To visit Liam and dive...
10/06/2012 - 21/06/2012 32 °C
Saturday... Time to fly to Surat Thani we arrived after an hours journey to the port where the night boat leaves from but we were determined to hire a speed boat at charter is at we were told it would be around £30... It was hot, I sat with the luggage trying to catch some rays and Tommy scoured the area for information. By 6pm we had to give in and buy tickets for the night boat at 11pm... I'm sure we can sleep on it- it'll be fine was my famous last words of that night! It was horrendous!!
After time wasting until 11pm which included dinner of a totally incorrect order but lovely pizzas we went in search of our 350mm strip on a mattress with a nylon sweat filled pillow.. 56 and 57, looking good no one in 54,55, 58,59... Great!!! We settled in getting into our pjs chatting to 52 and 53 (Iona and Connor). A beautiful tall, blonde stepped down into the cabin, number 58! Tommy's luck is right in... However he did the gentlemanly thing of pretending to be really flustered and swapped beds with me..
The boat was getting fuller and fuller on the tourist side, jammed in like sardines! 54&55 arrived, tanned, Australian men with a lot of facial hair but slightly Hugh Jackman, but with Tommy still faffing about the beautiful blonde he gave our beds up and we swapped taking up 54&55 continuing our chats with Iona and Connor. The guys next to us took their Valium and fell asleep... Tommy had gallantly taken the tiny strip raised bed in the middle of the boat leaving extra room of 350mm. He looked like he was balancing high beam with his arms out to balance. The Thai side of the boat were spread out in luxury in comparison! After a few broken hours of sleep with Hugh Jackman sprawling in to my section and me lying nose to nose with Iona. Tommy and I both sit up in despair - sticky, sweaty and restless at 3am, we head down the steps in eye line of the pitbull cross who had finally stopped barking, slid the panel across and sat with our legs over the edge of of the boat and watched the stars trying to cool down. Time for a swap Tommy got Hugh and I got the high beam. My funniest memory of the crossing was looking down a seeing: blonde 1&2, Hugh 1&2, Tommy, Iona and Connor all spooning in a long line. Finally sunrise started to kick in and we pulled into Koh Tao harbour which was stunning.. Bodies all started to wriggle and stretch.. We have arrived and it is 6.50am Sunday morning - what a long night!
Now to find Liam... We got on the truck and headed to Davey Jones Locker. Liam was so excited for our arrival he had stayed up all night and we found him by a very green and murky Lotus bar pool, laying on bean bags with a few friends and a number of buckets and bottles of beer! We were in need of a room, a shower and nap time! After viewing a number of rooms we took the nicest option of Silversands hotel A/C room.. Bliss, time for a nap!
After resting we met up and headed to DHJL pool bar for some dinner and drinks. We met Liam's friends who were very friendly and welcoming, we had a few beers at DJL then headed to Banyans for a delicious Sunday roast which was nearly, but not as good as Nan's!! Next to the bucket bar to experience the hype... Yummmm. After sneaking into Lotus beach bar with our buckets and Lizzie nearly being burnt by a fire thrower the boys went to watch the football, we chatted and headed home for a relatively early night!
Monday entailed time by the pool catching up! Luckily we brought over some good weather and I sat trying to get a tan. Liam, Tommy, Lizzie and I headed up to the Indian restaurant for dinner and enjoyed a selection of dishes with cocktails. We spent the next few days diving with Tommy starting his advanced open water course and Liam assisting. We were astounded to learn that not all sea water is good for healing and seeing the cuts and abrasions on the divers legs was a first! Tommy and I ended up with small rubs from the fins (not flippers...beer fine!) on the first dive and had to treat them after every dive because the bacteria remains in the water, not to mention the cleaner fish who eat the scabs reopening wounds and leaving scars. Luckily we have duct tape to bind our cuts an look like proper local divers!
After a late night at office bar which was an accidental night out we had experienced more buckets, fried chicken, a ridiculously hot rice dish, skewered kebabs and a savoury pancake - a range of the local cuisine! We also experienced Koh Tao's own lady boys, Tommy was in his element and turned into the equivalent of The Daily Star papp, snapping away getting posing shots, arranging who could cut his hair with his cheeky Irish smile grinning from ear to ear! At 8am we retired and slept for a lot of the next day.
Tommy's mojo seemed to have disappeared and with me blaming it on a hangover left him sleeping in bed whilst I caught up with Liam. After Tommy surfaced for 2 hours and not eating, he returned to bed and Liam and I had a few civilised beers.. Oh and a bucket at office bar accompanied by some chicken I headed home at a reasonable hour leaving Liam propping up the bar to check on Tommy. Thankfully they have drained the dark green, murky pond like pool next to office bar but only to reveal parasols, bricks, chairs and other strange objects in the bottom. Tommy got worse over night and spent the night in drenching sweat with hot and cold shivers which was very worrying so a trip to the doctors was definitely on the cards! Tommy and I wandered down to the pharmacy who knew exactly what was wrong with him - the little cut on his foot, around the size of a marble had not cleared up and he had an infection so no more diving until it was healed. Poor Tommy, he had spent 2 days in bed, was now not allowed to dive, on antibiotics which were huge tables so no drinking and to rest.
The snorkel test was the biggie on Saturday night, Tommy was still poorly so I spent the morning on the beach with Christian Grey, first book finished and half way through my second! I relaxed throughout the day checking if I could be nurse in anyway but he just slept. Ana, Zena, Cindy, Nat, Rose and Mitch had completed their Dive Master course which meant they had a great signing off, dress up theme, drinking games, embarrassing questions and everyone getting very drunk, I stayed until 11 with them and headed back to find Tommy upright and feeling a little better! Phew antibiotics finally kicking in!
i started my Wreck Diving Specialism the following morning leaving Tommy sleeping in bed. It was amazing, there were 2 other guys on the course and Liam came to assist the course. Dive 1 and 2 that morning consisted of going down to the Sattakut, where the visability was so low, and practising tying the line and exploring to top cabin/rooms above the deck. It was really exciting going in and out of the cabins and getting used to being in confined spaces whilst underwater. The trigger fish were chilling around the ship, luckily as they can be vicious and bite if annoyed. The Sattakut had been sunk about 2 years ago for dive training and was a really interesting place to learn especially as the visibility was bad as it made it more difficult for us. On the way way back to the boat we avoided the surface swim, and luckily we did as a turtle swam past so elegantly.
Tonights dinner was back to Banyans for some BBQ ribs which were absolutely delicious. Liam, Lizzie and I met Justin (Martin's friends who bumped into Liam on Koh Tao) and had dinner - the food is AMAZING!!!!! A rack of ribs drizzled with a sweet but not too sickly sauce, lovely salad and chunky chip - not very Thai however!!
Wreck diving day 2 - Penetrating the wreck... the most exciting part. The plan was to follow Ed (our instructor) off the back of the boat, in through the back door, along the corridor and depending on air consumption we would either go down the stairs to the bottom room - the engine room I think, and back out again, following the reel. I really hoped everyone had enough air to do this as my air consumption is generally quite low. So we set off, after a surface swim against the current we descended the anchor line straight down to the wreck, time meant everything so we had to be quick. Ed tied the reel to the back of the boat before taking it to the door as we could hardly see a thing. This wasn't helped by the separation in the warm and cold water causing a blurry effect. We went in straight along the corridor, we all had torches but they weren't a great deal of help for the view ahead. i circled the reel after about 3 frog kicks into the wreck and led myself down by that. At the end of the corridor we checked our air, luckily we all had more than 2/3 left so we could descend further to approx 28m into a completely confined room in pitch darkness. The reel was attached at the top of the room and we had been told to stay off the bottom due to the silt which would kick up. As we went deeper my breathing got quite harsh, a feeling that I have never had before so I had to start using techniques from my rescue diving course to slow my breaths. It didn't help that I was intaking salt water as well which made me cough - it is extremely strange to go from always having light and an escape route to being in a pitch black cabin with 5 of us crammed in knowing you have a specific path to follow before safety. It was an amazing experience! Dive 2 consisted on us running our own reel into different sections of the boat. We all had to follow each other into the chosen place, signal ok and return winding up the reel as shown on the boat. One of the boys went first and went downstairs into a room but the reel stretched across the door, I noticed this on the way in. On the way out Liam was leading and came to the stop of the stairs and stopped, he was struggling to leave the staircase and I could see him calmly reaching. I swam over the top and the reel had caught on his tank so I unhooked him and we all came out. It really shows how a little solvable problem could extend into a panic. I was second to run the reel and due to the last one I made a point of not crossing the doorway with the reel so led it straight down into the room, the stairs are quite steep and you really have to angle yourself to not hit the doorways. After making 4 ties we waited until everyone had come into the room, there was silt everywhere, then we filed out with me rolling the reel back in making sure it was tight. A learning point for me - to remain horizontal inside the wreck, I was holding onto the post in a vertical position waiting for everyone therefore kicking up silt and reducing visibility. Wreck Diving Specialism - COMPLETE and amazing experience!
We went out for dinner that night also to an Italian and had pizza with Eurie and Cindy, again Tommy didn't really eat but nibbled and went home to bed. Liam and I stayed out for a few drinks at Office bar again chatting to the locals and the buckets kept flowing, we were pretty exhausted after the deep wreck penetration so at about 5am we headed home. Liam was going to attempt the 10minute walk to his place but as our hotel was a lot closer I persuaded him to crash in our room. He was up and out at 11am and up to the pool bar, we chilled for a little longer and then went to sort out leaving the island. Down the yellow brick road we picked up some lunch and spotted a little tattoo shack on the beach so we investigated! The guys were really friendly and we ended up getting our bamboo tattoos, it is probably the most sensitive one I have had but it is on my foot. The involuntary toe spasms when he reached my big toe didn't help but he was excellent and after I clamped my toe with my hand it was fine. They gave us beer throughout the whole thing which was great! Tommy had a design of a Celtic cross which he did himself but the first completed design was a little too large for his liking!! His tattoo must have taken about 5 hours!!!!
Now onto our last night which was a little earlier than expected but due to our flight times we couldn't leave it any later and we weren't travelling the night boat again! We headed up to the DJL bar and found the usual, Tommy was feeling so much better it was great to have his mojo back! He also stopped the antibiotics to have a few drinks for that evening. The usual happened, got drunk in DJL, headed to the bucket bar to see MASH... two of the trainee dive masters and then to office bar. We propped the bar up and put the world to rights, I was sad to be leaving so soon the time had just flown by! It got to around 3am and we had to be up at 8am - plus I hadn't packed so I headed back assuring the boys I would return! I got back to the room and made an effort at packing lay on the bed for about 2minutes and thought logically if Liam was going to be awake to see us off at 9am... I didn't think so, so I got dressed headed back to Office bar to say my goodbyes! Tommy and Liam were encouraging me to stay and then continued in their in depth conversation so I gave in to sleep gave Liam a kiss and headed back to the room!
The alarm was not nice 4hours later but we trawled ourselves out of bed, I felt horrendous!! We headed to the DJL bar where we were being picked up from and slumped for 5mins. We headed to the harbour and got on the catamaran, we paid 100bt for the VIP lounge and slept the majority of the journey. I felt so sick I think I was poisoned from the buckets!! Tommy on the other hand was fine but just tired, it was a 5 hour crossing with one change, we drifted in and out of sleep throughout the journey! Next stage was a row with the coach lady as we were assured they would drop us at a hotel but after a little fuss we managed to get on the bus, I kept drifting in and out of sleep in a boiling hot bus with really small seats! Next step was the tuk tuk bus to take us to the hotel and finally we reached One Hotel! Nothing fancy basic bed, bathroom, tv but it was heaven, we slept more after a completely hectic night in Koh Tao. Next place - Friday 22nd back to Bangkok!