Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hello everyone, Hope your all keeping warm and well, I hear the weather is not the best over there? Well you wont believe it but we had a bit of bad weather over here too....... We caught the tail end of a typhoon that hit Vietnam pretty bad, by the time it hit here in Ko Tao it was just a tropical storm which basically meant it rained for the whole day, Which is very rare over here as even during monsoon season the rain only lasts 1-2 hours max during the day. It just so happened to be the last day of my advanced course that the rain hit which wasn't great, but once your under the water it makes no difference! A few people doing the course decided not to go out because of the rain and cold (Cold over here means anything under 27 Degrees!!!!) It didn't make much sense to me, because what the hell else are you gonna do on a tiny tropical island when its raining?
Anyway we went and had a savage couple of dives and I am now a fully qualified advanced open water diver!! Which basically means I can go down to 30 meters (100FT) and do night-dives and navigate around dives sites on my own, I'm really glad I did it because It really build up my confidence underwater and instead of worrying about the basics I now can just really enjoy it down there!
Right enough of diving, Ill show you a few things about Ko Tao, Firstly where we were staying, "Bans"

Its the biggest dive resort on the island, which has its good points and bad points, the good points being the price and the equipment/boats/staff were all top notch, the bad points were its very busy and you are just another person being taught, so from talking to a few people who did the course with other instructors, they felt like they were being herded through the course like cattle and not given much attention. I personally loved our instructor and thought it was great, so you never know?

Here's a few shots of the resort:

This is where are apartment was, when we arrived the accommodation was included in the price, but it was pretty nasty, so we decided to ask what discounts you get off the nicer rooms, when doing a course it was less than half price and its was really nice and you got a TV and a fridge, which isn't really needed, but was pretty sweet and it was really nice to come back to after spending a day diving!!

Or in Charlies case, a day shopping and searching for chocolate pancakes!!!! Only messing, Charlie took over the roll of the organiser while I was diving and sorted out loads for us as I was pretty wiped out at the end of the day.

The whole resort is pretty pimped out and there is cool gardens around the place which are kept very well and also contain the loudest frogs I have ever heard, they can be really quite for ages an then all of a sudden they all start joining it with each other and get really loud and then they just shut up again? Weird!

This is the pool, Its pretty big and quite deep as its used for learning to dive which, when your not diving can be pretty annoying as you pop over to the pool to go for a swim, its fully of bloody divers.... typical!!!

This is the actual diving center, this is where you get changed and clean off your gear and plan your dives and wait for the speed boat to bring you to the big dive boat, pretty sweet, isn't it?

This is Sihh:

According to his sign, he sells "the best pancakes on Ko tao." Now, I'm not normally taken in by slick marketing, but that's a pretty big claim, So it would have been rude not to check out his pancakes, Big mistake!! they were amazing and not a single night went by when I didn't pop down to see my friend sihh!!! He would see me coming and start shouting "My friend" "My friend Sean" Its a bad sign when the local pancake guy knows your first name!! Great bloody pancakes though!!

In between days diving, We rented a moped and had a good look around the island, Its pretty small and there are only 2 main roads (what we would call roads anyway!!) We found this cool place up on a hill overlooking a place called shark bay!

Shark bay!
If you look closely, Here, Ill make it easier for you:

You can see the houses doted around the coast, they are pretty much just put up on rocks and there is no proper road to get to these houses, its all by boats!! pretty crazy!!

We popped down to the beach on Shark bay and it was pretty nice, this little shop, right on the beach, rented fins, so I went for a snorkel around the bay, didn't see any sharks, but it was cool anyway!

As I said, it rained pretty heavily for a whole day, this is what the roads look like before a full days rain:

No rain.

And this is what the look like after......

Drainage is not something people here have heard of, but they get by and after a day or two the roads start to look like this:

Which makes for interesting journeys on the bike, they normally fill in the roads with more sand and maybe some coconuts and sticks, kinda like the Galway County Council........

Its not all bad though, along the beach there are paths which are ment just for walking, but of course the locals and tourist use them as there own moped race track, but of course Id never do that........

Onto the main towns, there are two main tourist towns on Ko Tao, Mae Haad and Sariee Beach, we stayed about half way between them, which was kinda nice as they can be pretty loud and its nice to be able to get away from the noise!!

Thats Sariee beach's main street, apart from loads of bars and internet cafes, there was some really nice shops and we managed to spend loads on t-shirts!

That's the main street in Mae haad which is also the port town on the island, when I say port town, I actually mean its two small streets with a few small piers at one end!!
Here is the main ferry pier:

Gives you an idea of how things work over here!!

This is what charlie had to stare at while we were having the nicest curry ever. Dont even start on the mangle (Man bangle) it was my birthday present...... I was hoping for a PS3, but its the thought that counts........ grrrr....

Nice little tree cafe to enjoy an ice coffee in! The following photos dont need explaining, they are just to annoy you all!!!!

Well that was our time on Ko Tao, We are actually in Bangkok at the moment, and we are flying out to Cambodia on the 15th, Bangkok is bloody crazy, but we are loving it, a real wake up after the island life, but ill update soon with photos from here in bangkok, OK ill give you one photo from bangkok:

This is us chilling out on the roof of our hostel.... What kinda hostel has an Infinity pool on its roof? The kind Sean and Charlie stay at........

See ya!!

No comments: