December 12, 2011

Koh Tao - Diving Heaven on My Face

Gorgeous beach sunset on Koh Tao.
When I was a little girl and adults asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my reply without hesitation was “A mermaid.”  I actually remember saying this and to be perfectly honest, it’s still true.  I love water in every form the lake, ocean, river, bathtub (my friends can attest to the last one).
Diving to me is the best feeling in the world.  When I am underwater I have no cares or worries and everything else going on at the surface washes away.  I love how you travel effortlessly in a smooth flow underwater and everything seems to move in slow motion, which I like since I move kind of leisurely anyway.  Time passes so quickly when you’re submerged and 45 minutes feels like five, yet the rest of the world has been put on pause.  Breathing underwater and swimming among 1000s of different creatures is one of my favorite feelings in the world.
Divers + guide on board a Big Blue boat for a day of incredible diving off Koh Tao.
Koh Tao or “Turtle Island”, a tiny island off the southeast coast of Thailand is THE place to go diving in this gorgeous country.  On board the ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao, dive shop reps barter the herd of Full Mooners to come dive with their company.  As soon as I stepped off the ferry in Koh Tao, I headed to Big Blue Diving School to check out dives and sign up for the next best thing.  Big Blue is a reputable diving company and they are well known on the island.  My friend and I immediately added ourselves to the full day diving adventure the following day. Usually your dive company hooks you up with accommodation as part of a diving package but the flock of post Full Moon partygoers heads to Koh Tao after the party so Big Blue was completely booked.  We stayed in a budget friendly bungalow down the beach called Bow Thong Resort in Sai Ree Village, which is where most of the action is.  Koh Tao is one of those amazing islands where you have tons of different dive shops and schools all run by people from all over the world who share a passion for scuba diving.  To go along with the international crowd, there were tons of restaurants and bars to choose from; Zanzibar, Looking Glass Bakery, Suchili, Lotus Bar, Fish Bowl, Davy Jones Locker, Star Bar are to name a few.  Not to mention the most beautiful people I have ever seen before flocked to this island. These popular hangouts had beach areas reserved where you can sprawl out and watch the most amazing sunsets in the world. 
Relaxing in front of Lotus Bar for the evening sun down after a day of scuba-ing.
The gals sprawled out at Big Blue watching the sunset and relaxing.
"Am" the fire dancer for Big Blue.
Once the sun disappears, fire dancers entertain the crowds with their flame juggling and bring the fire to life with their moves and music.  There’s oodles of action packed on this teeny little island, you can never get bored that’s why I stayed a week and had to peel myself away when it was time to leave.
My full day diving trip with Big Blue consisted of 3 dives with a leader and an awesome group of 4 divers including me. They keep the groups small, which I really like so you’re not bumping into to people. The entire time during all 3 dives I was surrounded by various schools of fish like a protective shield. A triggerfish attacked our guide, which was dangerous but entertaining to watch. Later I found out the same triggerfish attacked another person only he made it out with 8 stitches in the forehead. Glad it wasn’t me!  I stopped several times during my dive to look up at the sky to remember this isn’t a dream and also to thank God that he created such an amazing heaven that I could be part of. I highly recommend going to Koh Tao and diving with Big Blue if you have the chance. Tell ‘em Leash-Dawg sent you.
The bomb dive group I was part of.
On the long tail boat heading home after a beautiful day.

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