Exiting the ferry to enter Koh Tao we arrived at Easy Divers to meet our instructor for the next couple of days, Jonny. He is an English man from Wales and has been living on Koh Tao for two years. I informed him I made some great friends from that side of the world last year, New Zealand shout out!
After dropping off our things in our smallest room yet Mike and I returned to begin our course. I felt like I was in school again complete with teacher, textbook, and even a nice laminated pressure table. It was really like I had two teachers since Mike felt like he had to reiterate everything Jonny was saying to me, some of the time I did need the help though!
I began the course with some knowledge of scuba diving. Last year I completed five resort dives when I was traveling around Australia, but now I was getting to the real nitty gritty of it all. Diving can be a dangerous sport to take up but as long as your trained properly the risks decrease. With the course we were trained on how to properly assemble our scuba gear into one unit and break down after use. Also we were trained on many underwater skills we could possibly need if the situation arose. Some of these were a water filled mask, a dropped regulator, hand signals and regulating your buoyancy. Two other skills we had to complete were a successful alternate breathing test where I had to find my buddy and signal I had run out of air and ascend to the surface with his spare regulator and also a CESA. Also known as a Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent, it happens in the case your buddy is missing and you have run out of air. From 6 meters down we had to ascend on a single breath while constantly breathing out.
Now if you remember I had burned my legs a bit back and they have been healing since, bubbling up and the dead skin peeling away (graphic I know.) Not thinking much about it the first day I hopped in and started my skills until I felt slight pains on the back of my legs. You know the people you pay over here to have fish eat your dead skin? Well I was getting it for free and unwanted might I add! This was soo painful I had to come back on the boat to cover up my legs and realized those bastards we eating me alive, drawing blood!
We dove three places, the first was Japanese Gardens. Koh Nang Yuan is a small paradise island just northwest of Koh Tao and the gardens were located just off the coast. The water was crystal clear and visibility was perfect. The first two days we are aloud to go down 12 meters and the maximum an open water grad can descend is 18 meters ( around 59 feet.)
The next day we had a couple dives at a place called Twins and also White Rock. I had a little bit of trouble equalizing my ears which I normally never have but I worked it out in the end and was fine. There we saw Clown fish, Trigger fish, Moray Eels as well as a spotted blue sting ray. Mike and I had to complete our final examination on top of our skills to become a certified PADI diver. I felt confident and Mike assured me I would be fine. With all his confidence he pulled out a 92% while I surpassed him with a 94%! Ha love ya Mike!
Our last day diving we had to pass just a couple skills and then from there was all the fun. Gliding effortlessly across the water we viewed varying sea life at Chumporn Pinnacle and one last dive at White Rock. We saw many varieties of fish as well as Christmas tree worms that we all love. With one swoosh of a hand movement they would retreat into the coral before you caould blink your eyes. Giant Grouper, Great Barracuda and a sea snake were also on a list of things we were able to spot.
All good things come to an end, but hopefully I can find my dive job in OZ and then I can continue exploring the underwater world. We didn't have much time finishing diving until we had to jump onto the ferry to head over to Koh Phangan. We decided that since we were only an hour ferry ride away there was no way we could miss out on the infamous Full Moon Party that became the talk of the town, even if we were only able to be there for not even twelve hours.
The Full Moon Party happens if you couldn't guess on every full moon, and thousands of backpackers and Thai people alike flood into the island to participate in a night of mayhem. Deciding we were going with the flow we had not even booked a room to stay in on the busiest night of the month...smart. We did somehow find an open room at the port for 2600 baht ($78) a night, not the best deal. But Mike being the haggler and schemer that he is surprised us with a 900 baht ( a little less than $30) room. This worked out for us since we weren't planning on being in the room much before 8:00 am ferry departure.
Just checking out the scene before nightfall we found masses of foreign travelers already starting the party on the streets, and the shops capitalizing off the occasion. Neon colors were all around and we all bought a shirt to wear for the occasion. Whitney decided on a neon yellow ' I <3 Koh Phangan' shirt while I opted for a crowd favorite, tie dye!
Leaving the room with our bug spray and party pants tied on tightly we were ready to jump in full force to experience one of the biggest parties in the world. Where was stop number one you might ask?... Getting black light painted. Skipping over the designs for a 7/11 logo (which are spread across Thailand infinitely ), sperm and dragons; we concluded with a simple but worthy stripe design down one arm.
We were ready and emerged onto the beach to be greeted with flocks of people, DJs, fire shows and bucket stands. Buckets over here are essentially sand buckets with alcohol and mixers unopened chilling inside that you buy and mix yourself. There was single file line all the way down the beach with people yelling to you their buckets were they best. I went ahead and said no to the bucket fearing the outcome if I didn't.
After only fifteen minutes we lost Mike, and then found him and lost him again. This seemed to be the theme of the night. Whit and I looked for a bit and then our ADD kicked in and Whitney noticed the next addition to our outfit, glow in the dark glasses. These babies came in handy when it came to meeting friends and we had no shortage in that area befriending people from many countries, a Dalmatian, and a tribe of Indians just to name a few.
Whitney found a couple of lovers including a German and a boy who they both coincidentally knew the same person from Pensacola. And she wasn't alone, have I mentioned that Thai men love me? I don't know if it's my hazel eyes or my movie star good looks :) but I tend to attract extra attention coming from their way. I met a Thai fire dancer complete with slicked back shaved ponytail and jelly sandals that wanted to kidnap us to Samui. I was almost down for the adventure until Whitney kindly reminded me we had to be up and at the ferry in three hours and maybe, just maybe we should start making our way back to the room.
Waking the next morning was killer on only about an hour of sleep, a nice little nap I'll call it. Hence the reason in the last post how I was going to kill a baby. We had a 3 hour ferry ride and boarded that 8 hour bus ride to Bangkok, and were ready to pass out as soon as we arrived.
This is pretty much how I felt
Angkor Wat and our first border crossing are next on the timeline.
Over and out.