After our time in Koh Phangan, the Thaintro tour was over. But 11 of us were carrying on together and had booked the ferry to Koh Tao and 3 nights at Taco Shack hostel. I would definitely recommend this hostel, the beds were comfy and the restaurant served amazing Mexican food. I don’t think the common area was very good for solo travellers to meet other people though.
Everyone else in the group he booked a Discover Scuba Diving course with Simple Life diving through intro travel. I, however, am a fully fledged open water diver after doing my SSI in Koh Tao in 2013 so I went to the dive school to book in for a skills refresher course and two fun dives on the same boat as everyone else. This came to about £75 which was painful but I thought it’d be worth it to be with everyone else and see some fish or whatever.
On day 2, I woke up early to go and do my scuba refresher course in the pool. I got all kitted out and was feeling fine but then came the time to put my head underwater. The second I did this, it all came flooding back to me – I absolutely did not enjoy scuba diving last time. Breathing underwater is not natural or OK as far as I’m concerned. I hyperventilated and shot back to the surface sharpish. After calming myself down and getting a pep talk from the instructor I finally made it under and did all my skills. It all went without incident except for when I had to take my mask off and accidentally breathed in a bit through my nose. I felt ok at this point though and got some lunch before getting on the boat with everyone else.
When it came to my first dive, as I was about to jump in my tank came loose and fell out. Disaster number one – but it was quickly put back into place and I continued to jump in. Then, I couldn’t descend properly because I didn’t have enough weights, and kept floating back up. Next, I saw some water droplets in my GoPro case and began to panic so swam back to the boat to leave it there. I thought third time lucky when I tried to go down again but then I was about one metre under when my anxiety just shot through the roof and I couldn’t stop breathing like a maniac. At this point I just didn’t want to hold up this poor guy doing the fun dive with me any longer and said I’d prefer to just go and sit this one out. When I got back to the boat I felt relieved to see another 2 of the girls there who couldn’t hack their scuba skills and were too scared, so I wouldn’t get taken the piss out of too much by the others. Or so I thought because they absolutely ripped me to shreds when they got back from their dive. I did try the second dive but I just couldn’t stop panicking and hyperventilating. I think my divemaster (or whatever they’re called) thought I was a complete and utter dick, and I could tell she was probably a little annoyed with me. I suppose it is quite strange that I managed to get my open water but then couldn’t do 2 fun dives, but clearly my anxiety has got a lot worse since then. Still, if you never try you never know! That night we had a few drinks at the Taco Shack bar and then moved on to Fishbowl for some cocktails and to catch the end of the infamous Koh Tao Pub Crawl.
On our third day on Koh Tao we all went to the viewpoint at Koh Nangyuan. You have to get a boat taxi, which cost us about 200 THB each and then pay 100 THB to get on the actual island. We climbed up a ridiculous amount of steps and then some unsafe looking rocks – something that would become a regular occurrence in Asia. The view at the top was 100% worth the effort, but I was shaking too much and scared of falling to my death to get too close to the edge. Next, we went to the beach on the island and relaxed in the sea. Our boat taxi man then picked us up.
That night we chilled at 2 of the girls on our tour’s hotel pool and the beach, before getting an early night for our 6am journey to Koh Phi Phi.