Diving in Ko Tao – day 1

Angel fish

Angel fish

Well, I wouldn’t have been awake to do the morning dives as I was awoken by Dave (my divemaster and buddy) at around half past midday. After a couple of hours’ sleep the evening before, I’d walked down to the Easy Bar on the beach and stayed till 2am downing Chang and talking to fellow divers. I guess I needed the 10 hours’ sleep I got afterwards. I certainly feel better now!

The two dives were quite close to the bay where I’m staying, so I only had time to get my kit ready before we arrived at the first: Shark Island. This was absolutely heaving with fish, and blessedly quiet of divers. There are enough dive spots around Ko Tao that I think they can afford to spread everyone over a wide area.

Sea cucumber having a meal

Sea cucumber having a meal

With water warmer (and clearer) than some baths I’ve had, it was a great hour or so. Only a shame we were limited timewise by the other divers on the boat, most of whom were doing their Divemaster course exercises. I think the fish here are about the friendliest I’ve seen yet, allowing me to get very close and snatch some decent photographs. This is a good thing because, as I mentioned before, the screen on the back of my camera is virtually unusable in low light now that the backlight’s failed. As such, I went snap-happy to try and make up. There should be some examples scattered around this post.

I’m glad to say that most of the pictures came out quite well. A personal highlight was spotting a couple of very large sea cucumbers (at least I think they were… I’m not great on identifying things) eating. They open one end of their body and feathery tendrils come out to sweep over rocks and tear off tasty morsels. Actually a very “pretty” way to eat as their mouthparts are decorated with nice patterns.

Pretty fish

Pretty fish

After a quick slice of pineapple, we maneuvered to the second site: Aow Leuk. This was more of a coral garden with fewer fish but some glorious examples of other sea life. Again, I took a ton of photos and tried to stay out of the way of the people doing navigation exercises.

We managed just short of an hour before surfacing and having a quick sunbathe on the way back. The weather is glorious, though the sunsets spoiled in the evening by cloud rolling in. It never seems to rain, although the ball lightning last night was amazing to watch.

Before I forget, the company I’m with is Sunshine Divers. All the kit it good, everyone seems happy, the boat is nice and the accommodation here is fine. The attached restaurant does decent Thai food (I’ve not tried anything else there yet) and there’s an internet place at 2 Baht per minute, which seems to be an island standard rate. It also keeps cutting out – also standard on Ko Tao!

Posing fish

Posing fish

I’m verging more towards spending an extra night here and rushing my way to KL early next week. It’s just so chilled and the diving’s so good. I’ll see how I feel by the weekend. If I remember what day it is.

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