Deep blue sea

Yesterday was the first day I missed blogging while on vacation, but luckily for you, I will cram it all into this post!

Yesterday morning was another early day – had to be up and at the dive center at 6:20am for the first two morning dives. Our first dive was the deep dive at Chumpon Pinnacle. We went all the way down to 30m, which is far! Unfortunately, the visibility was really poor and although we saw some cool things, the whole experience was a bit jaded by really murky waters and strong currents. It is supposed to be one of the best dive locations around Koh Tao so we were just a bit disappointed. Then we went over to a site called Junkyard for our second dive. Junkyard is an artificial reef where they have put weird objects on the ocean floor and constructed coral growth on the objects. We saw a car, benches, windmill, bridges and even toilets. It was very strange but all of the young coral meant tons of fish! we saw angel fish, long tail Bella fish, batfish and even a few friendly pufferfish. We also found Nemo and his family! It was the perfect place to do our underwater photography dive. The pictures came out so well and I am waiting to receive them from the dive center. Once I have them, they will be posted!

After returning from the dives, we grabbed a watermelon shake and logged everything in our dive books. We decided to take a quick shower before heading down Chalok beach. We opted for an hour long massage on the beach at this amazing open-air pagoda. I got the coconut and aloe massage (got a bit pink from all the time on the boat between dives) and Jane opted for the shoulders and back massage. All the massages range from 250 baht to 350 baht, or between £5-£7/$7-10. To be completely honest, it was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. Between the excellent massage, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and the slight breeze, I was in heaven. I may go back again today for more.

We headed up the beach a bit further to Koppee, which has fantastic smoothies and an awesome pool right on the beach. We spent a few hours laying on beanbags chatting with a few people who are also diving and staying at the same hotel as us. We eventually headed back to the hotel for some quiet as our time over at Koppee was slightly overwhelmed by an American couple from California who were the definition of ugly Americans – complaining about everything, talking so loudly and generally giving the rest of us a bad name! They invited us to go out with them but luckily we had other plans.

As the sun started to set, we made our way back to the dive center for our first night dive! I was a little bit nervous about diving in the dark but luckily it was Jane, myself and the instructor, Phil. We made it to the boat, prepared our gear and then the boat sailed off to Three Rocks dive site. We waited for the sun to go down and suited up for our dive into the deep dark! Once we jumped in and descended the line to the deepest part of the dive, we used flashlights to see all around us. There were tons of fish and coral – we managed to find an eel playing hide and seek in and out of coral, we watched the coral feed (it only does this at night), we saw giant sea cucumbers making their way along the ocean floor, we saw a pufferfish, catfish and a small squid, we even came across a giant crab! But the coolest thing by far was seeing the bioluminescence. We sat on the floor of the ocean and turned off our flashlights so we were sitting in pitch black ocean…. But with every movement we made sparkly lights would explode around us! Like very light sparklers. So we spent some time waiving around our hands and trying to get all the sparkles moving around us. Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction in certain types of plankton that makes them light up when they are moved. It was the coolest thing ever. We continued to swim in the pitch black, only watching our instructor’s fins move in the water thanks to the bioluminescence happening around his fins. When we finally surface 40 minutes later, we inflated our jackets and laid on our backs staring up at the stars. I don’t think I have ever seen so many stars in my life. It was incredible. Even at night the water was still in the mid-70s so it was nice and warm.

Once back at our hotel, we agreed to shower and change before heading to dinner. As soon as I got to my room, I started feeling nauseous and my stomach was making strange noises… I knew something was coming. I texted Jane to let her know that I wasn’t feeling great so I ended up going straight to bed. When the clock struck 2am, I was up and hugging the manually flushing toilet like my life depended on it. It must have been the pad Thai or smoothies I had yesterday but whatever it was, it literally drained the life from me. I was up most of the early morning and am so thankful that today is our day off from diving. I will be spending the day with giant bottles of water, toast, my bed and my kindle.

Tonight is is my last night in Koh Tao – I have two dives tomorrow morning (shipwreck!) and then I am taking the afternoon ferry back to Koh Samui. I’m starting to get excited about meeting J in Phuket on the 28th! As they say, absence makes the heart grow (even) fonder. Can’t believe a week has already flown by but what a week it has been!!!

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