Island Life

Trip Start Jul 29, 2009
Trip End Jan 23, 2010

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Simple Life, Island Divers

Flag of Thailand  , Phetchaburi,
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remember that movie The Perfect Storm? Well, that was what our boat ride was like when we went to Koh Tao, except the storm in the movie was weaker! We haven't had the best of luck with the weather during our time in SE Asia. We were in Vietnam during typhoon season, we were in Northern Thailand during the only time of year that it rains constantly, and now we are in Koh Tao attempting to get dive certified in the Gulf of Thailand, during the only month of the year that it is monsoon season. The weather has been really hit or miss during our time here, but it definitely was a huge miss (or hit) the day that we decided to travel to the island. There is nothing more lovely than going on a rickety boat for two and a half hours to an island in a third world country during a monsoon, unless that is, when everyone on the boat is yacking over the side because the conditions are so bad. Luckily Tara and I didn't get sick the the point that we were throwing up, but that may be because we were concentrating on staying on board while not yelling at all the Europeans around us for chain-smoking the entire way there and blowing their Euro-smoke in our faces. But we made it! 
We spent a couple days driving around the island on a moped. There wasn't as much to see because the monsoon and typhoons have washed out all of the beaches on the east side of the island. The evil little guy who rented us the moped tried to tell us that we "damaged" the bike (which we absolutely had not) and attempted to make us pay some ridiculous amount of money to him, about $60, which is a lot being in Thailand. Unfortunately for me, he had my passport, which I should not have given him, as collateral. When we both refused to pay and said we were going to go to the police, he didn't budge, because the police here are as crooked as he is. Then I swore at him for like 30 minutes straight, totally making an ass out of both him and myself. Eventually he went and got a second opinion on the "damage" from another Thai man who told him off and said if he was going to make us pay to just make us pay 500 Baht ($15) for the invisible damage. So I swore at him some more and gave him the money. Yelling in this culture is "culturally unacceptable" so we have read, but in my opinion, when someone is trying to steal my money all the rules go out the window. So we learned yet another lesson while traveling.
We went out a couple nights and watched some free fire dancers on the beach. Also, we got our PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certification. The process took about 4 days all together and was very well worth it. We saw a wide variety of different kinds of fish, stingrays, squid, giant barracuda, moray eels, slugs, etc. We also swam with several 3-4 meter Bull Sharks on Friday the 13th. Very exhilarating! Tara was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but she did really well with it and got through it successfully. We are now certified for life and can go diving any time we want to in the future. So now that we are officially dive certified, we are going to go on the Great Barrier Reef once we get to Australia. 
The rest of the time we just hung around on the beach and enjoyed some of the nightlife. We hit it off with our dive instructor and a couple of other dive students so we had some beers with them a couple of the last nights. Tomorrow we have a ticket to get onto the boat and head back to Chumphon and then to Bangkok. We wanted to spend more time on the island and as little time as possible in Bangkok, but the weather report is saying that there is a pretty big storm coming our way and we didn't want to get stuck here and miss our flight. All in all, we really enjoyed Koh Tao and look forward to visiting the island again in the future.  
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