Well, after all the anticipation and concern that we would somehow be the only ones on Koh Tao who did not manage it, on our final dive we saw a whale shark. It was an awesome experience to be underwater with such an impressive and elegant creature.
The area is known as the adolescent playground for whale sharks as it appears that the adolescents are allowed to play in that area for some time without the adults present. This one was between 3 and 4 metres, so small by their standards, but magnificent nonetheless! The only shame was that there were many other divers in the area at the time, though the shark was happily swimming around and the diving staff assured us that they can get away pretty sharpish if they are unhappy and he hung around for some time. The rest of the diving was pretty cool also – a ray was spotted along with a large grouper and some huge schools of small and very pretty fish. We were all on an enormous buzz when we had finished – there was a lot of whale shark signs being made and Koh Tao was a pretty good place to go out and celebrate with a choice of excellent restaurants and some lively bars. We spent a good few hours dancing on the deck of Lotus bar in Sairee village, sipping gin and tonics and watching the waves lap the shoreline – nice.
Then it was time to head back to Bangkok. We successfully managed to book ourselves onto the overnight sleeper and it was a much more pleasant experience than on the way down! We got the boat into Chumphon, which is an enormous shipping town and the taxi into the pier was extraordinary as you went past countless shipping boats with the Thai men showering on deck ready to go out for the night fish. The boats were extremely colourful – though some looked something slightly less than sturdy!! We had a couple of hours to kill in Chumphon and found an excellent little night market just straight down from the station. There were all sorts of interesting seafood to choose from at extremely cheap prices. I had an interesting omelette type thing with muscles and a skewer of squid’and Ben’s found Indian style rice and chicken. The little bags of chilli sauce all food seemed to come with was delicious, but definitely Thai in its levels of spice, so be warned!!
And then it was up to Bangkok…
‘Til next time
Harriet and Ben
(Harriet and Ben’s trip is proudly sponsored by the Nam Hai)