Sunday, August 4, 2013

Koh Tao & Finally Diving Again!

After spending over 6 months in Thailand (on and off over the last 9+ months), I realized that I've only been diving in Khao Lak, where I was a divemaster. Thailand has many other dive spots, the most famous of which is Koh Tao - it's located in the Gulf of Thailand and certifies the second highest number of people in the world after Cairns, Australia (home of the Great Barrier Reef).  Koh Tao is known for having whale sharks and lots of parties - and in our week here, we've seen neither! The former is a disappointment - I'd love to see a whale shark - but we consciously arrived during a low party time to avoid an island full of gap-year kids going crazy. It's actually a beautiful island and the diving has been quite fun. Visibility has been fairly bad and there is a much lower fish diversity here, but we saw some cool stuff!
idyllic island life
sunset! Disclaimer - this is not where I'm staying, but it WAS gorgeous!
Banded boxer shrimp
Corals overgrowing a net - beautiful
 One of my favorite sites was a wreck dive of a US navy ship, intentionally sunk in 2010 to create a reef and dive site. There wasn't much growing on it, but the ship was still almost fully intact and beautiful.
Wreck dive
Big gun

We also went to Sail Rock, Chumphon Pinacle twice, and some other nice sites. It was great to get back in the water - and best of all, as divemasters we were free to go off on our own and have super long, super flexible dive plans!

Chimney at Sail Rock
White eyed moray out swimming
all the fish!
very healthy corals
mystery pipefish - no one could ID it, since none of the instructors had seen it before... still thinking of a good name so I can live on in scientific history as its discoverer.
After this diving, Uly and I are probably heading to Cambodia to do some volunteer diving with a seahorse conservation group. Still not certain about this, so I'll update when we know!

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