Diving Koh Tao

Plan A was to go to Koh Tao with Hannah at the end of May after visiting Vietnam. However, Hannah went back to Bangkok early to do another massage course and I stayed on longer in Vietnam before deciding to revisit Cambodia. Eventually with my flight to China fast approaching I had a two night stop in Bangkok on the way to Koh Tao. I finally got to see the Grand Palace, rode the river taxi both ways, resisted the temptation to buy a new camera, watched one of the infamous ping pong shows, and had a fun day out taking photos with Stella.

I travelled from Bangkok to Koh Tao with Lomprayah. More expensive than whoever Hannah travelled with but apparently a much more comfortable and relaxing journey. With three recommendations for diving schools I ended up at Big Blue because the instructor I spoke to – Curtis – was so helpful and enthusiastic. Many of the schools on Koh Tao teach two certifying agency courses: PADI and SSI. You don’t have to buy bulky paper manuals for the SSI courses so theirs were the right choice for me.

Seventeen of us started the Open Water course the day I arrived with a couple of hours of classroom stuff – watching videos. Next morning we split into three groups with instructors for more theory. In my group there were a couple of gap year English girls – Georgie and Olivia – buddied together, two Brummies – Pete and Nick – in their mid-twenties buddied together and me buddied with Curtis the instructor. In the afternoon we were in the water for confined skills, learning how to deal with flooded masks and switching and replacing regulators. Over the next couple of days there were more theory sessions and four dives testing and teaching additional skills. The final two dives by each group on the last day were filmed and edited into DVD presentations. These were shown in the bar in the evening and provided lots of amusement. Obviously ours was the best video, Team Canada were a respectable second, and who was team three again?

I was the only one of the seventeen to sign up for the Advanced Open Water course starting the next day, although four of the others signed up for the following day. In addition I was hooked and decided to stay on and do the dive master course if at all possible. That would take several weeks and I was supposed to be flying to China on 27 July – just five days later. I had to rearrange that and all my subsequent flights, and quickly. Round the World Experts travel butler service did a fine job and by the end of the Advanced Open Water course my flights were all rearranged. So I stayed on Koh Tao and completed the Emergency First Responder (CPD points for C.ThA there I think) and Rescue Diver courses. Rescue Diver was hard work and great fun. But it did cost me my Tag Heuer watch, lost during the final dive of the course :-(

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2 Responses to “Diving Koh Tao”

  1. Stella says:

    Schedule SINGAPORE in your plan,Mark!

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