Every day we’ve woken up around 7 or 8 in the morning due to class, a dive, or a particularly important football game. It is just any other day at Buddha View, and the first dive boat goes out at 730am so everyone is up early!
In a place like this, of course, everything is defined by the dives- talk revolves around how many you’ve done or what you saw on the last one above anything else, second place being discussion of travel plans and swapping tips on this. What else do you expect at a dive resort?
The first time Judit and I got onto the dive boat was yesterday, though it seems an age ago. (I’ve noticed that’s one interesting thing about travel- how if you have been even a day somewhere it feels like you’ve been there your entire life.) The first day is class and doing stuff in the pool, the second day is doing things in confined water (and more class- boo!), and the last two days are dives up to 18 meters. After that, we’re certified divers free to dive anywhere in the world!
A picture of us starting off the swimming test before our first dive in the ocean- two times around the dive boat and ten minutes treading water. There was a strong current, so the swimming was a bit of a struggle towards the end…
In dive gear! The first time you put it on it’s surprisingly heavy (you don’t notice in the water of course) but you get pretty used to it. Actually one of the most impressive things to me about diving is how quickly you get used to it in general- the first time you breathe underwater your throat is soon aching from the dry air (you don’t want any moisture in your tank of course), you can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic breathing underwater, and you go up and down by controlling your breath which is just hard until you get the hang of things. But you do- I can even clean water out of my mask when it starts filling up, which will impress anyone who remembers how scared I was until much younger getting my eyes wet while swimming!
And diving itself, of course, is fun, but I don’t have pictures of the incredible fish down there as I’m not equiped. But I’m working on it… There are two dives in the morning session as well as two in the evening (you only do one unless you’re a crazed divemaster or some such), after which one gets home at noon or 5pm respectively. Just in time for a cold shower as there’s no hot water, another thing I’m impressed that I can handle though I won’t pretend there are no curse words uttered the first time you go under. You know your life has taken an odd turn where things like a hot water shower or a flush toilet seem like luxury items (as we have the ‘fill the bucket with water and pour it in’ kind).
Anyway, by evening when one comes back everyone is starved so it’s time for the barbecue- what you see here plus some normal dishes that change every night. All very cheap and tasty…
As this pup can attest, who has an uncanny habit of knowing who just filled their plate. This one’s name is Molly, one of the dive dogs and undeniably the cutest.
And once that’s done it’s time to head to the beach bar, where beer is 60 baht ($1.70), buckets of Thai rum+ mixer are 250 baht ($7.50) and where, obviously, everyone has a good time! I also like this bar because they overwhelmingly play classics, singing about brown eyed girls and if money can buy you love and if music can save your mortal soul. I might be a traitor to my generation but most of the typical bar music I hear is crap, so this is a nice change of pace!
As for the people in the bar, well, I confess I’ve started calling a lot of them Lotus Eaters in my mind. (No, I am not explaining that one as I feel you should get it.) Lots of people have come into this tropical paradise intending to stay a few days but never leaving for weeks or months, and the longer you stay often correlates with the interesting conversation level. Ok, so I shouldn’t be surprised that there are beach bums in Thailand (shocker!) and I can understand why someone would choose Ko Tao to do this, but there we are.
And last but not least, I am cheating- this picture is not from very late last night but rather very, very early this morning! I got up at 6am to watch the Steelers win the Super Bowl today, and must mention how odd this is to do internationally. Most notably there are no commercials so you just stare at the empty field instead (I was so bored I had to get my book), and they keep telling you helpful websites where you can go and learn how to play American football. Oh, and the halftime/ end of game commentators speak in Thai, leading to my wondering just how difficult it must be to become a Thai football commentator. Can’t be much of a market don’t you think?
So there it is- a day at a Ko Tao dive resort. I must say it’s very fun, and hard to believe tomorrow is our last day! We are considering staying on a few days longer once our course is done, to which the Lotus Eaters have been shouting “aha, you too!!!” but I don’t think I could be one of them. Amazing as Ko Tao is, I can’t help but wonder about what the rest of the world is like out there!