Thailand (Ko Tao)

February 21, 2010 - Phuket, Thailand

 19-21 Feb 2010

19 Feb: We set out on an1 hour 30 minute ferry ride to the island of Ko Tao or "Turtle Island" so named because its outline resembles a turtle nose-diving toward Ko Pha Ngan. On the western side, the turtle's underbelly is a long curve of classic beach, Hat Sai Ree. The island is the last and most remote of the archipelago that continues the line of Surat Thani's mountains into the sea. Political prisoners were jailed from 1933 to 1947 before it was settled by a family from Ko Pha Ngan. Ko Tao is now best known as a mecca for scuba-diving with a wide variety of dive sites in close proximity.

After humping our backpacks up and down the beach in the hot sun searching for accommodations, we began to question the wisdom of our "play it ear" approach to this trip...especially during peak season! After some debate, we concluded we were more brave than stupid. We finally found lodging at the "modest" (no hot water and "no tissue in toilet") Sairee Hut Resort where we flopped. We spent the remainder of the day exploring the burgeoning village and dodging a maddening number of scooters.

20 Feb: We woke with spring marks in our backs and made the decision to find a new place to flop That place was the AC Resort. We happily checked into a cottage with two higher quality single beds. We would have to sacrifice snuggling for some decent sack time. I immediately scheduled a 2-tank dive for the following morning and was excited to learn that some bull sharks had moved into the planned dive site. The bull shark is well known for its unpredictable and often aggressive behavior, which is blamed on is high levels of testosterone. Although humans/divers aren't on their foodchain, these impressive animals can be quite territorial. Before leaving the dive shop, the operator, Will, invited us to a 70s themed birthday party the following night in his honor. We then made travel arrangements back to least we thought we had. More on that later. We finished our day strong by further exploring Sairee Beach and the village, sunbathing, and of course, eating!

21 Feb: I woke before the sun and made my way through the hardcore partiers and "ladies of the evening" to the New Way dive shop. Me and my fellow divers hoped into the back of a pickup to the pier where we boated out to the site. What a way to see a sun rise! We hit the water by 7:30AM in hopes of spotting a bull shark or two. Sadly, none were seen. Instead we enjoyed a huge variety of colorful coral, reef fish, and other marine life. With the early dives, I was back in time for lunch with Linda. We sunbathed before treating our sun soaked bodies to aloe vera thai massages. After dinner, Linda fashioned a sexy 70s dress using my green tie-die sarong. We then made our way to Fizz Lounge where we mingeled and partied with the Ko Tao dive community, which consisted mostly of 20-something kids from Europe and Australia hoping to become dive masters in an effort to delay entry into the cube-based 8-5 grind. Needless to say, it was a fun group and a perfect way to end our visit to Ko Tao. It was now on to Bangkok before our return journey home...     


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