Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Every month Ban's Dive Resort, where I have been staying, has a party in honor of a different country. This month it was Germany. Now the fire dancer pictured above has nothing to do with Germany, I still thought it was a picture worth sharing.

For some reason the dive instructors did not seem to be happy with the German theme this month. I heard several saying, "there is nothing to celebrate with Germany" and they were very bothered by the giant German flag that was draping the beachfront bar when our boat returned from the dive site.

*I thought the German theme was great, although I didn't try the German sausages they were serving. I did drink some Heineken but that really doesn't count as it is brewed in Bangkok and Germans generally dissaprove of calling Heineken "German".

I am leaving Koh Tao today. I will travel by ferry (no, not by fairy) for 3 hours to Chumpon. In Chumpon I will board an overnight train to Bangkok. I arrive in Bangkok around 6 am tomorrow and I will be meeting Aaron Jones in Bangkok that afternoon. He arrives around 12:30. We will probably stay in Bangkok for a couple days then make our way north to Chiang Mai, provided it hasn't washed away in the flood.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I saw something today that many divers wait a lifetime to see. I was about 10 meters deep and a whale shark swam by me very slowly within about 5 meters. It was incredible. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew it was huge. It was 5 meters in length.

After my buddy (the diver I was paired with) and I saw it we made our way to the surface (after a 3 minute safety stop at 5 meters). When we surfaced we yelled back to the dive boat and within 30 seconds about 40 divers were jumping from the 1st and 2nd floors of the boat with their masks in hand. Everybody was going crazy and fortunately almost everybody got to see it. It was hanging out near the chumpon pinnacle about 20 km northwest of koh tao. My instructor said it was 5 meters in length and the first he had ever seen. Some people have been diving everyday for more than five years here and haven't seen one. It was truly special.

*the above photograph is not the actual whale shark I saw, rather it is an image I found online. There were several people that had cameras and did get pictures today and I will try to get one from them.

Before the whale shark I swam with many smaller reef sharks. Most were about 1.5 meters in length. I have to say sharks are the most incredible creature I have ever seen. It was incredible and I can't wait to see more in the future. Today was an incredible day of diving with visibility nearly 30 meters.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Here I am again having a meal with an incredible view... This restaurant overlooks "Shark Bay" on the south end of the island.

Today I am finishing the final day of my advanced scuba diving course. Yesterday we did a deep dive to 100 meters, a navigational dive, and last night a night dive. The night dive was incredible as you can turn off your torch and see bioluminescence in the water. This is a chemical reaction wich causes a light emission from contact with an organism, such as plankton. A wave of the hand leaves a trail of light like you see when you wave a sparkler. It is very cool.

This afternoon I will make my final two dives. Both will be in an area known for sharks. I hear that swimming with sharks is one of the greatest dive experiences. I can't wait. (like most sharks, these are harmless)
Koh Tao evenings are quiet and relaxing... Restaurants that line this beach often attract customers by playing movies on projector screens. The night I took this photo I had a banana shake and watched "Anchor Man".
The internet has been down the last couple days on the island so my postings have been delayed.. I'll have some new pics and stories up tomorrow. I just finished my first night dive. It was incredible. Check back!