We arrived on Koh Tao with one agenda: to SCUBA DIVE. And we weren’t alone. Thousands of people flock to this tiny tropical island each year to learn how to breathe underwater, and with great visibility, lots of marine life, and beautiful coral reefs, there’s no better location to complete your scuba certification–after all, it’s Paradise.
I was looking forward to our time here, as our entire trip to Southeast Asia revolved around exploring the world below those azure colored waters, and after reading about how great the diving was, I couldn’t wait to jump in and check it out for myself.
No matter where we travel around the World — whether we’re exploring sunken volcanic craters on Maui, or night diving with the Manta Rays on the Big Island, or even hanging out at my favorite local dive shop back home — some of the nicest people we’ve met are found at the dive shops; and it was no different on Koh Tao.
We decided to dive with Roctopus Dive because of the fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor and the stellar review in Lonely Planet; and once again, the reviews were spot-on. In fact, Cody and I both agreed that our favorite moments on Koh Tao were spent in the company of Roctopus Dive. Not only do they provide top-notch equipment, offer small dive groups, and have a knowledgeable–and super fun–dive crew, but they even arranged our transportation since we were staying so far out-of-town.
The service at this dive shop is exceptional, and at $30 USD per dive, it felt like a steal (thank you, Thailand, for your killer conversion rates). 🙂 We walked into Roctopus Dive as strangers, and when we left Koh Tao I felt like we had gained a new group of friends.
Our first day of diving consisted of two shallower dive sites just off of Koh Nang Yuan island. It was Cody’s first dive out in the open ocean so I thought starting off at a shallower location would help ease him into the adventure; and it worked! His pre-dive jitters were at a minimum as he knew our deepest depth would be around 40 feet that day.
But before we jumped into the 88 degree water, Phil, our awesome Dive Master, went over the pre-dive safety briefing and then showed us the hand signals used to identify the fish below. Things were going swimmingly until we got to the hand signal for Grouper–which is for obvious purposes, the international symbol for “grope,” and did I mention that we were at a site called The Twins? I turned to Cody and exclaimed
a little too loud, “You’ll never forget that hand signal,” and then we giggled like little 13 year-olds… Sorry Phil for having to deal with two adult-sized children. 🙂 You deserve a raise!
My favorite part of the afternoon was learning about Christmas Tree worms. “What are Christmas Tree worms?” you ask. Only the most fun you can have underwater since, well… Ever! These tiny creatures are extremely timid and if you get somewhat close they’ll retreat back into their homes within the coral. I felt like a magician as I made the Christmas Tree worms disappear with a quick swipe of my hand.
After two incredible dives, we rinsed our gear back at the Shop and then walked down to Sairee Beach and found a table at the bar. We sampled the local beer, talked story, and listened to music as the sun sank low in the sky. There’s simply no better way to end a fun day of diving.