I finally got a PADI open water diving certification after a four-day trip to Koh Tao with Maggie Cheung and Neomie Lenoir.
So in effect the trip did not feel like a holiday at all coz we were studying every evening - things like diving equipments, respiration, breathing air at depth, compass navigation, and using the confusing, but nonetheless interesting, recreational diving plan (some bleeding matrix).
We did not even get wasted in the evenings coz we had pages and pages to review for an exam that we took every day. Besides, obviously it is very dangerous to dive when you have a hangover. So we were studying like crazy instead.
We used the services of Planet Scuba Koh Tao with our South African instructor, Ash, who ends virtually all his sentences with "cool". He is a cool guy indeed, and very supportive at that. One time, I dropped my mask to a depth of about 15 meters, and he had to dive down to pick it for me. I apologized profusely but he was fine with it.
We took a total of five dives, with depths ranging from about three meters, all the way down to roughly fifteen meters. We did get a glimpse of the majestic underwater world of Koh Tao, supposedly Thailand's diving mecca.
I was not quite impressed with the corals though, neither with the variety of fish and marine creatures. I remember Puerto Galera, where I went snorkeling once, had a more vibrant underwater environment. But for what it's worth, Koh Tao is a wonderful place to dive in, and some of its beaches are quite stunning.
Aside from scuba diving, on our free time we rode on motorbikes to explore some snorkeling areas on the southern tip of the island. Neomie Lenoir supposedly saw some small sharks (I forgot what they're called), but I did not join him all the way to the sharks coz I panicked and had to swim back to shore when I realized that the water was dark and deep (haler, what else can it be, aber?).
One afternoon, we also climed Two View, a section of one of Koh Tao's hills, that has a panoramic view of the eastern and western sides of the island. We had one majestic sunset the day we climbed the hill (actually, we took a 4WD truck and hiking was only like 1/8th of the trip).
So there, I'm wearing a delicious tan right now. I just love it to bits. Also, I have one small cut on my right knee when I scraped it on a coral on our first dive. A scar... I'll remember this diving trip though a scar. Sigh.