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lindsey’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 06 Jun 2007

Location: Ko Samui, Thailand

MapThis is almost guarenteed to be my last blog entry...though i will try and put up some more photos when im home. I'm home on saturday!!! Just have 3 days of flying to get through first...

The last week has been one of the best while I have been away! I havn't had time to get online, so sorry for the lack of contact, but its been crazy busy and, well, just fantastic really!!

After a final overnight bus journey, which finished at 5am and involed a wait for the 6:30 ferry, Eilidh and I arrived in Ko Tao exhausted and ready for bed at 9:30am. We were picked up by Buddha View and taken round to a quieter part of the island where we just crashed for the morning in our room. We spent the afternoon on the beach, before meeting with our dive group at 4:30 to watch a long and over americanised 70s style diving video. In the evening, the restaurant has a bbq with all these fantastic types of fish and meat. You pick what you want and then they cook it on the bbq for you...it sent me in to a slight ocd food posioning craze, but the food was excellent!! Along with the video, we were given a maaaasive diving manual so i had to get back into studying and learn 5 chapters in 3 days. I have to admit, I actually really enjoyed it! It was really interesting, and good to be doing something acedemic.

Tuesday morning was when the course officially begun. We had to be up early and for some reason, I really struggled to wake up! We went back to class with our dutch instructor Renne, and spent the morning learning. In the afternoon, we got to do our first confined dive in the swimming pool. There was 9 of us in the group so we got split into two - boys and girls. In my group there was me, Eilidh, Steph and Kirstin (who were both from Wisconstin) and another girl called Steph who had been ill so couldnt dive before. The other group was James, Mike, Joe and Nick. Renne stayed with the boys, while we got a new instructor called Jasper. I think he is the funniest person i have ever met. Hes Danish, and looks a bit like one of the muppets, every time we went diving I spent most the time clearing water out my mask becaues he kept making me laugh. We also had Jesse, who was doing his divemaster, and he looked after us - turning on our air, helping us stand with a tank on....

Wednesday morning we were back in the classroom studying. This was followed by another confined dive, but this time we got to do it in a shallow bay. It meant we got to see some fish too!! Aswell as completing all our skills. Spent the evening in the bar with the dive group. I was really really lucky to have such a great group.

Thursday morning we were meant to get a lie in, but i was woken by the sound of gushing water! Some pipe had dismantled itself in our bathroom at 6:30 in the morning, which was far to early to be dealing with plumbing. We had our test at 11am, 50 multiple choice questions. 100%. GET IN! I was well pleased. In the afternoon we did our first and second open water dives. The first was at a place called Laem Thien Bay. I had problems with my ears as we descended, and got quite upset. It's so sore I start crying, and crying with a regulator in doesnt really work. Jasper and Jesse managed to sort me out, but on 7 of my 9 dives I was in a lot of pain. Once I'm down though its fine. We saw some blue ringed angel fish and six banded angel fish. After the first dive i was a bit upset and feeling a bit sorry for myself! On the second dive they were much better, one of the other girls had problems so I had plenty of time to sort myself out and it was fine. The second dive was at a place called Aow Leuk. We saw some christmas tree worms, and a whole school of barracuda, and a remora (sucker fish) and sea cucumbers. We had to do some skills to, including an emergency swimming ascent. The evening was filled with cards and bbqing.

Friday was the last day of the course!! It went really quickly :-( We were getting filmed for the dvd they make, which was a laugh. Though the 7:25am start was not. Jasper was demostrating the james bond entry on the deck which was hilarous. Our first dive of the day was Chum Pon Pinicle, which was my favourite site due to the abundance of fish. Stick your head in the water and all you see is hundereds of schools of tropicl fish! Most importantly...we saw grey sharks and they were AWESOME. We were at 18m, they were down below us at 30m swimming along the botom. The last dive was at Twins. My favourite thing here was that my ears were really sore but i managed to sort it on my own, without any help, so i was pretty pleased with myself. We saw a trigger fish, who was eyeing up my fins, and a blue spotted stingray. We were doing lots of tricks for the camera - blowing buble rings, dancing, underwater kissing... I loved diving sooo much. I was meant to be leaving that afternoon to go to Ko Pagnag but ended up staying on to do my Advanced open water course! Its such a fantastic place that no one could leave!! So friday night, we all jumped on the party boat (my dive group and byron who was mates with the boys) and headed off to the full moon party at Ko Pagnag. It was one of the best nights out i have had. We arrived about 630 and went for some dinner before heading down to the beach. It was pretty crazy. Lots of body painting going on, people throwing fire, buckets sold along the beach, music blasting out from the bars, boats bringing more people over, iguanas...crazy. They bring an iguana over and say iguana?? and try to get you to hold it while they take your photo and charge you. We got some buckets (of booze) and sat on the beach playing the drinking game 21. It was the best round ever!! The rule for number 20 was that you had to play a round of duck duck goose, the looser being number 21. It ended up with rugby tackling and knocking over inocent bystanders. Mike and Nick disapeared to watch the football, and the rest of us ended up dancing the night away in a bar called cactus. We got to about 5 something and were still going strong and realised it was getting light again!! I randomly bumped into people i met in oz. We went back to the boat for 7:30am and still couldnt find mike or nick so assumed they were lost somewhere. Everyone passed out on the boat. I later found the boys asleep downstairs. We got back to Buddha view about 10am and went for breakfast. A few of us couldnt go to sleep so ended up lying out by the pool for most the day, and got rather sunburnt. In the evening we had a trip to the 7/11, some cards, some bbq...then an early night. I was exhausted.

On Sunday morning, Eilidh, James and I began the Advanced open water with 2 new girls, a new instructor called G and jesse. Sadly no sharks. Our first dive was back at Chum Pon Pinicle, and we went down to 30m. My ears were sore again but G was really good to me and let me take my time going down. We saw Morray eels, pink anenome and lots and lots of fish. The second dive was at Twins, and was a navigational dive. It was more technical and we had to stay in our buddy groups and find the reference line to ascend. I slept for an hour and a half in the afternoon then sat out on the decking with James, Mike and Eilidh. In the evening we did a night dive, which was awesome! We went down at dusk, so it wasnt as scary as jumping into the black, and we had torches. We saw lots of stingrays, some giant barracuda and played with the phosphoresence. We ascended into a sky filled with stars and a lightening storm in the distance, o and some jumping fish! A few of us went for a walk along the beach, before calling it an early night due to another early start on monday morning!

Our last two dives were on Monday. The first one was learning how to do multilevel diving so we can stay underwater for longer. The second was a peak performance bouyance dive...which i was in need of! It invovled a lot of hovering vertically and upside down and generally trying to stay neutrally bouyant. We took out an underwater camera to get some pics of us diving. I was really sad to fisih the diving. Since I am getting close to flying I thought it was best I stopped, though James was trying to convince me to go out Monday afternoon!! Monday evening was the last night we were all going to be together as we were all going separate ways on Tuesday morning. So we went into town (well it wasnt so much of a town as the pier) for pizzas and drinks. It wasnt too busy though, so we headed back to the bar at Buddha view. Mike, Joe and Byron were going to go snorkling at shark bay. So I suggested they got a kayack and paddled round...which led to James saying he would stay for the afternoon, so eilidh and i thought we should stay for the afternoon too.

Tuesday morning, we all checked in for another night. It such a wonderful place its just impossible to leave. The american girls left around lunch time and after James had had breakfast and brunch (he eats SOOOO much but it SOOO thin....we convinced him it wasnt nesacery for lunch before 12:30am too) we went to hire some triyaks and snorkles. It was Joe, Byron and Eilidh in one and Mike, James and Me in the other. Due to low tide we struggled to get over the rocks and out the bay but once was got over that hurdle, we paddled round to shark bay. It was bloody hard!! At one point some snorklers came past saying there were wee reef sharks so james threw his money from his pocket at me, jumped out and swam away. Mike and I were left in hysterics, and paddled on to shore leaving him with the sharks. After an ice cream we headed out over the coral. It was like skimming along it as we swam, again due to low tide. Once out though there were tonnes of fish, and I saw a reef shark! There was a car which was just sitting underwater so i dove down to see that. I also saw a turtle!! i was so so happy. no one else saw it though. It was near the surface and i looked up to call them over then it disapeard. It was definatly there. (and no i didnt imagine it!!!) we managed to climb back out over the rocks...though i have a lot of scratches and cuts to show for it. After a drink on the beach, we paddled back round to our beach and buddha view, singing along the way. It was our final night in Ko Tao (we all booked our boat out so we all definatly had to leave the next morning!) so we had our last supper and sat at he bar all night drinking cocktails. There are lots of dogs who hang around at the bar scavanging for food, some of them are really cute though. Mike fell asleep in the hamock with a dog sitting guarding his beer!