Written in October 2008
I write from the spectacular island of Ko Tao, a little gem only 45 square kilometers, beautiful and very sedate compared to wild Ko Pha Ngan. The island is ringed not with a
road but with giant rounded boulders and a brilliant blue surf, topped with lush green palm trees and thatched bungalows. Most of the island can only be reached by boat or ATV. There is one main beach with one little thoroughfare which is a sidewalk and a road all at once. Watch out for those scooters! Beep beep!
Ko Tao has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world and is the second most popular place to get certified to SCUBA dive (the first is somewhere around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). The whole island is powered by generators and completely shuts down November to December for the rainy season. I had a taste of the impending wet yesterday after breakfast when a massive rainstorm flooded the one street, making it a rushing river under 3-4 inches of water.
It was a deluge of crazy, heavy, bouncing rain for about ten minutes- then it stopped completely, and the rest of the day was a crystal-clear perfect sunny day of blue skies.
I am not here long enough for the four day course in SCUBA and am in fact waiting at the port right now to catch a ferry to anolther island, Ko Samui. But I did spend all day yesterday snorkeling in pristine waters, submerging myself in another world, a fish world. Fluorescent fish stared at me, long silver barracudas darted by my legs, and bright golden jellyfish the size of half of my pinkie drifted along with two even smaller fish for company. Huge schools of tiny shimmering minnow-like fish washed over me, making me feel like I
was flying more than anything on earth has (with maybe the exception of skydiving). Lumpy, prickly sea cucumbers did nothing on the sea floor, miniscule glowing blue fish darted around yellow and purple coral, anemones pulsed with the waves, tiger fish came right up to my mask to inspect this weird-looking sea creature and ever so often, a shark would drift by. Not a Great White, mind you, only about two meters long- but still a startling sight in the open sea! I suppose they were reef sharks but I didn’t ask them. Either way I can now brag about swimming with sharks! I swam with sharks!
I spent the whole beautiful day yesterday on a long blue and orange boat, diving into different areas of underwater wildlife and coral reef, stopping only for lunch and a banana-coconut milkshake. Now when you are me, it doesn’t matter if you spend all day long applying and reapplying sunscreen, and I did- you still get burned if you are lounging for hours in the tropical sun. Having a lobster back makes carrying my pack a bit difficult- luckily I have just a 2-3 hour ferry ride to Ko Samui, and that’s it- back to the beach and the ocean.
Ko Tao has to be one of the most beautiful islands on earth- a sedate, sleepy place with little more than dive shops and crepe carts. I toasted the sunset on top of the island last night then went for barbeque. Ko Samui is another party mecca and I will be glad to experience the difference between the islands once again.
I am not sure what day or date it is, my computer says 9:10 AM, and I am guessing Thursday or Friday or Saturday.
Much love to everyone,