Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thursday, April 5 - Koh Tao Snorkeling Trip

We were picked up at our hotel around 8 by our tour transfer to the pier where the operator checked our tickets, logged our information and gave us yarn bracelets of different colors to identify the passengers of each boat. We waited for a while while every person went through the check in process and the boats were readied. There were approximately 100 people waiting to board one of the four speed boats.

We were the second to last boat to board. After picking our seats and getting life jackets on, the guide told us we had boarded the wrong boat and that we needed to go into a boat docked next to us. The second boat was much smaller. There were not enough seats or life jackets for everyone. We had to argue with our guide to make sure everyone had a place to sit and the life jackets were in proper working order. The boat ride to Koh Tao took 90 minutes. We docked at Koh Nang Yuan. The beach requires a 100 Baht entry fee and they strictly prohibit plastic bottles and cans. They search each bag before allowing people to leave the dock. The water was an emerald green and clear for a long ways down. The sand fine and white. The best beach I’ve visited thus far.

After dropping off our bags, we dove into the water right away and began exploring all around us. There were fish of all shapes and colors. Tiny and medium size, polka dotted, striped, rainbow colors, with maze-like patterns… We spend about 30 minutes on one area of the beach and then shifted to a deeper section where we saw even more colorful fish. We returned to our boat and rode to another area of Koh Tao where we stopped for a quick lunch. The food didn't look that appetizing but tasted alright. Out next stop was snorkeling in much deeper water, where scuba divers were also swimming.

The ride back was rough. The winds picked up and the waves swelled at least 4-5 ft high. Our driver must have been in a hurry because he was going full speed. I'm sure we went fully airborne several times, which was fun at first with the weightless free-fall feeling in out stomachs for seconds before slamming down into the next wave. It got old pretty quick as water constantly sprayed on everyone sitting in the back half of the boat. Sometimes we slammed so hard into the water that it felt like the boat might break. One lady was terrified and was in tears for a long time. A couple other tourists kept asking the driver to slow down, we all wanted to get back in one piece. After hitting a particularly large wave an older gentleman in the open bough flew off his seat and landed hard on the deck and hurt his back. At that point they slowed the boat down to trolling speed to asses his condition. It wasn't very long before we were at full speed again with one woman terrified and the man babying his back trying not to wince in pain.

We made it back alive and in one piece. What an adventure!