I didn’t quite realise how long it had been until I just checked the calendar to write this…12 weeks! That’s longer than we spent actually blogging before the inevitable happened and we lost track.
A lot has changed since we were on our way to Phi Phi on May 4th. We are now in Melbourne, Australia living in a city centre flat with another couple and their dog, Rocky, getting a little extra money under our belt for the next stage of our travels while trying to get used to the drastic drop in temperature (coldest winter they’ve had in 18years apparently!).
Enough about where we are now, I know you want to know where we’ve been. After a couple nights in Phi Phi with lots of buckets, limbo, fire shows and some weird fake Muay Thai fights, we made our way to Koh Tao where we would experience our first fork in the road scenario.
There’s two main reasons people come to Koh Tao: 1) To dive and 2) To recover from the Full Moon Party on Koh Phagnan. Sometimes the two of these come hand in hand but one things for sure, the island is worth every second spent there. I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t too enthusiastic at the thought of jumping off a boat into the middle of the ocean with my irrational fear of sharks but to this day I’m amazed at how wrong my perception of the underwater world could be. I’m so glad I know now.
With my ever encouraging and supportive boyfriend (I’m pretty sure had I been travelling solo I wouldn’t of signed myself up) we started a 4 day SSI Open Water Course with Big Blue Diving.
I was never nervous. In fact, it was strange how confident I felt. A large part of that was likely down to the very experienced and professional instructors at Big Blue, their constant professionalism and respect for the water and their calm and friendly nature. When I look back at numerous times I’d panic about sharks while swimming in the sea on holiday (the English sea I might add) or I sat crying on the beach while the rest of my family had fun splashing around because I was too scared of the crabs to go in, I was overwhelmed when I finally got to see what’s really down there. It truly is the unknown that we are afraid of and the sea was my unknown.
The Open Water Course quickly progressed to the Advanced Adventurer, then the First Aid and Rescue. At this point, we faced the fork in the road. Knowing the next stage was Dive Master, a programme that took a minimum of 6 weeks, we had to decide if diving had our hearts or travelling the rest of Asia as planned was more appealing before we had to catch our flight to Australia. It was a difficult discussion, with carefull analysis of costs, logistics and soul searching which resulted in 2 purchased ferry tickets and an abandoned rescue course but as we sat at Koh Tao pier with our Bangkok stickers on we knew we were hooked on the dive lifestyle and had to turn back. 7 weeks later we were Dive Master Professionals with 100 amazing dives as memories. A 5:30am start has never felt so easy as they are on Koh Tao, knowing you’d be flying through the beautiful blue watching huge schools of barracuda move with such mesmerising purpose around you…a high I will never forget.
Our only regret is that we weren’t able to stay longer. One thing I couldn’t recommend more strongly is ‘flexi pass’ flights! With a few customer leads under our belt as qualified Dive Masters we had to pack up our things and make our way to the pier (for the second time!) and head to Bangkok.
We have made amazing memories, amazing friends and experienced something that only a handful of people are lucky enough to do in their lifetime. I look forward to going back to Koh Tao to enjoy the free eternal fundive pass that comes with the Dive Master programme 😉 …but for now the rest of the world awaits.