Turtle Island

Trip Start Sep 23, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2012

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What I did
Scuba Diving!!

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, October 7, 2011

On the train from Bangkok to Koh Tao, a small Island part of 3 on the Gulf Sea. The smallest of all 3, its specialty... diving!! Gonna do our Open Water Courses here so we can dive to 18 meters on our own.
The journey down was nothing exciting, very uncomfortable and worrying someone would walk off with our bags, even though they where padlocked to the luggage holders. My sunburn is really bad, had to find some aloe vera at the train station, not the best thing to have when cramped up under a bunk bed on a 9 hour train journey. 
Finally get to Chumpon, a little town about 45 mins from the coast. Have to wait here for just under 3 hours for the coach to get here to take us to our ferry. Its just gone 3 am... must be a usual thing though as there is a little shop open on the platform, so a bag of pistachios and a pot of pringles later we were on our way.
Same thing with the train, the coach was just uncomfortable, get to the pier as the sun has just risen, awesome now this is a Thailand I like. The pier had seen better days, whilst taken the photos I was holding onto the camera for dear life, now that would have been a good start.
On the Catamaran, we told a 'tout' that we had no bookings for hotel or diving and that was it, we was fresh meat!
We had 3 blokes talk to us one after the other which filled up most of the 2 hour boat ride. So after much consideration and holding Elle's hair whilst she threw up (3 times!!) we decided to look at Coral Grand.

Free taxi ride up to the hotel, we were told we would get a free night on top of our 4 nights with the dive course staying in the 'divers digs'. We had a look at the room, and I think after seeing the beach side cottages Elle had her mind on different things, basic fan box room very pink!
After ummin and ahhhin the bloke said he could do us a deal to get an air conditioned room, so off we went to see this one. Still no good, miles away from the beach right next to building work, we wouldn't be this picky normally but as we are doing the diving here we thought we could get better. We asked how much extra it would be for a cottage, the bloke went off to see what he could do and come back saying this is his final offer, took us to a nice family cottage, 2 rooms with a dividing door, there was 2 Canadian guys on the other side but the dividing door locks, we have our own bathroom fridge and front door that leads onto the beach, happy days. All for 12 a night extra, seeing as we was getting the accommodation free anyway cant go wrong!
We're not starting the diving till tomorrow so had a nap when we got sorted as knackered from the journey, woke up about 7 pm then went to eat and have a look around. Met a couple of Irish guys whilst watching this funny German couple, both pissed the bloke was crap at pool but kept winning by default (other people potting the white with the black, Elle knocked the black off when trying to pot it!!) The blokes we met were a good laugh, Paddy and Chris, managed to miss the German guy getting bitten in the ass by a dog whilst stepping over it to take a shot, his shorts were buggered! He wasn't happy but his missus was laughing at him too!
Moved down to a bar on the beach which was cool, had these lean back cushions on the floor and fire everywhere! Had another bucket but weren't gonna make this another first night to forget! So just the one then we went off home as starting our diving at 10 tomorrow.

First day of diving, so we thought, its just an orientation. Kevin was our instructor, Irish too top fella. Got given our books watched a long old video and got told our homework for the night. Homework. So much reading and Elle is a slow reader so it was taking so long, we stayed in that night and the next 2!
Today is our first day of diving, confined water skills in the swimming pool. All different things like take your regulator out (what you breathe from) learn hand signals and Elle's favorite... flood your mask and empty it and take it off swim 10 meters and put it back on. I thought for a second Elle wasn't going to be able to do it and then wont be allowed to finish the course, but after alot of work and pep talking she managed to it. That was the last thing so finished in the pool we had to go clean our stuff and put it back in the equipment room. More homework, so ordered food at the hotel restaurant and stayed in.

We done 2 days of diving in the sea, 4 dives in total which was awesome, think I'm hooked now. We passed the course with flying colors, so decided to do our Advanced Open Water, which consists of doing 5 tasters in the specialty courses, we had to do Navigation and the Deep dive, but we also chose Fish Identification, Night Dive and Wreck Dive. 
We got a discount on the course as we done our open water, but didn't stay in the cottage as we wanted to stay another night but the course is only 2 nights and they wanted to charge us 3500 tbh for 1 night, which is 70 roughly. So asked to stay in the divers digs, but didn't have any spaces, so got a deal on an a/c room for 300 tbh a night.

The diving was good, want to do more and more now! We saw more fish, like a pufferfish, great barracuda, sleeping triggerfish on the night dive (scary) and the wreck dive was cool, with my great knowledge of fish names... you can see the Fish ID went OK.
We finished the course and it was our time to leave the little Island of turtle, off to Ko Phangan we go. An early 9 am ferry trip, after settling the monstrous bill!! the dive courses were on it though, a little dearer than what we anticipated but we wasn't expecting to like the diving so much and do the advanced. Oh well!!
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Kirsty and Paul on

Hello El and Recce
We have seen all of your pictures and been reading up on what you have been up too. It sounds and looks amazing.
Enjoy this experience of a life time to the full, im sure you too will.
You can take the girl out of Essex but you cant take the Essex out of the girl.
Love you both
Kirsty and Paul xxxxx

David Spencer on

Wow, just went through all your blogs and pic's and it looks awesome. Truely looks like a once in a life time experience. Missing you guys like hell.
Enjoy your next adventure.

David Spencer

Elle on

Hey K and Paul!!

How are you guys?? what have you both been up to?

Were having an amazing time! lots of cool things to do and meeting some really nice people along the way.

We are currently in Malaysia Borneo (sarawak kuching) and on Monday we will be leaving here to travel north to Miri (still in malaysia). When we leave Malaysia we will be going to the Philippines to hopefully relax on a beautiful island :))

Well keep reading and keep in touch!

Love and miss you guys!

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