So we were driven by the owner of our resort in Phangan to the boat station where we waited for our boat to Koh Tao until we were approached by a man from "Coral Grand Resort"offering us a 'PADI' course and accomodation for a good price, we were persuaded as we were (at the time) homeless and had no idea where bed was going to be that night. We boarded the boat, claimed a patch on the floor at the top of the boat and there we stayed until we arrived in Tao. As we got off the boat we were swarmed by people attempting to get us to stay at their resort but as we had already been "snapped up"we were put into a 'pen', where we were safe from others and there we waited until our taxi's came. They packed us in (again) like sardines, no room for our rucksacks on top so into the seating area they went....this meant no room for Tasha and Anni so they were put in a seperate ute - all well and good untill Anni was climbing in (so ungracefully), when the Ute decided to begin the journey......ute starts moving + Anni hanging out the back = tasha being the hero, grabbing onto Anni for dear life whilst Anni creeps into cardiac arrest!!! Fortunately that episode did not set the tone for the next few days.
We arrived to our resort - again paradise, until we saw our rooms - not so much paradise! Although we were promised we were greeted to...."No air-con rooms available, sorry", however, we agreed to see the rooms anyway, they seemed fine and the fan seemed adequate (or so we thought!!!). After a very brief pit-stop the girls were straight to class, DAY ONE of Scuba School! we met our half english/half swedish instructor James, a.k.a "Action Jackson" where we began our theory, watched 2 videos (yawn), discussed how Anni can't swim and least not float and then how charlotte can do nothing but float!!! the class eneded when we were set our homework. We left class, went to view the pool and complete our homework at the resort bar where we were devoured by the 'killer mosquitos", 5 minutes and that was enough of that, we retired to Hanna, Greg and Charlotte's room which was 500 degrees and their fan was broken....good times!!!! Home-work done, like the boffs we are it was dinner time! Shower in the ice cold shower and off to the beach (the most beautiful view and atmosphere we had experienced so far) to choose our restaurant...we opted for a seafood BBQ reastaurant where Han, Charlotte and Anni ate the most delicious prawns the size of which could compete with a small child...good times, whereas Greg went for the crab - we have decided he lost more weight than gaining eating it, as the crab was, impossible to get into, no meat and the meat he could find ended up round his face rather than in his mouth...bad times! Dinner over, we wnet for a chilled out drink in a bar where bean-bags were the seating of choice, everyone else settled comfortably apart from Charlotte...her bean bag would not adjust and she was propped up lagainst all odds (FACT: charlotte cannot sink!!!). One drink consumed and it was an early night had by all, recovering from our trecherous journey and in preparation for what was to come of the next day!
After a well regretted breakfast at 9am the next day class was in full swing! We watched some more videos, had some quizzes and asked some more questions! A quick lunchbreak done and we were sized up for our diving equipment, looking ravishing i must add!!! All eqipped up and it was down to the pool we go...into the pool and then it begins, after dropping to our knees and attempting a few skills under the water, Charlotte decided it was not for her. 1 down 3 to go...Anni, Tasha, Han and our Argentinian classmate - Marcello ploughed through and completed our 4.5 hour stint in the pool having learned all our skills. Later we met for dinner, deciding to eat our first meal in Thailand that did not consist of Thai food we went to an Italian which had mixed reviews! Onto the "ladyboy cabaret show", one word....incredible! they sung, they danced, they dressed up and they showed a little too much!! At the end they inquired for volunteers, of course, Charlotte's hand was first up and backstage she went! Returning later in a full Cabaret Queen outfit complete with head-dress where she danced, sung and joined a conga round the bar! After the show was over T,H&A went home while Charlotte and Greg went out to party with the locals as it was Songkran (Thai New Year) in which water plays a HUGE role!!! They strolled home at 4.30am, with a sore head but many photos starring the signature pout!!
The next day was classroom in the morning, a stroll to get lunch from town - seemingly pretty straight forward??! WRONG!!!! Songkran means locals and tourists on the streets getting anyone and everyone who passed with water AND talcum powder!!! Eventful! Soaked in water and talc, we headed back and got ready for our first open water dive! On the small boat, onto the big boat, to Japanese Gradens, set up and in we go! 12 metres was our deepest that day in which we saw the most amazing fish, all colours, shapes and sizes - a completely different world in which we were completeing skills such as taking our breathing apparatus out of our mouths and sharing with our buddy - pretty scary when you're 12m below the surface!!! That completed, hometime, dinner and bed ready for our 6am start!
Our early morning dive began at 6.15am (of course anni, loved it/she did not speak) we approached our first dive spot, down the descent line we go...2m, 5m, 8m, 10m, 15m and 18m! we reached the bottom and explored for what seemed like 10 mins but was actually 40 minutes, it just goes like that! There we explored, and just took it all in, Anni managed to plant her bottom on the camera man's head (he said he didn't mind - i think he's being polite!!). Our next dive sight had better visibility and even better sights. We actually found nemo, he was in the anenama (spelling??!) who would pop out every now and then only to be shooed back in by his mumma or daddy! Their home was sectioned by stones in which you were not meant to enter, of course hanna "forgets"the rule and lands smack bang in the middle of the 'forbdden circle'!! Next we saw a stingray - the excact breed that killed Steve Irwin, i was certainly glad i found that out after we had ascended!! The afternoon meant final exam time - the moment of truth!!! We all passed...HALLELUJAH! So celebrations began....
7.30 we met to watch the video from the days dive, hillarious and so well put together - of course we were persuaded to purchase! Then the drinks begun, aswell as a little bit of dinner to soak up the buckets! We all headed to 'Lotus Bar' where we celebrated, danced, drank, took part in some ïnteresting" drinking games and so it continued until 4am the next morning! Very well celebrated!
Then next morning was grim. we dragged our sorry little bottoms and heads out of bed and packed up, we checked out, paid and headed to town for some breakfast - what we thought would be the remedy to our hangover - no such luck!!! Waiting for our taxi we said our goodbyes to our 5th part/surrogate girl/roomie/pocket gay. There was not a dry eye in the house (except for greg's of course ;-) ) it was the end of a very fun, eventful era and we were losing one or crew members! Faces dried and off we set for the next leg of our amazing journey! Koh Samui....here we come!