Sunday, June 07, 2009

Certified Scooby Doos

Koh Tao is the island where the majority of scuba diving happens. In fact, there are 50 diving companies on the one teeny tiny island! Koh Tao also happens to be one of the cheapest places in the world to become certified. We were drawn to it because we wanted to become certified (for cheap) before heading to Aussie and the Great Barrier Reef.

Lowell and I completed the four day scuba certification course through Dive Point. We chose this company because it's relatively small, and we had an instructor to ourselves.

The course was set up so that mornings were academic times and afternoons were dive times. We were expected to read, study and answer questions on our own time in the evenings. We felt like we were back at Uni!

(Again, I apologize for the nasty tan lines. A shirt like that really should NOT be worn with tan lines like THAT... but I have defied so many fashion laws on this trip of ours that things like that barely phase me now.)

When it was time to put our newly acquired knowledge to use, we took a long tail to the scuba boat before cruising to our dive destination.

(It's fairly obvious in this set of photos which ones are from the shoddy underwater disposable camera... this is one of them).

Neither of these were OUR boats, but they look similar enough...

Once at our destination, we strapped our gear on, did the buddy check and headed into the deep ocean waters...

We loved the feeling of being underwater and hanging out with the aquatic life (all the while BREATHING!) The fishies seemed to enjoy us as well. Lowell and I each had little fish nibbling scabs on our legs and arms. Recall my little surfer knee injury? Well, a fish ate that. I remember reading in a ridiculous beauty book that my sister owned ages ago that claimed eating scabs is a way to make one's hair grow faster and thicker. Perhaps these fish had a complex and needed hair... and fast!

Unfortunately, none of the underwater pictures we took (well, our instructor took for us as the newbies weren't allowed to bring extra things down) turned out- the photo place refused to even develop them. No worries though- we are determined to get good pictures at the Great Barrier Reef. (Julie Anne- wanna fly down and join us with your shnazzy waterproof digital camera?!)

So that's all we have to show for our 4 day scuba course in Koh Tao.

Good thing we stayed a FIFTH day so we could get a decent picture or two of the island!

Lowell and I decided to be ambitious and rent a motorbike. And this is where Lowell and I had a little uncommunicated misunderstanding. Between the two of us, I do all the driving. I assumed that he knew that I'd never driven a motorbike before (except for the time in Junior High when I hopped on Uncle Billy's bike soon after Marc was done riding it, and drove it straight into the hedge), and Lowell assumed that I HAD driven a motorbike before (why? I don't know.)

Anyhoo, the owner of the bike shop gave us a quick low down, then handed the standard bike over to us. With the owner and his employees watching, I stalled the bike 3 times before getting going. When I DID get going, I felt TOTALLY out of control (probably because I WAS totally out of control) and I drove through 2 driveways separated by a gutter (that didn't sound pretty), then nearly hit two trucks and another motorbike before I was riding straight. WOW was that ever humiliating. And what's worse is that we were HELMET-LESS. Everyone is helmetless here. Uh, I think it's a law to wear a helmet at home for a reason. Like perhaps if someone named Julie suddenly decides she can safely ride a motorbike on public roads.

The people at the shop were probably convinced that I'd be paying for a totalled bike. I think they took bets on it.

Well, believe it or not, I DID get the hang of it, and Lowell and I enjoyed cruising around the island.

We even tried it individually for a bit.

What a rush.

We mainly just drove around, but we made one stop at a pretty little viewpoint.

We were happy to see that the view included two of our dive sites.

We soon finished our self-guided island tour and returned the motorbike. Jaws were actually dropped that we brought it back in one piece- without so much as a scratch. (I also breathed a HUGE sigh of relief). Now I'm a pro, and I'm SURE Lando would be just DELIGHTED if I started cruising around the farm on his bikes!

From Koh Tao, we headed back to Bangkok for the final 4 days of our Thai journey. In Bangkok we relaxed, ate yummy food, got cheap massages, and even bought tailor-made clothes. Today we fly to Melbourne, Australia. Sooooo... good-bye Thailand and HELLO AUSTRALIA!


JulieAnne said...

Oh Julie, don't tempt me...I would be on the next flight to Australia if I could!! Are you going to buy another underwater camera to try to get some pictures?

Shelley said...

yay!! can't wait for the next adventure! you will LOVE Australia! i offer one piece of advice. While in Australia, before entering a room (or a car), check the ceiling! Huntsmen spiders like to hang out on ceilings and they are GIGANTIC and they jump!

But don't worry...they're not poisonous :)

Lowell & Julie said...

If, however, we don't see you there (heh heh), we'll probably purchase another disposable, but also try and dive with people who DO have an underwater digital, have them take a couple pictures for us, then transfer them right away. Weak alternative to having you there though!

Shelley- ACK!

Bloggy Mama said...

Fun!! I am terrified to try Scuba because I have issues with being underwater.
Also, poison in spiders only matters if YOU are eating THEM... it's venom you want to worry about. Who cares if they're poisonous, are they venomous??