four our second week in thailand, we left koh samui and headed on to koh tao [G] – a tiny island (it has a maximum diameter of 7 km) situated about 50 km northward.
we did a padi open water course with emily and amanda at big blue. while i very much liked the course itself, i cannot recommend staying in their cheap rooms. they’re cheap for a reason!
four days later, we took our temporary diver’s certifications and headed down to the southeast of the island and spent the rest of the week at coral view resort, a lovely, quiet place with a beautiful beach, with a panoramic view of close-by shark island, and koh phangan in the distance.
right by the resort restaurant, there’s the office of impian divers.
robert, who runs the diveshop, told us: “impian divers is the smallest diving school of koh tao, and probably also the smallest dive instructor” (pointing at himself).
the entire staff (all three of them: keitha, robert and tom) were very friendly and welcoming, and they took the time to chat.
with hindsight, i’d have done the entire diving course at impian divers.
there was a lot of underwater life to see, even just snorkelling (i was snorkelling when i met the shark).
amongst others, we saw a blue-spotted stingray (taeniura lymma), hawksbill turtle (eretmochelys imbricata), yellow boxfish (ostracion cubitus), triggerfish (balistidae), baby squid, giant groupers (epinephelus lanceolatus), sergeant major fish (pomacentridae), barracuda (sphyraena sp.), seal-faced pufferfish (tetraodontidae), and three nudibranches (cool stuff!) including phyllidia varicosa.
all of the underwater photos (except for the last 5) were taken with my pentax optio w60, which is waterproof down to 4 meters without any housing.
alltogether, i think diving has been one of the greatest experiences i had in several years – especially around koh tao, where the sea seems to be stuffed with wildlife.