It took around four hours to reach Koh Tao, on the boat there’s many touts trying to get you to sign up to dive schools, we knew this was something we wanted to do so we decided to go with one as they transport you there for free, we had found other accommodation though we liked but headed with the tout to ‘Coral Grand’. When we arrived we had a look around the place but it seemed like everyone was on a conveyor belt, there was people everywhere. We were originally told there would be maximum six in a group but when we enquired at the desk we were told as they were busy it would probably be eight. This put us off straight away as we had been warned about this from people we knew and we wanted to learn safely not cheaply! We said thank you for the lift and walked up the road to the accommodation we had found called ‘Sariee Hut Resort.’ Here we got a pool side villa with two rooms, balcony and extra comfy beds for 2400 Baht for three people. More expensive than most places but we knew we’re going to be diving most of the time so wanted a decent shower and a comfy bed! In the resort they had their own diving school so we decided to take a look. The first impressions were a lot better, they seemed much more organised and in control of what was going on. The price was the same as other diving schools at 8500 Baht per person but we were told there was maximum four people to a diving group which was music to our ears! We were even luckier though as we were told it would only be the three of us in a group and we could start the theory that evening so we signed up straight away!
We went for a walk around the town for something to eat, then relaxed around the pool until 5pm. At 5pm we headed to the ‘Scuba Shack’ classroom to start our first evening of theory. We watched two videos and filled out questionnaires about what we had just watched. At around 7pm we were finished, so we headed along the beach to ‘Fizz Beach Lounge’ for dinner. Here they had great food and we stayed for a drink after to watch the fire shows along the beach. We then headed back for an early night as we had to be ready at 8am the next morning to continue the course.
Lucky for us ‘Scuba Shack’ was opposite to our villa so we just had to roll out of bed into the classroom. We were met by our instructor Francois that morning and started watching the next video on diving. We then broke for lunch, headed back to the office for 12pm, then we got onto the back of the taxi and headed to the pier for our first experience of diving.
Most schools do this in a pool, Scuba Shack has the facilities for this but they said why do it in a chlorine pool when you can have your first experience of seeing marine life while learning the first steps of scuba diving. You only reach about four meters but it’s more about learning the techniques of using your equipment and clearing your masks. We were so glad we done it in the sea though as it prepared us more for the next few days and we also SAW A TURTLE!
After a whole afternoon in the sea we headed back to the boat to the pier, then to the hotel for a nice warm shower. We headed to ‘Porto Bello’ For dinner as we all fancied some pasta or pizza after working up an appetite then walked back to the hotel for an early night as it was another early start for 8am the next morning.
The next morning was our last day of theory and then we had a test to fill out. You get to complete this over the evening too if you run out of time and it’s multiple choice so don’t stress about it too much! After lunch we were back out to the sea to do our first dive going down the rope. On this dive we reached twelve meters and we had to do the exercises we had performed at four meters. At first they can be daunting, filling your mask with water and getting rid of it, using your buddies emergency air supply but after a few practices it becomes natural. The main thing you must remember is to equalise your ears though as you can feel discomfort if you don’t. We then got back onto the boat to the next destination to do our second dive this time to eleven meters. It’s an unusual feeling being underwater breathing to start off with but so amazing at the same time. We dived for around thirty minutes then we were back to the boat to head back to the mainland. That night we had dinner at ‘Garlic Restaurant’ which was amazing and had a super early night as we had to be at the office for 5am to head to the pier to be the first boat at the dive site.
We woke up hazy eyed, ate the breakfast bap ‘Scuba Shack’ had ordered for us and headed on the boat. We arrived at Chumphon with no boats on site. Daisy had to dive first as she panicked with some of the exercises the day before and needed to complete them before we done our last two dives. She pulled it out the bag and was back on the boat to change her tank before we knew it. Then we all got in the water to complete our deepest dive to eighteen meters. We were down there for around half an hour and fifteen minutes into the dive the reef was becoming full of people. This made us realise why it is best to be first at the dive site.
We then returned to the boat to reach our last dive site ‘White Rock’. This dive we descended without a rope, which was scary at first but a couple of minutes into it, it becomes natural. We swam around for thirty minutes and for both our last dives we paid 1000 Baht each for a photographer. We’re so glad we done this as your’e not allowed to take a go pro with you until you have completed your dive master course so we would have had no videos or pictures from our dives. Once our last dive was complete we were back on the boat and officially ‘PADI open water divers’. We had the rest of the day to relax until around 5pm when we headed back to ‘Scuba Shack’ to fill in our log books, apply for our PADI diver cards and watch our movie from the morning. Once all was completed we headed out for dinner then for a few drinks at lotus bar (where they have the best fire dancers) and then to fish bowl to celebrate!
The next morning we had booked an extra night at the hotel to be able to have a lay in after our night out and just chill out for the day. We spent most of our time by the pool and then headed opposite to the hotel entrance to a spa for an amazing massage. We were all so relaxed and ready for bed afterwards! The next morning we checked out for 10am and had a boat booked to Koh Phangan for 1pm. Ready for the full moon party!
Tip: Go to ‘Scuba Shack’ to do you PADI open water dive, there such a good company to learn with and your be completely safe with them.