It was still dark when our bus pulled up at the jetty. Our speed ferry was leaving at 7.30am so we have enjoyed the cool fresh morning in a beach chair while the sound of the sea was trying to rock me to sleep. It was nice until it lasted, but soon the sun came up and we've swapped the comfortable seat for a bumpy ride on the ferry. Many long minutes and filled plastic bags later we have arrived to the island. While neither of us has been sea sick the first steps on the land were in a rhythmic sway of the angry sea.
Koh Tao, as I learned after walking the first 100 metres, is a diving hotspot. I didn't know that then, although a diving shop every 2 meters should have been suggestive. Before we set out to look for our accommodation we have decided to take some breakfast. While munching on a delicious sandwich I've been eavesdropping on a conversation at the next table that was more of a lecture, diving instructor to a student. And that's how it started. With a swirl of thoughts I couldn't resist to play with the idea. That place seemed to be as good as any and the time was now! After securing a not too shabby wooden bungalow in a lush garden just 15 metres from the beach, I was ready to research scuba diving. Majka was supportive of the idea and helped me make the right decision. That afternoon I walked in to Scuba Junction and 3 days later I was an open water licensed diver.
Vicky, my instructor, Tracy as my 'buddy' with Manon joining our course later and I was the lucky guy. I remember the first dive under water in full gear. Instinctively, I forgot to breathe as I submerged my head. That's just natural. It's a weird sensation to be able to breathe underwater and a whole new world to explore. After a couple of practice dives in the shallow waters just off the beach, my first dive took place at White Rock, just off the shore from a picturesque islands of Koh Nang Yuan. The initial worries were very soon replaced by pure awesomeness and joy. My jaws would definitely drop if I wasn't too cautious about my regulator popping out of my mouth. My first dives did not reveal any of the illusive species like sharks, turtles or sting rays, but even the most common species of underwater life were new to me, so I was happy. On finishing the course I realised that I have not seen anything of the island, while Majka explored and enjoyed 3 'Janless' days. She offered to take me to a nice snorkelling spot on the north of the island, just opposite the small islands where I've passed my exam earlier that day. In celebration of that I managed to drown my phone as I snorkelled for almost an hour with it before noticing. Ah well, at least it wasn't me who drowned that day... The snorkelling spot, on the other hand, was the best place all around the island. I know, because a few days later we took a snorkelling boat trip around the island with Diamond Tours. Mark, our guide, was a British fellow and kinda dick too. The trip itself wasn't bad but wasn't great either. For one we've seen the island from all sides and got to put our foot on the beach of Koh Nang Yuan for a couple of hours too.
The south of Koh Tao is home to one of the viewpoints and once again drawn by a picturesque spot, I've set out there for those 'money' shots. For the way back I have chosen to walk west on beaches and shores of the island which is by no means flat and could turn to quite a hike at times. Specially in the heat of the day. Luckily there are places plenty where you can spend some Baht on cold beer.
Upon deciding on our next destination it was time to get our transportation sorted. One of the options was an overnight sleeper ferry which sounded kinda cool and so we jumped on the opportunity...