29th May – 1st June – Koh Tao Diving
A trip south to the islands was on the cards for a bit of sunshine, diving and relaxation. Having been to Koh Phangnan and Koh Samui in 2008, we decided to hit Koh Tao this time – an island that is famous for it’s diving. Awesome crystal clear water, a fishing restriction on parts of the island (so the locals don’t just fish it to extinction) and white sand beaches – it was all adding up for a good spot to visit!
Our new travel companion, Adrienne (Jono’s future potential wife), arrived all smiles and ready for some beach time! After our first night on the main beach of the island, we negotiated a taxi fare over the island to the quieter side, we’d picked out a small bay with a dive resort as a good spot to spend a few days chilling and diving/snorkeling. The ride over the island was interesting, in the back of a ute on roads which weren’t really roads, more like heavily rutted dirt tracks…we made it over safely albeit with sore asses!
We checked into Black Tip Divers and got the low down on the dive options and dive sites. The bay itself was a really good spot for snorkeling, and the dive instructor, Ben, was keen to take us out for a dive around the island. The dive we went on was to a site called White Rock, an 18m site where we saw plenty of fish, moray eels, golden trevally and we were warned off by a trigger fish – this is a fish that has a spike above it’s head which it raises when it needs to be defensive. We saw a big one of these and Ben had to stop us from going closer as it’s trigger was up and it was guarding it’s nest – apparently the trigger can cut through fins (and body parts I assume) like a hot knife through butter! On they way back we got stuck into a coffee and Jono and I chowed down on these magic cream biscuits – mowing about 10 of them each…at least we were getting our monies worth!
Snorkeling was just as good, if not better than the diving. We swam out from the shore and spent 2 hours out around in the ocean around rock formations and navigating along the rocky coast checking out a huge amount of marine life – including blue spotted rays, angelfish, big snapper and trevally – although we didn’t get to see any of the famous black tip sharks which we were a little gutted about. It was also a good chance to sort out any good fishing spots…we found one or two and remembered them for the next day! At the end of each day we’d head up to Poissidon for a meal on the deck overlooking the bay – pretty good food, the Singha was cold and the music was…well..repetitive Bob Marley every night – but hey it could’ve been worse!
Finally we’d found a spot that held promise for fishing, even though technically it was a illegal to fish, Ben had told us to go for it as it’s never policed and the locals were out there with their handlines. Jono and I rigged up the fly rods and threw on a couple of fly’s and clambered our way out to a spot we’d spotted earlier when snorkeling. We cast out over the reef trying to hook into one of the few trevally we’d seen the previous day. We both managed to get our fly lines caught on coral, which mean at different times, we had to grab a snorkel and mask and dive down to free our lines off the coral – much easier than having to snap your $140 fly line! Jono stayed in the water while I fished over a section of reef and helped hook into a small reef fish! Finally we’d broken the duck, although not that spectacularly, it was still a fish! Over the next 30 mins I managed to hook into a couple of other fish, all pretty small stuff but satisfying enough to warrant a celebratory beer that night!
On our final night, after returning from dinner I found a good sized ghecko (30cm) had got into by room and was sitting on the wall above my bed. I went to find the resort staff to see if they had a net and all I got was a Thai guy laughing saying “I don’t like ghecko” ashe handed me a bamboo stick to shoo the ghecko out…easier said than done. For the next 15 mins Jono and I (I’d like to say staunchly – but we were really like a pair of scared girls) tried to coerce the ghecko out of my room. In the end it went down a crack in the corner of the wall – meaning it was still in the room that I was going to sleep in. Bugger that! So I stuffed a towel in the top and bottom of the crack so the thing could not get out and so I might stand a chance of getting some sleep! In the end all went well and in the morning I pulled the towels out with no sign of a ghecko – god knows where it had gone!
Koh Tao was a great spot for sun and water, very chilled out and a good spot for Ad to enjoy a bit of relaxation and diving – away from the stresses of law firms! On the 2nd June we got aboard a boat and headed to our next destination Hua Hin…this time I didn’t have any money stolen and the ride was surprisingly smooth!