Thailand – Koh Tao Snorkeling and Fun

Sadly this was the day I broke the waterproof digital camera, but, it was still a great snorkel trip.  Alas, we only have a few pics from the beginning of the trip.

We arrived at 8:30am like we were told to do at the shop that had sold us our tickets for the snorkeling day trip.  We were rather excited as we heard Koh Tao was the “diver’s island”.  Even though we were not scuba diving, the snorkeling was supposed to be among the best as well.

After waiting with another couple for 30 minutes on the steps outside this place, Griffin finally asked the only guy there who looked in charge, what was the hold up?  We knew the boat was supposed to depart the dock at 9am, and we were a good 20 min walk from there.  The man says “five minute”.  Then he hurriedly comes outside, gathers us up, and we follow him a good ways to a pick-up truck, where we get loaded into the back cab.  The other couple was not told anything and they remained seated.  We drove around for a bit and picked up another couple from their hotel, and then, after a painful 5 minutes of poorly attempted reverse-driving out of this place, we were back on the main road.  But instead of heading to the pier, we were heading towards where we had just been waiting.   It was here that we picked up the other couple that clearly our incapable driver had left behind.  Whoops.

We arrive in town at a dive shop, sign waivers and get fitted for fins and masks, and are led down the street to the dock.  We step across two boats to finally board ours, and realize some 20 people were sitting there waiting for us.  As soon as we boarded the boat cast off and we were off to sea.  Griffin and I still are not sure why we were so late, except that our driver just had no idea what was going on. All of us in our pick-up truck were ready to go on time, our sitting around for 30 minutes was apparently in vain.

After taking some nice photographs of the island we are now circumnavigating we arrive at the first snorkel spot.  Excited about my underwater camera we jump in, turn on the camera, and it immediately begins misbehaving.  It tells me the USB cable is connected but clearly this is not possible.  So, realizing water must have somehow leaked in, we return the stupid thing to the boat and let it dry out.

The snorkeling was really great.  The fish were similar to what we have both seen in the Caribbean, but the corals were different, and truly amazing.  Squamous giant clams – which came in all colors from deep blue with electric blue spots to deep purples, greens, and browns, were embedded in huge coral beds.  Sea anemones with characteristic clown fish also dotted the reefs, along with animals that looked like little trees 2” tall, in bright blue, orange, or purple.  A too-close finger resulted in them rapidly sucking back into their conical home.

We stopped at 5 snorkel locations, which, by the last one, I was too cold to go in the water again as the sky was filled with clouds and a stiff breeze was brewing.  I guess I really could use those lbs I lost in Nepal.  Griffin was like a fish himself, we couldn’t seem to keep him out of the water.  Even at our last stop, which was supposed to be “go to this fancy beach island resort and spend money”, he demanded to be taken to where he could snorkel.  A few other guests on the boat were of the same mind, so it all worked out nicely as they we able to snorkel for another hour.

After a great day we went back to our seemingly freezing bungalow, showered, and headed out for dinner.  We got suckered into a couples massage – side by side – on tables on the beach.  An oil massage for $10, on the beach, well, it was pretty nice.  After we had another great meal with a great view and lovely sea breeze.  These are the tropics and we are truly at peace.

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