The thing about Koh Toa which makes it like no other – is the people. Three weeks into our journey, we arrived there for scuba diving and yoga, and some how for 7 days we found home. Koh Tao lived up to the hype for us and we were so sad when we had to leave.
Ocean Sound Yoga and Diving owners, instructors and dive masters felt like family by the time we left. The owners of Ocean Sound are two Canadians – Will and Cynthia – and Jesper from Denmark. Best people ever! While I was diving every day, Pam was either hanging out in the office drinking coffee with them, or doing yoga at their studio, or embracing the Tori-free hours of silence.
Because here was the deal with Pam:
So anyone that knows Pam, knows she’s all about the scuba. In fact, I was there getting my ticket because Pam insisted I get it if we were going to travel together (.. such a terrible request to fulfill – I hope she feels bad). But the scooter accident continued to haunt Pam for another week. Because here is what we learned about Thailand – things do NOT heal in Thailand. I bet if you stubbed your toe here, it would fall off.
Yes – Pam was a little banged up but nothing more than a little road rash (says the uninjured person). So we thought – you wouldn’t do anything about it at home – why overreact here? Some poor decisions continued to be made on both of our parts related to her scrapes. The whole just get in the ocean and let the salt water take care of it philosophy (think this was my suggestion) – could not have been worst for it. Yes – the water looks clear and clean but who knows what is actually in that water. The gasoline alone would make it toxic. Needless to say – Pam did not heal and eventually was told by the Pharmist in Koh Toa (when she was in buying MORE bandaids) to get to the clinic immediately.
Long story short – antibiotics were issued and there was no diving for Pam for 3 days (because her wounds needed to stay dry – complete opposite of what we thought.. I thought… potatoe.. potato!)
No wait. Same same but different (little Thai humor for you).
So it was yoga time for Pam, in a beautiful studio with awesome instructors as she healed up! Sometimes doing yoga 3 times a day! It’s tough times right now, we know. How are we going to go home?!
In the meantime:
I signed up for the 3 day Open Water course and the 2 day Advanced Diving course immediately following. I am an all of nothing kind of a girl – so why stop at the Open Water?
Scuba diving is incredible. I can not believe I waited this long to try it, but doing your open water is not the kindof thing you do when you’re in Mexico on vacation. First off – as if I could stay sober the entire time I was in Mexico?
They eased us in with a day in the pool which is great because breathing underwater is not a natural thing. After that – everything was truly awesome! From our instructor Antal (Canadian), to my buddy Monika (we were team Canada) and then Alice (France) and her buddy (team Europe) we were a sweet Mer-Posse. After 3 days and 4 dives, we were certified and I moved on to Advanced the next day for 5 more dives.
I had definitely been cheating a little bit in Open Water, using my hands to control myself in the water (you are supposed to use your breath). So when I had to do a buoyancy course which is all about breath control – I was BRUTAL – getting all caught up and kicking the hula-hop I was supposed to be gliding through. Painful to watch, I am sure. Marta my instructor (Portugal) assured me I was fine for my level but I think she was just being nice. Speaking of Marta – I loved her as well!
Oddly enough, I kicked ass in the navigation – some how I found the boat using my compass! Who knows how that happened? My navigating skills with a map have currently been revoked since Chiang Mai after continually leading Pam in the complete opposite direction of where we were going…
Then there was a night dive which I was super freaked out about! Anyone who has known me for a long time – knows that I am afraid of the dark. I can admit it – I slept with a night light in my room until I was 25 – I actually still have one in my bathroom. I also can’t sleep without something against my back (… as I only have one pillow here – I sometimes line the edge of my bed with my packing cubes..). Pretty sure Pam thinks I am crazy.
ANYWAY, Pam was healed up enough to join in on that one and assured me it was fine. Needless to say – super cool!
After finishing my Advanced we thought it would be time to celebrate! Why not? We had an awesome week and met some cool people – bring on dinner, buckets, a fire show and some dancing! If you are in Koh Tao – eat at Barracudas – friggin amazing! And head down to Lotus Bar – you won’t regret it!
Overall – Koh Toa was a wicked experience. SO happy we parked it there for a week and I completed the two diving courses! Our last night, we went out for dinner with Ocean Sound staff and said our good byes. Pam and I already miss our divemaster Joe – who is pretty much the coolest person we have met travelling. Scottish girl – need I say more?
Bottom line. If you can, go to Koh Toa and stop into Ocean Sound. You will not be sorry!