the famous whale shark. They are supposed to be the biggest fish in the ocean, that big that you can park a small car in their mouth. OOOOOOOOOH!!!! Luckily though they only feed on plankton and are quite safe to swim with if you are lucky enough to get the chance.
The course involved reading a book, watching a video and eleven dives- including one night dive, one thirty meter dive, one navigation dive and a final exam. All very professional of course in Thailand. Ha Ha Ha! After watching the video and reading the first three chapters of the book we were ready to do our first dive in the ocean. You don’t realize how heavy all the equipment is until it is on your back and you’r trying to keep your balance on a rickety little fishing boat in the middle of the sea. (see pics)
So anyway we get in the water puts on our mask (which also covers your nose) and our regulator in our mouths . As you can only breathe through your mouth at first you get really Closter phobic. Clemont (our instructor) had told us that when diving you must go back to the surface very slowly to prevent the benz, if we felt panicky at the bottom to stay calm and take deep breaths. Easier said than done Clemont! We get three meters under water, the four of us are sitting on the sea bed and I could feel myself gasping for breath. I’m looking over at James and he is sitting there all relaxed not a bit of bother. At this point I could not hack it, I’m in full blown panic attack mode, I had to get to the surface, get this thing out of my mouth and get some real air. In the meantime Clermont (the instructor) has got hold of me by my fins pulling me back down. James is still sitting at the bottom in hysterics, and I tell you it’s not easy having a fit of laughter, trying not to breathe through your nose with a regulator stuck in your mouth. This happened on three occasions in a space of ten minutes.
After the first day we settled into it and started to really enjoy it. They now call me ‘THE MASTER DIVER.’
The under water world is amazing. We managed to swim with a few small reef sharks and lots of other lovely fish but we did not get to see the ‘BIG ONE,’ this time but where going to go Whale shark hunting again in Oz, we did also see a massive school (about 10,000) of silver tip barracudas and they were swimming in a big circle around us. COOL!!!
I must apologise also as James said I am slowly but surly turning into a TEXAN with all the strange slang I am picking up. I now say ‘side walk’ instead of pavement, ‘shopping mall’ instead of centre and am drinking far too much coffee. HELP!!!!!!!!
Hope you Guy’s are all o.k.
Love James & the Texan